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Missouri Lawyers Weekly Covers MND Exclusion from Sherrer Pelvic Mesh Trial

Mo lawyers weekly front pageMND, Jan 19, 2016 ~ This is the second article prepared by Missouri Lawyers Weekly on the issue of excluding Mesh News Desk from coverage of the  Sheerer pelvic mesh trial.

The story says it all.  Thank you Missouri Lawyers Weekly for allowing me to republish it.  

*Update on the case – The defense team for Boston Scientific and C.R. Bard has its turn before the jurors this week and next. The case should go to the jury sometime next week.

Sherrer is an important pelvic mesh trial because one plaintiff has two different pelvic meshes.  Certainly this case will be the longest ever presented to a jury.  It began December 2, broke for the holiday and resumed January 4, 2016.

 

Judge Schieber

Judge Schieber

 

Judge denies reporter’s request to regain feed access

By Jessica Shumaker jessica.shumaker@molawyersmedia.com

A Jackson County circuit judge has denied a web reporter’s request to regain access to a pool camera feed.

In an order filed Wednesday by Judge Robert Schieber, he denied a Dec. 24 motion by Independent News Group LLC., citing reasons previously articulated in court.

“Again, this court’s obligation is to do everything within its power to [ensure] a level playing field and to avoid even the appearance of impropriety,” he wrote. “The camera being utilized in this courtroom during this proceeding is here only because the court, within [its] discretion, allowed it to be a pool camera for the media.”

Independent News Group LLC owns and operates Mesh Medical Device News Desk, a site edited by Florida-based journalist Jane Akre.

Akre had been using a privately-maintained pool camera that provides a live feed of a trial. She was covering a case that involves claims against Boston Scientific and C.R. Bard, makers of transvaginal mesh products that plaintiffs allege have injured women in whom they were implanted.

An early December filing by the company providing the feed, Courtroom View Network, or CVN, said defense attorneys complained to the court about comments left by readers on Akre’s website and asked that CVN’s coverage be suspended.

The company successfully argued it should be allowed to continue, however, CVN terminated Akre’s access to its feed.

Court spokeswoman Valerie Hartman said in an email in December that Judge Robert Schieber decided CVN could remain in the court, but they were to “discontinue access to the advocacy organization.”

Akre hired Jim Griffin of Scharnhorst Ast Kennard Griffin in Kansas City as counsel. He filed a motion seeking to regain access to the camera pool.

He argued in the motion and before Schieber Monday morning that his client did not violate court rules.

Jim Griffin, attorney for MND

Jim Griffin, attorney for MND

“There is also no evidence that Independent News Group’s manner of coverage prejudiced any party’s right or any right of any participant,” the motion said. “No such findings were made on December 7.  Nothing about the article posted to the Mesh Medical News Desk by Ms. Akre was threatening or hostile towards either party or its attorney.”

Further, he said the comment at issue was posted by an individual with no affiliation to the website and it could have been posted to any online news article covering the trial. He said there has been no criticism of Akre’s reporting itself.

Lori Cohen, Attorney for C.R. Bard

Lori Cohen, Attorney for C.R. Bard

The company also offered to delete personal comments about Lori Cohen, an attorney from Greenberg Traurig representing Bard; edit future comments to delete personal comments about counsel and not post any contact information for participants in the trial.

At the hearing Monday, Cohen said she did not file in opposition to the motion. She said Akre is continuing to “incite and inspire” readers of her site. She said commenters have compared her to an abortion doctor.

Schieber said at the hearing that information disseminated about proceedings in his courtroom needs to be fair, accurate, balanced and unprejudiced.

In his order, he repeated those sentiments, saying it’s his duty to ensure that occurs.

“This is not a gag order. It is not a blanket prohibition against reporting on this case,” he wrote. “This Court would not do that absent extraordinary circumstances and only then with substantial just cause.”

Schieber added that Akre and others are welcome to attend the trial and report on it.

