ADTC meeting filled with awards, accolades


 By John Minnis

Legal News
Two stars were on the program of the 44th annual meeting of the Association of Defense Trial Counsel on May 11 at the Detroit Athletic Club — WDIV-TV4 medical reporter Dr. Frank McGeorge and Edmund M. Brady Jr.
As one of his last official acts as ADTC president, Jonathan N. Wayman announced a new award was created to honor Brady, long-time member and former Plunkett & Cooney senior partner. 
Among his many accomplishments, Brady served as president of the State Bar of Michigan, president of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association and president of the Village of Grosse Pointe Shores, his hometown.
“The ADTC has created the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of Edmund M. Brady Jr.,” Wayman said. “I believe this award, coming from the people who have plied this trade all these years, this award of recognition coming from your colleagues, is the most important award of all.”
“I think that’s a compliment,” Brady responded. “I couldn’t figure out why they were giving me this award, but I was pleased with the sentiment.”
He acknowledged his son, Timothy Brady, an associate with Merry, Farnen & Ryan.
“This is a very tough way to earn a living,” Brady said of being a top trial attorney. “This is a very stressful way of handling matters, but it is the only way we can do it.”
Brady concluded by saying, “Thank you very, very much.”
As his first item of business, incoming ADTC President Paul J. Manion, of Rutledge, Manion, Rabaut, Terry & Thomas, presented a plaque of recognition to past president Wayman.
“It was truly an honor to be a steward of this office for the past year,” Wayman said.
Manion said he looked at the amazing list of accomplished trial attorneys who had held the office. 
“It made me proud to be an attorney,” he said. “We as attorneys, in my view, should advocate with civility and respect for the law.”
During his term, Manion said he has two simple goals: promote attorneys in all areas, not just defense attorneys, and build membership by maintaining successful programs, such as the annual golf outing and the new lawyers program.
“I really appreciate this opportunity to serve,” he said. “I enjoy being with lawyers. I learn a lot from lawyers.”
In introducing Dr. McGeorge, the keynote speaker, Manion said, “He has served as an emergency room expert on many cases. Juries love him.”
McGeorge is an emergency room physician with Henry Ford Health System as well as medical reporter for WDIV-TV4, where he has earned numerous awards, including three Emmys. 
He also spent a week in Haiti immediately following the devastating earthquake in January that killed 230,000, injured another 300,000 and left a million Haitians homeless.
The title of McGeorge’s talk was “Trial, TV and Haiti Experiences.”
He said the most frequent questions he gets are about whether Devin Scillian is as great a guy in person, whether Carmen Harlan is as nice and ageless in person and whether Chuck Gaidica’s hair is real. The answer to all three is yes, or at least he thinks so. 
“I’ve never ran my fingers through Chuck’s hair,” he said.
McGeorge acknowledged that television takes up a lot of his personal time. 
To help remedy that, his wife and children attended the annual meeting as well.
“For the record,” he said, “I still do spend more than 50 percent of my time in the practice of emergency medicine.”
To be an effective “expert witness,” he said, one must be concise, credible and “likeable.” Preparation is also important.
“There is a lot of work that goes into being an expert witness,” McGeorge said, “examining the cases and being objective.”
He contrasted the defense attorneys’ “crazy” time cycles with that of television.
“Your cases go on for years,” he said. “TV is immediate. Because the TV news cycle is so short, we can’t wait a day or a week for a response.” 
McGeorge continued,“I totally understand not trying cases in the media. Many times, though, a rapid response can avoid a crisis or a lawsuit.”
He described a news story he worked on where a healthcare provider failed to respond, making the hospital look bad and which led to a lawsuit from a patient who saw the report on TV.
McGeorge explained that once a news director vets and assigns a story, the reporter has to come back with something.
“I did the best I could,” he said, “but what bothered me is the hospital did not do as much as it could have (to respond).”
He said he went to Haiti as both an emergency medical responder and a TV reporter.
“That was the toughest six days of my life,” he said.
Noting the lack of oversight during the Haiti crisis, McGeorge said, “I actually got to practice medicine in a world without attorneys, without malpractice laws. I was able to practice medicine without worry.”
There was no disputing “standard care” vs. “best care” in Haiti.
“There are times when the best standard of care is whatever doctors can do at the time,” McGeorge said.
He did note, though, that “the tort system is not all that bad.”
Cases in point were amputations readily — perhaps too readily — performed by Cuban and Dominican doctors. 
“There was a lot of second-guessing about whether some amputations were necessary,” he said. “It is good to know there is a system monitoring what you can and cannot do. You can get careless.”
As president of the Michigan chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, McGeorge said he will be looking at tort reform to make “gross negligence” the standard.
Fellow firm attorney Matthew A. Brauer attended the annual meeting to support ADTC’s new president, Manion.
“This event is a great opportunity for defense counsel of varying areas to meet and share their respective points of view,” he said. 
Concerning Brady, the honoree, Brauer added, “I’ve known Ed Brady all my life. He is a great man.”