The true story of how government lies and incompetence, gross medical malpractice, and unbridled greed by a drug company cost 300,000 American lives in just ten years, set in a fictitious class-action lawsuit.
"It reads like a cross between a John Grisham thriller and an informative scientific treatise on AIDS." - D.D. Steele, Attorney, California. "A legitimate page-turner." - Dr. Harvey Bialy, author, Mexico. "Absolutely the best book I have ever read!" - TooCool, Amazon.com reviewer
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“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Benjamin Messick. I am the attorney for the plaintiffs. We are the ones who brought this class action suit against the defendants.”
Benjamin Messick is at the lawyers’ lectern, situated between the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ tables in the center of the courtroom, addressing the jury seated in their box to his right. Well-groomed, with hair reminiscent of John Kennedy, he’s in his mid-thirties and obviously works out regularly. Although on the shorter side in height, his voice is strong and deep with an underlying tone of sincerity that begs to be believed, and it would be difficult for any juror not to like this man or, at a minimum, listen carefully to what he has to say.
At least, that’s Sarah’s impression as she sits near the back of the courtroom. She takes a minute to look around at this very creative, circular structure used mostly for swearing in new American citizens, ceremonial proceedings, and an occasional appeals hearing. But it is also the perfect venue for large, high profile trials like this one, with its state-of-the-art audio, video and digital capabilities. A glass cylinder one-hundred feet in diameter and one-hundred feet high starting on the second floor of the Federal Courthouse and reaching all the way to the top of the building, this Special Proceedings Courtroom is paneled ten-feet high all around with Anigre wood from Africa and capped with a million dollar suspended glass ceiling that costs $4000 just to clean. Sarah heard that window washers have to crawl across the top of the laminated glass with towels and window spray.
The biggest problem is the lack of adequate space for spectators, especially for a case that is drawing as much attention as this one. Every media in the world wants a seat, and therefore all six district courtrooms on the fifth floor of the Federal Courthouse were converted to closed-circuit coverage that will be different from the live TV feed to commercial stations. This allows a reporter to be there in the courthouse, see everything that goes on, and still be able to participate in the typical press conferences that will undoubtedly occur on the steps leading down from the Special Proceedings Courtroom into the huge atrium on the ground floor of the building.
Fortunately, it’s October, and the temperature is not that hot, because the heating and cooling system in the atrium hasn’t worked right from the very beginning. Inspired by the misting system at a Hooter’s Restaurant in Phoenix, the architect decided to use the same concept to keep summer temperatures down in the new courthouse. As one reporter put it, “What we got for our money was a giant atrium that is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It would have been cheaper, more comfortable, and a lot more interesting to hold court at Hooters!”
Sarah’s attention returns quickly to Messick, who is laying the foundation for his case.
“First, this is a class action suit. That means that we are suing on behalf of a lot of people, not just one. In fact, we intend to prove to you that at least 300,000 Americans, mostly young men, died as a result of what the defendants did in a ten year period from 1987 to 1997.” He looks up from his notes, and slowly and with emphasis, punches his next line. “300,000 young men and women died in that decade. That's five times the number that was killed in the entire Vietnam War.”