Law & Order (1990) Episode Scripts

N/A - Whiplash

NARRATOR: In the criminal justice system the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups, the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.
These are their stories.
Your parents hated me, right? They didn't hate you.
Maybe not your dad, but your mom.
She didn't hate you, she liked you.
Did you see the way she kept checking out my hair? That's just how she is.
And could her ring be any bigger? What are you doing? They're gonna come out any second now.
I need a cigarette.
Then let's just go around the corner then, okay? (GAS PS) CSU: Hispanic male, 30 to 35.
Couple coming out of the restaurant found him like this.
What do you make of it? Abrasions on the neck and a bruise.
Looks like it runs down to his chest.
Mugging? Maybe just some kind of fight.
Found about 250 bucks in his pocket.
ED: Any ID? OFFICER: Nothing.
Either they took the wallet or he didn't have one.
BRISCOE: How long's he been dead? An hour.
Maybe less.
Anybody see anything? Well, Unis are still canvassing the area.
We did find some other stuff in his pockets.
Bus transfer.
Stop's around the corner.
Should've took the subway.
Any chance we can get a rush on him? Soon as I rush Okay, how about a preliminary? Well, looks like he's from Mexico.
Central America.
Solid build, calluses on his hands.
I'm guessing some kind of manual laborer.
So what did him in? All right, see this dark area? That's his heart.
He's got a widened media stinum.
I was gonna say that.
If he was over 50 I'd bethinking atherosclerosis or high blood pressure.
And if he was 30? Well, it might be an aneurysm.
I won't know until I cut him open.
ED: What would cause that in a guy his age? Well, considering his other bruising, some kind of trauma to his chest.
So something hit him.
Or someone.
MTA says the transfer indicates he boarded a Q-32 bus at 5:34 p.
m.
Q-32 originates in Jackson Heights.
How'd you know that? My sister lives in Queens.
So he's taking the bus into the city with $250 in his pocket.
Well, we figure he was on a job somewhere, got paid, and then was on his way home.
Or out on the town for the night.
Any luck pinning down where he worked? None of the drivers on that route recognize him so far.
Rodgers says he had callused hands, like he worked construction or something like that.
Well, how about the inventory search? We got keys, we got a comb, candy wrappers.
Oh, and this.
A Brief History of Marionettes.
Well, it could be a program insert from a puppet show.
Well, we'll check the ads in the weeklies.
Club soda.
We're an open congregation.
Most of the people who come here are transients.
When you say transients, you mean illegal immigrants? God doesn't discriminate, Detective.
This man might have had little kids who attended your puppet show last Sunday.
That was coordinated through our children's service.
Well, who runs that? Volunteers.
Well, what about on Sunday? (SIGHS) I think Norma Lopez was here on Sunday.
ED: Thank you.
Do you know this man? We found his body on the street yesterday.
We're just trying to identify him.
Look, I don't want to get his family in trouble.
Hey, we're not from the INS, Ms.
Lopez.
It looks like Marta's father.
She's six.
Does Marta have a last name? Santiago.
BRISCOE: Any idea where they live? I'm not sure.
But the little girl, she's in first grade at P.
S.
73.
They should have an address.
ED: Thank you.
ED: Mrs.
Santiago? She is just not feeling too good.
And where's her husband? San Salvador.
Visiting family.
Mrs.
Santiago, we found this man on the street.
We just want to find out who's responsible for this.
And when she tells you it's her husband, the immigration people come and take her and her children away.
No, nobody's gonna take anybody anyplace.
I promise.
(SOBBING) It's Hector.
It's Hector.
We're very sorry, Mrs.
Santiago.
We need to ask you a couple of questions if you're up to it, okay? Okay.
Your husband was found on East 56th Street.
Do you have any idea why he would be there? Maybe my Hector was working near there.
Mrs.
Santiago, did he get paid on Wednesdays? No, Hector got paid every day.
$50.
We found $250 in his pocket.
$250? BRISCOE: Is it possible that he was doing something illegal? Something he didn't want you to know about? No.
Not Hector.
You didn't report him missing? I was afraid to call the police.
