About Harris Meyer

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Harris Meyer Articles written 20

Harris Meyer is a veteran legal and health care reporter and editor who has written for Super Lawyers, American Lawyer Media, ABA Journal, Kaiser Health News, Health Affairs, Medscape, Modern Healthcare, and many other publications. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and lives with his wife, Deborah, in Chicago.

Articles written by Harris Meyer

The Helping Habit

Lisa Kelley credits her mom with her dedication to volunteer work

Lisa Kelley’s mother has a refrigerator magnet that reads: “Stop me from volunteering again.” It’s a family joke—like mother, like daughter. Kelley, a medical malpractice plaintiff’s attorney in Tampa, is renowned in her community for her volunteer work.  Betsy Stecher raised Kelley and her two older brothers as a single mom. “She joined Junior League and she volunteered for everything,” Kelley recalls. “That was my example. As long as she’s got breath and her legs are …

The Strategist

Gerry Leeseberg knows when to go on the attack and when to rein it in

At a 2018 trial in Franklin County, Gerry Leeseberg needed a way to make the jury connect with his client, Bradley Metts, a boy who became paralyzed at age 9.  Leeseberg was arguing that the boy’s “locked-in” syndrome was due to an alleged cascade of medical errors.  A defense expert had claimed in deposition that Metts was brain-dead, which, if true, could have weakened the claim for non-economic damages. Leeseberg’s challenge: to show the jury that this was a bright, personable …

Gentleman of the Court

Persistence and composure serve Richard Mithoff well, in court and on the mountainside

It’s still a thrill for Richard Mithoff: stepping into a case on short notice, coming up to speed quickly on a complex area of law, and explaining as clearly as possible to judge and jury why his client should prevail. He’s taken on cases others thought were losers, notching hundreds of $1 million-plus personal injury and commercial verdicts and settlements. He’s also handled litigation for the Democratic Party, persuading a federal judge after the 2020 presidential election to preserve …

'That's Not Crowd Control, That's Crowd Attack'

David Perez helped lead the charge to keep Seattle officers from violating protesters’ civil rights

On May 29, 2020, four days after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police, large street protests decried racist policing, and in Seattle, excessive use of force erupted. For several days, the Seattle Police Department, already under a 2012 federal consent decree over racial bias and excessive use of force, deployed a battery of “less-lethal” weapons against hundreds of demonstrators. These weapons—including tear gas, pepper spray, flash-bang grenades, pepper-filled blast balls and …

Someone People Want to Follow

Jaret Davis believes in the power of technology and the ability of humans to work together

With his career about to start, Jaret L. Davis was urged by many friends and mentors to leave his hometown of Miami and come to a city they felt had greater prestige and opportunities. Once, when he was visiting friends in New York City, they picked him up at the airport and drove through the Holland Tunnel to the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. Suddenly, his friend swerved his BMW into a parking area with a grand view of the Manhattan skyline, hit “play” on Sinatra singing “New …

The Most Interesting Man in the World

Gerald Richman danced at the LBJ White House, escorted Nixon to a swearing-in, fought for Al Gore’s elective life, and jet-setted with an international arms dealer

Rummaging through boxes on his office floor, Gerald Richman pulls out mementos from more than a half-century of legal practice, public service and political activism. Not to mention international intrigue. He calls it his “rogue’s gallery.” He shows off a few photos of himself in his 20s, when he was White House aide to President Lyndon Johnson: one with the president and Lady Bird; another standing at attention as Johnson and the Shah of Iran walk past, and one watching the president …

Putting the Brakes on Uber

How John Crabtree got the rideshare giant to repay drivers a “safe-ride” fee 

When John Crabtree filed a class action lawsuit against Uber over how it pays its drivers, his corporate opponent accused him and his colleagues of having “hallucinated” the facts and scoffed that the plaintiffs’ legal theory was a “logical impossibility.” The company won a ruling from U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in San Francisco that excluded nearly 98 percent of the potential plaintiffs because those drivers hadn’t opted out of a contract arbitration clause. Uber …

Destination: Outside Your Comfort Zone

That’s where Virginia Easley Johnson and her colleagues go to help impoverished communities

When Virginia Easley Johnson takes attorneys and staffers from her firm on service missions to impoverished places like rural Guatemala, it can be a challenge to get her colleagues not to worry about getting all the latrines built by the end of the day. Participants sometimes have to put aside their own views about the most efficient way to proceed and follow the lead of the local people, who may prefer low-tech approaches. The lesson participants learn, Johnson says, is that “it doesn’t …

‘A Lot of Chutzpah’

But octogenarian Bob Parks doesn’t fight—until he needs to

Bob Parks doesn’t make small talk or fight with opposing lawyers over minor things like scheduling hearings. The famed Miami plaintiff’s attorney has never had time to waste. At 80, that hasn’t changed. “He is a strong, no-nonsense guy, a very able lawyer,” says aviation and aerospace attorney Aaron Podhurst, Parks’ former partner for nearly 25 years and a litigation legend in his own right. “He only fights over what he has to,” says Thomas Scott, a former U.S. attorney and …

Special Force

After 50-mile marches and parachute jumps, former U.S. Army Ranger John Agnew may have been overprepared for courtroom combat

As a 19-year-old college student, John Agnew was partying too much and feeling lost. So he went to the Army recruiting office and asked, “What’s the hardest job?”  “The Rangers,” the recruiter replied. The enlistment officer later tried to discourage him, noting that Ranger duty is dangerous and doesn’t pay extra. But the son of a Presbyterian minister was not dissuaded.  The highlight of his Army career, Agnew says, was participating in three grueling Best Ranger competitions. …

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