“However, when the conduit of information is or could be deemed to be a court sanctioned conduit it must be completely neutral in nature,” he said. “This is not a First Amendment issue – it is an appearance of impropriety issue and this Court will guard against that at all costs.”

Griffin declined to comment. Akre did not return a call seeking comment. The case is Sherrer v. Truman Medical Center et al., 1216-CV27879.

5 Comments

  1. danyelle r says:

    they are just asking for trouble. How can they get away with choosing that one group can’t have access. Really if people complain about a new article will he do the same. It flies in the face of the first amendment. He assumes as an independent news agency you wont be able to fight it. So sad

    • Jane Akre says:

      I’m not certain if I sit in the courtroom and report on Mesh News Deesk and someone comments and it is not offensive or profane and I let it go because you all need to have a voice, then how is that any different? Or if the local paper or tv station provides coverage and readers make comments, how is that any different? This is new media and it requires a new way of thinking about the public display of public comments.

  2. Toni says:

    Just more and more denial of our constitutional rights being denied. Our forefathers are probably turning over in their graves. Hate what is happening in our great nation all the way around. Justice being denied in the name of the all mighty dollar. The very people who us taxpayers pay to protect its citizens are throwing us to the wolves!!!The wolves are eating well.

  3. janet says:

    I understand what you mean, BUT

    They need to understand that these women are injured for the rest of there life . They are mentally drained all caused by these manufactures. The same manufactures that have decided that they have done nothing wrong the ones that keep spending money to try to prove something they can not other than they did do wrong. But these defense attorneys that work for them would rather keep spending the company”s money just to keep from doing what is right for these women and the injuries .

    If they would take the money fighting and confess to their wrongful acts of LYING, CHEATING,STEALING,and making FALSE statements to cover up. They would be able to give these women the respectful settlements that they do deserve for the injuries that these manufactures have caused. Thank about it do they really believe that 10Thousand can take care of these issues of health caused by the company”s and there emotional state of mind now.

    If they would do what”s right what they are spending now ea. one could receive 1Million ea, that would be the right thing to do

    Do I believe someone should receive 20Mil or 17Mil NO.. There has been to many injuries and face it do we want to do what they are doing to us cheating them .. Sure they did wrong and still are but I really believe That God wants us to do whats right also. Yes they need to admit they knew, But we need not to be a leach and destroy them like they did us.

    But, yes they do owe with putting us through what they have but not milking them to dry like they did us.

    Its time to forgive and pray that they will let this be the year of getting this over with so we can move on also.

    And believe me ladies I have had 3 surgeries and many procedures and looking at another surgery

    I have know husband single but tired and figuring the rest of my life out of being alone

    But I am alive alot of pain only working 5 hours a day and that even hurts, but it is what it is and I need to forgive not stop fighting for what they need to do for us all. But, pray that these companys will learn and move on also and so whats right by us.And pray that they will start doing honest business with the public and maybe look at getting a better overall person to run each department and make sure everyday it is ran with the highest honesty

    • JuStill Standing says:

      I think the reason we get so frustrated is that we expect corporations to have a conscious like humans. They dont. They all have corporate charitable endeavors, but in the end,the are created to make money. Divisions of corporations are competitive, almost like siblings, always wanting to have the best quarter of profit. This does not excuse anyone, but we just need to know there is not a collective conscious across the business. They arent going to have an epiphany and confess to anything. Their job is to make a profit. When profits of one part of the company slump, they are given the green slip, as seen in the 3000 layoff. They have figured out economic probability using balance sheets that fighting is more profitable than losing. When the bottom line changes, they will shift strategy. We have to remember that these companies have other faulty product lawsuits, they arent just fighting the mesh wars, so if they just started paying everyone a million dollars, there would be no end in sight. And, some of us have insurance companies that have paid out well more than a million dollars( mine have), so they would potentially end up with far less than they should. I do believe that the insurance companies should be able to recover some costs. Eight surgeries and potentially more to go have racked up very high dollars on my end, so that is why there are no cookie cutter symptoms, treatments or court cases.

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