Blog

« Back to Blog List
blog image

May 2, 2014

Playing the blame game v. owning it

by: Joseph F. Rice

My daughter will tell you that I have told her over and over how important it is to own her mistakes and take responsibility for her actions. This is a virtue that I hold in high regard and admire in others. It takes great character to admit when you are wrong and to make something right. A coward can point fingers and play the blame game all day long; a leader takes ownership and moves forward. 

In the more than 30 years that I have been involved in litigation, including negotiating settlement agreements and working with corporations on behalf of our clients, I have encountered many more blame games than I want to remember. I can tell you, there are many unfortunate and ridiculous types of approaches to corporate responsibility and a variety of “solutions” used to correct wrongs.

This week, however, I was proud to be part of the legal team that helped find resolution for many women allegedly harmed by transvaginal mesh devices manufactured by Endo International plc and its subsidiary American Medical Systems, Inc. (AMS).

What was striking about this settlement was the willingness of Endo International and AMS to be forthright with our clients and to evaluate the alleged injuries.

While they certainly did not—and do not—admit liability or that their product was defective, the legal teams for these corporations proceeded with utmost professionalism and in a responsible manner to address the issues at hand. Not only were they willing to address the problem, but they also put it in writing and have filed it with the Court. In addition, they have publicly announced their intent to live up to their settlement agreement.

It is important for us to recognize that there are still corporations that, while not necessarily admitting a mistake or error in the manufacturing and sale of a product, acknowledge when people are hurt and damaged and in need of immediate assistance, and won’t wait ten years before they provide relief.

Drawing out the litigation would not have helped any of the women involved, and the agreement will give many a chance to cope with their injuries and move forward.

I salute all corporations that live by their word and face their responsibility head on. Unfortunately, in today’s business environment, too many do not.