Attorney Who Helped Make Las Vegas a ‘Judicial Hellhole’ Named ‘Lawyer of the Year’
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Robert Eglet, the personal injury lawyer who, with plenty of help from notoriously plaintiff-friendly Clark County District Court Judge Jesse Walsh, engineered what is arguably the most egregiously senseless civil verdict in Nevada’s history, has, believe it or not, been named by Lawyers USA as one of its “Lawyers of the Year 2010.”
The insanely disproportionate $505 million verdict on behalf of a man who contracted Hepatitis C at an endoscopy clinic did not punish the greedy and unscrupulous clinic owner (now facing 28 criminal counts) or the staff he allegedly ordered to reuse dirty needles and contaminated vials of anesthetic. Instead, seeking to dig into deeper pockets, Eglet went after the maker and distributor of the federally-approved drug, which has won virtually universal praise from the medical community for being safe, effective and heretofore affordable.
In citing Clark County, Nevada as one of the least fair civil court jurisdictions in the nation, the latest Judicial Hellholes report noted that Peabody Award-winning investigative reporter George Knapp had observed that “jurors [in this case] were never allowed to hear a host of arguments, evidence and experts who would have offered alternative explanations” to those offered by Eglet for his client’s Hepatitis C infection. Knapp also wrote that “the presiding judge, Jesse Walsh, was viewed as overtly friendly to the plaintiff ’s attorneys. The fact that those attorneys contributed such a large percentage of Walsh’s campaign war chest is only part of the explanation.” He said the judge’s rulings kept jurors from learning about: the serious misconduct of clinic staff; and that the federal Food and Drug Administration had approved the warning labels on the vials and would have had to approve changes to those warnings, even though Eglet led jurors to believe the drug maker could have and should have made changes unilaterally.
Naming an attorney who distorted justice among its picks for “Lawyers of the Year” was not a wise choice for Lawyers USA.