I kept telling myself that he was going to be okay.
He wasn't feeling well on Tuesday.
What was wrong? He said that he had hurt himself at work.
Who's he work for? (SPEAKING SPANISH) This man, Mike Anderson.
I wanted him to rest, but our baby was sick.
Dios mio.
I haven't seen Hector Santiago in weeks.
Well, where'd you think he was? Skiing in Switzerland? I just didn't need him for any jobs.
His wife was under the impression he was still working for you.
Maybe he didn't want her to know that he wasn't.
Maybe you paid him off to duck a workers' comp claim.
What are you talking about? Hector's dead.
What? His wife said he hurt himself on the job here Tuesday.
Tuesday? He wasn't here.
You can ask these guys.
Do you have any renovation somewhere else? Hey, Hector was a good worker.
I had nothing against him.
I just didn't have the work.
Truth is, I felt really bad laying him off, if you want to know.
Bad enough to help him find another job? Hey, if Hector needed a job there's a corner up in Harlem where these guys hang out looking for day work.
That's where I found him.
Anybody here know a Hector Santiago? We're with the police, not Immigration.
Come on, bro, help us out.
Come on, guys.
We just want to find somebody who knows him.
I know him.
What do you want? When was the last time you saw him? Monday.
What are you looking for him for? Where'd you see him on Monday? Here, looking for work.
Any luck? Yeah.
He got picked up to do some moving work.
What's happened to him? Which outfit picked him up? It's a red truck.
You don't know their name? (SPEAKING SPANISH) (SPEAKING SPANISH) Reed Moving Company.
Reed Moving Company? Yeah, that's the one.
Hector went with them.
Are you sure he's not in any trouble? Nah, his troubles are over, believe me.
His name's Hector Santiago.
We got a witness who says he saw him get into one of your trucks on Monday.
A lot of these guys come through.
Yeah, well, this guy's dead.
Otis.
Yo? Got two.
Look, maybe he did work for me.
I honestly don't remember.
Well, then, maybe he worked for you Tuesday and Wednesday, too.
I need some extra muscle, I send one of my drivers to the corner.
I don't suppose you send 'em their W-2s.
These people would be in the street if it wasn't for me.
Look, Mr.
Reed, how many jobs did you need extra muscle for on Monday? I had two office moves Monday.
BRISCOE: So where are those crews working now? One's downtown.
One's on a job on the West Side.
Yeah, he worked on Monday and Wednesday.
The truth is, I started here a few weeks ago myself, so I got all the new fish.
What was the job he was working on Wednesday? That would be a brownstone in Bensonhurst.
And you're sure you remember him working Wednesday? Absolutely.
It was a brownstone four-flight walk-up.
This guy, Hector, is it? Well, after the first trip, he comes to me and he tells me he's hurt.
For the rest of the day, he's practically useless.
I had to pass all the light stuff off the truck to him.
How did he get hurt on the job that morning? He wasn't hurt on this job.
BRISCOE: Well, what, then? He said he was in a car accident.
RODGERS: It could definitely be from an auto accident.
Cause of death was a dissecting aneurysm of the aorta caused by severe blunt force trauma.
If it was so severe, why wasn't he more beat up? I've seen cases with no external bruising.
It's a deceleration injury.
As in motor vehicle deceleration.
As in whiplash.
He's thrown forward, then he gets pulled back by the seat restraints.
This extreme jerking motion can cause dramatic injury to the aorta.
So the neck abrasions were from the seat belt.
Well, could he walk around all day like this? I saw one guy live for a month before the aorta ruptured.
Good news is, you can close the file, send it down to AIS.
Assuming it was an accident.
What, something I'm missing? Guy gets in a car crash, why doesn't he tell his wife? We don't own a car.
Did any of Hector's friends have a car? Nobody I can think of.
Maybe he took a taxi.
We can hardly afford the bus.
Well, he did have that 250 on him.
(CELL PHONE RINGING) Hector would never have wasted money on a cab.
Excuse me.
Yeah, Green.
Can you think of any reason why your husband might lie about this? I don't know.
Maybe he just didn't want me to worry.
