By James E. Fox
The conventional wisdom is that lawyers should not represent relatives nor take out-of-town cases. SFVBA member James E. Fox violated both rules. When he first received the call for help from his cousin, Brian, in 2004, his first reaction was “No way.” Fox had heard of “pro hac vice” but never thought it could ever apply to him. Four years later, after 45 depositions and 150,000 frequent flier miles, a Boston jury found two prominent Harvard physicians guilty of malpractice and awarded $15,000,000 in damages for the death of 3-year-old Jason Fox. The case had been rejected by four prominent Boston plaintiff firms and the statute of limitations was about to expire. The plaintiff had no place to turn. Of course, the Sherman Oaks cousin who specializes in malpractice trials wanted to help. Brian was “family.” Brian lived in Philadelphia and the claimed malpractice occurred in Boston and involved troubling questions about negligence, causation and damages. There were many reasons to avoid this case, but a malpractice case against Harvard physicians with international reputation.