Monday, August 13, 2007

Clara Barton to be Exhumed to Testify at JNJ v ARC Trial!

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) claims that "Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross (ARC), signed an agreement in 1895 that acknowledged the company's exclusive right to use a red cross on 'chemical, surgical, pharmaceutical goods of every description.'" (See Bloomberg News story here.)

Whoa! J&J sure is bringing out the BIG guns leading up to what promises to be the drug company trial of the century!

I just wish there could be cameras in the court room!

They are doing amazing things with technology these days. I recall a 1997 TV ad showing Fred Astaire -- who died in 1987 -- dancing with a vacuum cleaner!

Imagine if J&J's lawyers could exhume Ms. Barton -- digitally, of course -- and have her testify at the trial -- via video feed, of course! What would we see? Here's just one scenario:

Clive Whitshoe, chief J&J counsel, approached the witness -- actually a TV monitor precariously sitting upon the witness stand.

"Welcome to the 21st Century, Ms. Barton," Whiteshoe cooed. "It's a pleasure having you here."

"It's pleasure to be here ... I think," Barton replied. Her left eye twitched nervously, reminding Whiteshoe of the nervous Commissioner Charles Dreyfus confronting Chief Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movie.

"I have only one question to ask, Ms. Barton. I know you'd like to get back to your final resting place," said Whiteshoe.

"Objection!," cried Owen DoGood, counsel for the defense. "My obscene colleague is conjecturing!"

"Whatever," sighed Judge Blackthorn. "Get on with your question counselor!"

"Yes, surely," said Whiteshoe. "Your honor, I would like to place this document into evidence," he said approaching the judge with a fragile, yellowed scrap of paper.

After a few legal motions back and forth, the paper was allowed into evidence and Whiteshoe approached virtual Ms. Barton.

"Ms. Barton, do you recognize this parchment?," he asked the witness while holding up the sheet to the monitor's built-in Webcam.

"Yes, I do," said Barton after what appeared to be a rather close examination.

"Would you please read the second paragraph out loud, beginning with the words 'The American Red Cross hereby...,'" instructed Whiteshoe.

"The American Red Cross," Barton read, "hereby grants to the Johnson and Johnson ethical drug and elixir company exclusive right to use a red cross on all chemical, surgical, pharmaceutical goods of every description."

"And is that your signature at the bottom?," asked Whiteshoe.

Barton nodded her head.

"Please answer 'Yes' or 'No'. Ms. Barton," said the Judge, "for the record."

"Yes," said Barton.

"No further questions, your honor," declared Whiteshoe.

"Mr. DoGood, do you have any questions for this witness?," asked the judge.

"No questions, your honor," whispered DoGood.

"THE PLAINTIFF RESTS!", Whiteshoe shouted triumphantly!

"And so do I," said Ms. Barton as her image faded away and she rejoined the spirit world.

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