Thanks.
Mrs.
Santiago, do you know someone named Chad Patel? Patel? No.
We had our officers pull the accident reports from Monday and Tuesday.
One of them listed your husband as the passenger.
Chad Patel was the driver.
We're investigating the accident you were in on Tuesday.
I already talked to police.
Well, we just need to verify a couple of things.
Yeah, the two guys that were in the car with you, Hector Santiago and Everold Daly.
They friends of yours? Just friends of a friend.
What were they doing in your car? I run into them at this place in Queens.
I gave them a ride back to Harlem.
Why do you ask me these questions? One of them died.
The doctor tells us it was from the accident.
But I saw him after.
He looked okay.
How about you? You okay? My arm and neck hurt.
But I got to work.
You know how it is.
ED: Yeah, you should really see a doctor though, Mr.
Patel.
The other guy died from his injuries.
I can't afford no doctor.
BRISCOE: When's the last time you saw Mr.
Santiago? After the accident, the police tow my car.
We all take the bus.
How did this accident happen? Car cut me off.
I hit my brakes.
Some guy in SUV rear-ends me.
And you called the cops? I tell them that the guy was tail-gating me.
He was on his cell phone.
He wasn't paying attention.
The cops didn't do anything.
Okay, thanks.
Should we be looking at this SUV driver? Cops on the scene let it go.
But they didn't know Hector Santiago was gonna die.
Driving while on cell phone isn't illegal.
Not yet.
All right, well, I'll call the DMV.
Find out if this guy's got a history.
The other driver saw you on your cell phone.
No way.
I got on my cell phone after the accident.
My eyes were on the road the whole time.
Who were you calling, your lawyer? You got two moving violations in the past year, a DWI a while back.
Awhile back was in college.
I was calling my wife.
Look, the accident wasn't my fault.
This guy just slammed on his brakes for no reason.
He said he was cut off.
Bull.
There was nobody in front of him.
I tried to swerve out of the way, but there was this other car in the lane next to me.
I was boxed in.
Did you tell that to the cops at the scene? Gave them my insurance information.
They said I could leave.
Look, I did everything I was supposed to do.
I even offered to take 'em to the hospital, but the officer said he already called an ambulance.
An ambulance responded? As I was leaving.
Man, my insurance is gonna go through the roof now, isn't it? Thanks.
Too bad.
Guess he shouldn't have refused medical assistance.
So what? If a guy's half-dead, you just leave him there? If he's RMA and we treat him, do you know what happens if he dies then? The city gets sued and I get screwed.
So you didn't realize how badly Santiago was injured? All three of 'em were ambulatory.
No loss of consciousness.
Even then, I advised them to get checked out at a hospital.
What'd they say? They said they had their own doctors.
Patel said he didn't have a doctor.
You got your run sheets from that day? Yeah.
I pulled 'em when you called.
Treat and release.
They all signed off.
Well, what's this where it says "patient complaint"? Somebody wrote "pain radiating from the neck.
" Yeah, I did, and that's just what they said.
I thought it was kinda strange, these guys all saying the word "radiate.
" Chad Patel? You looking for the Indian? He's gone.
I saw him leave last night with a bag.
Told me he was moving out.
Did he tell you where he was moving to? No.
But it must be someplace he don't need a hotplate.
Gave me his.
Told me I could keep it.
Thanks.
(SIGHS) And then there was one.
Mm-hmm.
Everold Daly.
Where's Everold Daly? Who? Yeah, right.
Open the door.
Where is he? He's not here.
What's this? (SHOUTING) The bathroom.
All right, Everold, come on out.
He's going out the window, Ed.
That's good, that's good.
Now, radiate your ass up against the wall.
Come on.
The DMV says your friend Patel's been involved in two other rear-enders in the last nine months.
So if you don't start talking, Everold, you're gonna be looking at an accessory charge to Manslaughter.
I wasn't driving.
Insurance fraud's a felony.
Doesn't matter if you were driving or not.
Maybe you'd like a few months in the Immigration lock-up to think about it? No.
No Immigration.
