On July 8, 1999, Mr. Moore called to say, "Iíve settled the case. The Judge wants to see both of you immediately". "What do you mean?", we said on the phone, " We donít want to settle." He refused to speak with us on the phone about this and told us to immediately come to his office. We took a cab from his office on E. 57th and Fifth to Foley Square. In his office, before driving down, we exploded. We told him we would "never settle, and never be quiet."
But in the long cab ride, Mr. Moore presented a very grim choice. He told us that in fact the choice was between settling and suicide. He went on to say that he was not able to get any other malpractice lawyer to assist him and he was not able to conduct the trial himself since he was not a malpractice lawyer. Were we not to "settle" he would be forced to resign immediately. Columbia intended to begin a defamation trial against us over the issue of our website. The cost to us in legal expenses would bankrupt us.
Mr. Moore also painted a "bright" side to the choice he was presenting us. He said that he had "negotiated with great difficulty" the General Release in such a way that would preserve our website. Only the name of the hospital as well as the actual names of the individual doctors responsible for Sethís death had to be deleted. Mr. Moore said that he was convinced Columbia would not object.
We were in great emotional distress over this demand. Upon arrival at the Court, we wanted to speak to the Judge. Mr. Moore said to us, "Donít try to speak to the Judge. The Court is corrupt. Just look at what is going on with Clinton. The Court is corrupt." He also told us it would worsen our situation were we to try to talk with the Judge alone.
We and Mr. Moore met in Judge Klein-Heitlerís chambers without a Court reporter. The Judge said that Columbia would give a settlement of no more than $500,000 and even that she had to "pull out of them". If we did not take it, we were told, Columbia intended to go to trial in the coming week. Columbia would not agree to postpone the trial. Judge Klein-Heitler indicated that she would not
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