Mesh News Desk, January 7, 2016~ On Thursday, January 7, Mesh News Desk (MND), its editor and readers were denied access to the pool camera and coverage of the pelvic mesh trial of Eve Sherrer in Kansas City, Missouri.
Sherrer v. Boston Scientific and C.R. Bard began December 2 but was interrupted for the holidays. It resumed Monday, January 4th.
Mesh News Desk had access to the pool camera and its daily feed until defense attorneys objected to a reader’s comment.
Jean Maneke, an attorney hired by Courtroom View Network (CVN), a for-profit business which operated the pool camera, argued before Judge Robert Schieber that many online media organizations accept comments from the public and it is the public’s right to comment, within reason. Maneke characterized the comment/ comments in question as “inflammatory” but not threatening.
The judge decided CVN could stay but MND was denied access.
Here is attorney Jean Maneke’s Motion for CVN, which clearly states the new reality of online news coverage and the public’s discourse.
As it now stands, interested parties can subscribe to Courtroom View Network to watch proceedings at a cost of $250 a day, according to their website here.
On Monday, January 4, an attorney representing Mesh News Desk, Jim Griffin, appealed to Judge Robert Schieber to resume MDN’s access to the pool camera.
The transcripts and the MND motion are available to subscribers of the Mesh News Desk newsletter. Please make sure you are signed up to receive the newsletter on the right hand column here.
Also you can find the Judges final order Jan 7 2016 here.
While Lori Cohen, an attorney for defendant, C.R. Bard initially said to the Court, “It was not the coverage itself that was challenged, it was the reader comments and reaction…”
She then cites the headline “Mesh News Desk Files Brief to Stay in Court as Sheerer Pelvic Mesh Trial Resumes” as an example of inciting readers to “gin up activity,” a colorful reference to an undefined action.
Judge Schieber said reporting needs to be without an agenda and that his job is to make sure attorneys in his courtroom feel comfortable. He invited your editor or any members of the public to watch the proceedings in his courtroom.
Court Operating Rule #16 specifically forbids judges to “mediate any dispute as to the appropriate media representatives authorized to cover a particular judicial proceeding.” The Rule #16 does not provide authority to decide or direct the content of any stories produced on a particular proceeding.
The Sherrer trial is of particular interest because the plaintiff was implanted with two meshes, one made by Bard and the other by Boston Scientific. The plaintiffs case is in its fourth week but convened early Friday the 8th. It will reconvene Monday with the plaintiff’s case continuing.
MND had about 5,000 readers a day following the Sheerer trial. #
*Editors Note – The one commented cited was made by a reader calling herself “Maria.Garcia.” She stated the attorney for Bard, Lori Cohen (Greenberg Traurig), would lose the case, was on the wrong side of the issue, and was no better than an doctor who performs abortions. While offensive, it is not profane or particularly threatening, which would have it omitted. Your editor does not know the identity of Maria.Garcia who has failed to reply to many requests to contact me. Again, I would request she reach out to me, your editor, Jane Akre (firstname.lastname@example.org) to verify she is indeed a mesh-injured woman or associated with the issue in some way. #
MO COURT RULES OF OPERATION
Court Operating Rule 16 governs cameras in the courtroom, here.
“Pooling arrangements shall be the sole responsibility of the media coordinator, and the judge shall not be called upon to mediate any dispute as to the appropriate media representatives authorized to cover a particular judicial proceeding. Requests for copies of audio recording, video tape or photographs shall be directed to the pool representative only, who shall supply copies upon request to media representatives at a price not exceeding actual cost.”
“COR 16 does not affect the right of the public, including a member of the news media, to attend and observe any judicial proceeding which is otherwise open to the public. In other words, this Rule does not affect existing law under which reporters, sketch artists and others may attend judicial proceedings as members of the public.”