So you want to help yourself here? Smash was too heavy-footed on the brakes.
Smash? Patel.
He likes to smash up the cars.
But the other man, he no have a chance to slow down.
The guy in the SUV? Patel is supposed to swing in front of him, then stop.
There's another car in on the thing, too? He pulls up next to the man so he can't get out of the way.
Then, thump, he hits us from behind.
A swoop.
So who was driving the other car? I don't know this rude boy's name.
Look, Patel say he already crashed two cars before this one, and no harm come to anyone.
What happens after the accident? We tell the ambulance driver what we're supposed to, then Patel takes me and Hector to the clinic, we talk to the doctor like so, we have sore necks.
That's it.
And how much you get paid for all this? $200.
Where's Patel now? I don't know.
I don't.
I never even met him before the other day.
How'd you meet him? The man at the moving company.
He come up to me and Hector after work on Monday, he pay us for the day, then he say he know how we can get another $200.
And which guy at the moving company told you this? The big boss, Mr.
Reed.
BRISCOE: Mr.
Reed? Yeah? We need you to come with us.
Why? Oh, come on.
You're smarter than that.
Okay.
Hey, man, we'll give you a ride.
Yeah, don't worry, my partner's an excellent driver.
I don't know why I'm in here.
How about hiring guys to play bumper cars on the West Side Highway? That ring a bell? I pay men to move furniture.
Have a seat.
A man died from an accident you arranged, Mr.
Reed.
He left behind a wife and two little children.
You're looking at homicide charges.
Homicide? Criminal fraud executed with reckless conduct creating a grave risk of death to another person.
That's the definition of Murder in the Second Degree.
And like I said, I run a moving company.
Come on.
DMV already confirmed Chad Patel's been involved in two other accidents in the past year.
CARMICHAEL: Everold Daly will testify you gave him Patel's phone number.
He was looking for work.
I gotta figure you're the low man on this totem pole, Mr.
Reed.
But if you don't give me anyone higher up on the food chain, that leaves you at the top.
Look, you're in way over your head this time.
Yeah, well, it's my head, and I want to see a lawyer.
Reed made bail.
Judge set a $25,000 cash alternative.
For Second Degree Murder? With Reed as our only defendant, doesn't give us much sizzle.
I take it the court wasn't overly impressed with our depraved indifference theory? A car accident was staged.
That endangers the lives of everyone in those vehicles, not to mention the rest of us on the road.
If that's not depraved indifference to life, what is? What about the second car? Daly doesn't know the name of the driver, and Reed's not talking.
If these accidents were staged, there has to have been more than a few hundred dollars in it.
Follow the money.
Get our sizzle.
Mr.
Patel's second accident claim was settled for $6,500.
What injuries did he allege? Soft tissue damage to the back and neck.
Soft tissue damage? As opposed to a broken arm or leg.
The lay term is whiplash.
Hard to prove, hard to disprove.
That's the same injury he claimed in his first accident.
You settled both, Ms.
Miller.
To fight it we'd have to spend $700 bringing in a doctor for an opinion.
Another couple hundred for a second X-ray.
Maybe even an MRI.
Add another 3,000 bringing in legal counsel to depose the plaintiff.
So you settle for nuisance value.
Exactly.
All right, I'm going to need copies of all your soft tissue claims for the past 12 months.
Exel is one of the largest auto insurers in New York, Ms.
Carmichael.
That's a pretty tall order.
If it'll help, I'll get you a subpoena.
Last thing I need is more lawyers.
I'll get you the copies.
CARMICHAEL: Jack.
I went through Miller's files.
as employees of Bill Reed.
A cottage industry.
How much money are we talking about? Several hundred thousand dollars at least.
And that doesn't take into account any other insurance companies that may have been sued.
And there's a common thread besides Bill Reed.
All 19 men went to the same chiropractic clinic.
Let's get a second opinion.
It's not my practice to second guess another doctor.
We believe these accidents were part of a con game.
What we're trying to figure out is if the injuries warranted insurance settlements.
Well, soft tissue injuries are extremely complex to diagnose.
And the nerve conduction tests that were ordered by Dr.
