"You can't call that a settlement offer." Kate Sullivan looked directly into the dark eyes of her opposing counsel, who represented a medical device company. Jerry had just made partner and thought he could play hardball, but she wasn't going to let him get the upper hand. "You and I both know that amount will never cut it. Come back to me when you have a number I can work with." She closed her laptop and shoved it in her bag.
"C'mon, Kate. Fifty grand is a good starting point," Jerry said.
"We're done here. Call me when you're actually ready to negotiate." She stood up and walked out of the conference room before Jerry could say anything else. He wasn't taking her client's claims seriously, so she wasn't going to waste any more time playing games. He'd come to his senses soon enough. This case shouldn't go to trial, and he knew it.
Making the quick drive from downtown to Midtown Atlanta, weaving through the usual traffic, she parked in her reserved spot in the garage under a tall office building. The large office tower was home of the world-class plaintiff's firm Warren McGee. She spent more time at her office than she did at her own home, but that was by choice. Representing innocent victims was her calling.
When she walked out of the elevator and onto the twenty-third floor, her assistant, Beth Russo, greeted her warmly.
"How did it go?" Beth asked. Her fifty-five-year-old assistant had been working at the law firm for decades and knew the ins and outs of each case and every schedule. Kate would be lost without her.
"Still no settlement, but they'll cave eventually. They don't actually want to try this case."
"I hope so, because you need to get it off your docket and give your full attention to the Mason Pharmaceutical litigation. You deserve to be running that case."
Kate laughed. "Let me get on the steering committee first, Beth. Then I'll apply for lead counsel."
"Exactly. You're due in court in three hours for the hearing on the steering committee, and you've got calls piled up."
She smiled. "Thanks, Beth. I'll work through them." Calls meant business, and business was what kept her in good standing as a partner at the firm.
In the privacy of her own office, Kate stared out the large window that gave her a fantastic view of Stone Mountain in the distance. She'd earned this corner office by working hard, but she wanted more. Her goal was to be managing partner one day, and this litigation was huge.
Thousands of cases had been filed across the country against Mason Pharmaceutical Corporation, known as MPC. She was responsible for a large chunk of them, representing victims who had taken MPC's migraine drug and had died or been injured. She needed a spot on the exclusive committee of plaintiffs' lawyers that would dictate the entire direction of the case.
Her phone rang, but she let it go, knowing Beth would answer it. She had started flipping through her emails when Beth hurried into her office with a frown pulling at her lips.
"Kate, sorry to bother you, but there's a call I think you have to take."
"Who is it?"
Beth's brown eyes narrowed. "She won't give me her name, but she said she has information regarding the MPC case."
Once the litigation hit the news and the firms started advertising to find clients who had taken the dangerous drug, there was a constant stream of inquiries to be fielded. The firm couldn't turn them down without hearing the person out first.
"Why don't you have one of the associates take it?"
Beth shook her head. "She says she'll only talk to you."
Kate was listed as lead counsel on hundreds of the complaints, so it made sense that this person would want to talk to her. "Okay, put her through." She waited for her line to light up red, then picked up the phone. "This is Kate Sullivan."