Raleigh are notoriously unreliable.
And the patient's X-rays and the MRI results are completely within the normal range.
Then all these expensive tests really tell us nothing.
No, not exactly.
You'd expect that some of the 19 charts that you've given me would have an injury verifiable by an X-ray or an MRI.
But there's not a single test that shows any problems whatsoever.
So they're faking it? They averaged ten visits with this chiropractor.
I believe if you examine the no-fault coverage on those policies the amounts will correspond exactly with the number of treatments his patients received.
I guess they were cured as soon as their coverage ran out.
According to Patel's insurance claims, you treated him for soft tissue injury, allegedly resulting from three different car accidents within a span of less than 10 months.
Our client can't refuse to treat a man because he's a lousy driver.
He also treated every one of Patel's passengers.
Nothing unusual about getting referrals from current patients.
All of these referrals were employees of Reed Moving.
I imagine chiropractic problems are common in the moving business.
And so are car accidents? I wouldn't know.
But you do know exactly when their no-fault coverage runs out.
Dr.
Raleigh's patients are mainly low-income individuals without insurance.
I don't see why he should be singled out for the failings of our nation's health-care system.
How about for claiming treatment he never provided? Those are Mr.
Patel's current work records.
On six occasions Dr.
Raleigh claimed office visits, Mr.
Patel was actually working as a busboy.
Well, obviously my billing department has made a clerical error.
Six clerical errors.
Even if that's true, at most, uh, what you're describing is a minor civil matter.
I wouldn't call a pervasive pattern of insurance fraud that led to a man's death a civil matter, Counselor.
I'd call it murder.
Murder? That's ridiculous.
Well, car accidents were staged that put lives at risk.
And then the occupants of those vehicles were steered to this office to claim injuries that didn't exist.
You can't prove that.
We're prepared to call a board-certified orthopedist who will testify that none of their injuries were real.
And we'll call five others who'll swear they were.
We've tried more medical cases than you've tried homicides.
I'm afraid this discussion's over.
What now? If they can fake it, so can we.
All you have on my client is the testimony of an illegal immigrant desperate to avoid prosecution.
Not anymore.
We checked soft tissue claims from other major auto insurance companies in the city.
Do you have any idea how many of those people worked for you at one time or another, Mr.
Reed? All treated at Raleigh's clinic.
You talked to Raleigh? How long do you think it'll be before we'll have to testify against you? All I did was spread a few bucks around, that's it.
Phil No, why don't you go after the people who really got fat off of this? And who would that be? THIGPEN: Before he talks, he needs a deal.
Conspiracy to commit fraud.
Five years probation.
JACK: Try Man Two, three to nine.
Look, I never thought anybody'd get hurt.
These were supposed to be little rear-enders with everybody wearing their seatbelts.
This is Chad Patel's car.
That will be our first exhibit to the jury.
That doesn't look like a little fender-bender to me.
It was Raleigh's idea.
I moved him into his office a couple of years ago.
He knew I hired a lot of illegals from the corner.
Said if any of my guys want to get in on this scam, he'd give me a finder's fee.
I was supposed to pack the car with three or four guys and after the accident, they'd go to Raleigh's clinic.
JACK: How much was your fee? You'd pay these people $200 to risk their lives, and you'd keep three? Look, it's not like we were ripping off little old ladies here.
These were the insurance companies.
And the lawyers, Petrie and Sanders, they ran the whole thing.
Petrie and Sanders supplied the grease.
The law firm representing Dr.
Raleigh? One in the same.
Their firm handled all the personal injury claims of Raleigh's patients.
So, Reed sends Dr.
Raleigh illegal immigrants, and these shysters turn them into clients? Their contingency fees in these cases run in the millions.
A scam using immigrants as crash test dummies.
And these two lawyers orchestrated the whole thing.
No wonder they wouldn't let Raleigh talk about a plea.
All right, let's make examples of these two.
I want murder indictments for both of them.
Well, that's not gonna be easy.
Petrie and Sanders never had direct contact with Reed.
JACK: And Dr.
Raleigh was the bag man.
And we can't flip Raleigh because they represent him.
What about getting him shadow counsel? He's the one who'd have to request it.
Oh, how do we cut Raleigh loose from these damn lawyers? A motion to disqualify? On what grounds? The People plan to call both of you as witnesses.
Here are your subpoenas.
This is outrageous.
Judge, we refused to play ball with Mr.
McCoy on a plea bargain with our client.
This is simply retaliation.
What about it, Mr.
McCoy? We need these lawyers to prove there was a conspiracy to defraud the insurance companies.
You have to be more specific.
They can testify about the money the phony accident victims received.
Even if the accidents were phony, we can't be compelled to testify against our own clients.
We have attorney-client privilege with these people.
Does seem to present a problem.
Not if we offer blanket immunity to every one of their clients who might conceivably be implicated by their testimony.
What about Dr.
Raleigh? Doesn't he get immunity? We're not going to ask them about their conversations with Dr.
Raleigh.
Your Honor, we've spent two months preparing for this trial.
And I'll give substitute counsel plenty of time to get up to speed.
So what are you worried about? What exactly are you looking for, Mr.
McCoy? Testimony against the law firm of Petrie and Sanders.
That's why you disqualified them.
You should be thanking us, Dr.
Raleigh.
Your lawyers wanted you to take the fall for this.
What would this testimony be worth? Man Two, three to nine.
That's what you gave Reed.
I don't think your client's culpability is any less.
Maybe not.
But his information is worth more.
Dr.
Raleigh is the only one who had direct contact with these attorneys.
What are you looking for? Two to six.
No opposition to parole.
Let's hear what he has to say.
Petrie and Sanders paid me a referral fee for sending them accident victims.
JACK: How much? $600 for every client I referred, plus five percent of the insurance settlement.
And no-fault takes care of chiropractic visits that never took place? Were Petrie and Sanders aware that the accidents were staged? They were the ones who insisted on at least three victims per accident.
BRISCOE: Alan Petrie and Richard Sanders.
Hey, wait, we're in the middle of a deposition here.
You're under arrest for the murder of Hector Santiago.
You might want to find yourself a new Pl firm.
And you might want to get a lawyer who knows something about insurance fraud.
JACK: Petrie and Sanders told Raleigh to target new, expensive cars that'd be likely to have good insurance policies.
That's how they picked the SUV in the accident that killed Hector Santiago.
Has anyone approached you about a plea bargain for these creeps? They put out a feeler.
I haven't returned the call yet.
Raleigh is the only one who actually puts Petrie and Sanders in the driver's seat.
We could get Man One, restitution, if we deal.
These attorneys sacrificed Hector Santiago and men like him for nothing more than a legal fee.
For that they have to be made to pay full price.
Reports of auto insurance fraud in New York have doubled in the last five years.
Fraud adds almost $200 to the average family's insurance bill.
Have you examined the reports of the accident that killed Hector Santiago? Yes, I did.
What's your expert opinion on whether that was a real or a staged accident.
It was a swoop and squat.
Two cars came up alongside the mark.
In this case, an SUV.
Then the lead driver sped up, swooped in front of the mark, and jammed on his brakes.
The second car stayed next to the mark so he couldn't veer left.
The mark slammed on his brakes, but not in time to avoid hitting the lead car.
How many accident cases did Dr.
Raleigh and the defendants share? Based on my department's investigation, 58.
And of those accidents, how many fit the pattern of a swoop and squat? Virtually every single one.
Ms.
Claire, uh, do you have any proof my clients participated in this fraud? They took their legal fees out of the settlements in these cases.
Isn't it possible they didn't know the accidents were faked? I find that unlikely.
Why? Aren't soft tissue injuries easy to fake? Doctors may disagree, yes.
So it's possible the accident victims were well coached by Dr.
Raleigh to deceive my clients? When a lawyer gets 200 cases from the same chiropractor, and the medical reports read almost identically, I find it hard to believe the lawyer didn't know exactly what was going on.
RALEIGH: Mr.
Petrie came to my office three years ago on a personal injury case.
He liked the work-up I did for his client.
Two weeks later, he and Richard, Mr.
Sanders, took me out to an expensive dinner as a thank you.
They said that if I helped them generate cases, there'd be even bigger thank yous.
Did they propose how to generate cases? They suggested we stage car accidents.
They, uh, said they would pay me $600 for every referral, plus a percentage of any insurance settlement I helped to secure.
Did there come a time when you acted on the defendants' proposal? Bill Reed set up a car accident using four of his workers.
Afterwards, they came to my office for treatment, and I sent them to Petrie and Sanders for representation.
Did any of these car accident victims require treatment, Dr.
Raleigh? No.
And over the years, how many of these so-called victims did you deliver to Petrie and Sanders? Including repeat customers, 212.
You received a very cushy deal to testify against my clients today, did you not, Doctor? I wouldn't call two to six years in prison cushy.
Not even if you're facing a Dr.
Raleigh, it's quite common for doctors and chiropractors to refer their patients to personal injury lawyers, is it not? Yes.
Nothing wrong with that, is there? No.
Unless money changes hands.
Do you have any proof that my clients ever put a single penny in your hand? They always paid cash.
And you billed the insurance companies directly for your services? Yes.
Yes.
Seems you took care of everything, Dr.
Raleigh.
Our law firm turns away potential clients all the time.
If Richard and I think somebody's being dishonest, we don't want anything to do with them.
But I'd rather make mistakes once in a while than turn away somebody who's truly deserving.
Mr.
Petrie, have you and Mr.
Sanders ever knowingly participated in fraud? Absolutely not.
Ever paid anyone to get in an accident? No.
Ever paid Dr.
Raleigh? Never.
What about the testimony we heard from the prosecution's insurance industry expert? Well, people should remember that that's exactly what she is, a representative of the insurance companies.
And insurance companies don't like paying insurance, and they especially don't like law firms that make them.
Thank you.
I have nothing further.
Mr.
Petrie, you visited Dr.
Raleigh's office over 30 times during the past two years.
It's not uncommon for a lawyer to attend his client's physical examinations.
And always the same diagnosis, soft tissue injuries.
It happens to be the most likely injury to occur from a rear-end collision.
And rear-end collisions happen to be the most lucrative type of accident to sue on, correct? I think, as a general proposition, that's probably true.
So was it luck, Mr.
Petrie, that every client referred by Dr.
Raleigh had been involved in a rear-end collision? I'm a lawyer Mr.
McCoy I try the facts I'm given.
Every accident from Dr.
Raleigh's office a rear-end collision.
Every claim whiplash.
Every client an illegal alien, and/or an employee of Bill Reed.
Pretty coincidental facts, Mr.
Petrie.
My law firm doesn't represent Park Avenue matrons, Mr.
McCoy.
We're down in the trenches, fighting for the people society has forgotten.
And you turn a nice buck doing it, don't you, Mr.
Petrie? Yes.
My law firm is successful.
I don't make apologies for that.
But we don't collect if our client's don't collect.
It's as simple as that.
Petrie's painted himself as a cross between Robin Hood and Cesar Chavez.
And there's bound to be four or five blue-collar types who are going to be sympathetic.
These guys have an answer for everything.
We should make sure his performance backfires.
Let's look through some of their more serious injury cases.
Maybe we can find some little people who aren't so grateful.
JACK: What happened to your husband, Mrs.
Ndabe? Musa was in a car accident last year with three other men.
A car hit them from the back and Musa ruptured his spleen.
He died that night.
This is highly prejudicial, Your Honor.
You've already made your objections in chambers, Mr.
Kaufer.
Please sit down.
Did these defendants represent you and your husband? Yes.
After he died, they settled with the insurance company for $100,000.
And how much did you receive? Mr.
Petrie and Mr.
Sanders took one half.
Not one third? One half.
They also took $37,000 for expenses.
Leaving you with $13,000 for your husband's wrongful death? Yes.
Is that why you're testifying here today? Because you feel cheated? No.
I'm here because my husband's accident was not really an accident, and these men knew it.
Objection.
The jury will disregard the statement about the defendants' knowledge.
Why is it you believe that the car crash was not an accident, Mrs.
Ndabe? Because at the hospital Mr.
Petrie was already there.
He said that Musa was in critical condition, that I had to sign papers, the retainer, in case he died, so that his firm could represent us.
And why was that so urgent? Mr.
Petrie told me that if a different lawyer was to take the case, they'll find out what really happened and I might not get any money.
That I could even be deported for what Musa had done.
Mrs.
Ndabe, by testifying here today, aren't you afraid that the insurance company may realize they were defrauded and try to get their money back? I may lose the money, yes.
But I don't want to let my husband's killers go free.
Mrs.
Ndabe, I'm sorry for your loss.
I know that in times of sadness, we often search for a reason for the pain.
Something to explain the inexplicable.
Objection.
Ask a question, Counselor.
Mrs.
Ndabe, in your time of need who paid your husband's medical bills, his funeral bills? Who treated you with kindness and respect? It felt like kindness at the time.
Later, it turned out to be expenses.
So you're bitter about your part of the settlement, is that it, Mrs.
Ndabe? No, I'm not bitter.
But you waited such a long time before coming forward with your accusation.
I was afraid.
I wasn't legal.
Or is it maybe because you didn't want to do anything until you saw how little money you were going to get? That's not true.
No, no, I'm sure it's not.
Thank you, Mrs.
Ndabe.
Hector Santiago's death is a terrible tragedy.
By all accounts, he was a decent man who simply made a terrible mistake agreeing to participate in an insurance scam.
A scam that ultimately cost him his life.
But it was an agreement my clients had no knowledge of.
An agreement they could have no knowledge of, unless you want lawyers to be their client's inquisitors rather than their advocates.
So why are my clients on trial? After all, Dr.
Raleigh's the one who paid Bill Reed to stage the accident.
He's the one who dealt with the insurance companies.
He's the one who billed for the non-existent medical treatments.
So why put Alan Petrie and Richard Sanders on trial? It's because Mr.
McCoy knows that people are willing to believe the worst about lawyers.
Especially personal injury lawyers.
And the more successful they are, the more political pressure is brought by the insurance companies to bring 'em down.
So they're portrayed to you as bottom feeders, ambulance chasers.
But these so-called ambulance chasers are our protectors.
(SIGHS) Lawyers like Alan Petrie and Richard Sanders defend us from the corporations and the insurance companies, to whom the rest of us are just numbers.
Everyone hates lawyers until they need one.
Alan Petrie and Richard Sanders made millions of dollars on the backs of the Hector Santiagos of the world.
They're not champions of the people, they're just corrupt lawyers who preyed on the most vulnerable among us in order to make themselves rich.
Inducing hard-working men, desperate to feed their families to risk their lives in car accidents with innocent drivers.
Their scheme endangered all of us, because it turned all of us into potential victims.
Dr.
Raleigh's office to observe medical examinations that all ended with the same result, the same injuries, the same rear-end collisions.
You heard Dr.
Raleigh testify that thousands of dollars changed hands in these visits.
But where was the big money in this scam? Did it go to Bill Reed, or Hector Santiago or even Dr.
Raleigh? It went to these defendants, these lawyers, who handled 212 identical cases, and made $2,500,000, plus expenses, doing it.
Leaving the Mrs.
Ndabes of the world with their 13%.
Petrie and Sanders were running a fraud mill, and Hector Santiago and the men like him were simply the grist.
The bottom line is this, Hector Santiago is dead because these men paid him $200 to get into a cheap car and cross his fingers and hold on tight.
Has the jury reached a verdict? WOMAN: We have.
JUDGE: As to Alan Petrie, on the charge of Murder in the Second Degree, how do you find? We find the defendant guilty.
JUDGE: As to Richard Sanders, on the charge of Murder in the Second Degree, how do you find? We find the defendant guilty.
Do we charge them with Mr.
Ndabe's murder? We have 20 years to decide.
Gives new meaning to the term "Jailhouse lawyers.
" What happens to all those settlements now? The insurance companies are moving to set them aside.
Hector Santiago's family won't see a penny.
He died for nothing.