Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 3, Episode 4 - The Corporate Veil - full transcript

Detectives Cerreta and Logan investigate the death of a young man, Roberto Martinez, who died of a heart attack behind the wheel of his car. Despite his young age, Martinez had a pacemaker which apparently failed. His family is suing the company that manufactured the pacemaker but they also want a criminal investigation. What they learn is the the device implanted in Martinez was previously used in another patient. The doctor in that case claims she donated the device to a medical school after her own patient received a new one. The pacemaker was acquired and refurbished by Bruce Sutter but it appears he may have changed the expiration date of the battery. A detailed examination however reveal's the problem may have been one of quality which leads them back to the manufacturer and eventually charge the owner's son, Steven Cleary, with murder.

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.


Mrs. Feffer says my
hands are too small.

I say your mouth's too big.

She says maybe I should
switch to the clarinet.

Proves my point.

Next year I get
to be in the band.

Should put you in the
corner at Shea, huh?

I'd go for a hell of a
lot less than $29 million.

Guy's a bum. What's he at, .220?

Hey, he's better than the
last guy they had, huh?

Least he could
do is break a leg.

He can't hurt the
team from the DL.

Cindy Jo started
the flute last year.

Mrs. Gelfand says
she can be in the band.

They get uniforms.

Learn to sing and
we can all retire.

No! My music.

We gotta go back.


Somebody call an ambulance. 911.

You all right? Sit down, okay.

You okay? You in any pain?

Check the driver.

Did you see it?

Must have been going 40.

Kid's name is Roberto Martinez.

Guys from Al are
down at the scene.

His kid sister said
he passed out.

My guess, drunk out of
his mind or drugged out.

Call the family.

Did you do the accident?

Bystanders, bumps and bruises.

What about the Martinez kid?

Not his lucky day. DOA.

You do his blood?

No alcohol, no drugs.

His sister said he passed out.

That's consistent.

The kid had a heart attack.


Roberto is dead,

and there's nothing you can do?

Mrs. Martinez, it's
most unfortunate.

The hospital said

your son died of a heart attack.

Of course he had a heart attack.

He had a pacemaker
that wasn't worth the plastic

it was wrapped in.


The kid was, what, 16?


What, it's only illegal to
kill minors these days?

Roberto had a heart condition.

Some quack sticks
a do-da in his chest,

the thing misfires,
and he's dead.

I'm really very sorry,

but if there was a
crime here, Mr. Fischel,

then I don't see it.

Now if what you're
saying is true,

then your client can sue the
company that made the pacemaker.

Excuse me, but, uh,

what law school did you go to?

We're suing the
company for millions.

We're suing the
doctor for millions.

Mrs. Martinez here
wants a little justice.

You mean revenge, don't you?

Why don't you just work
with us, okay, Counselor?

Roberto didn't need a pacemaker.

In my book, that's
unnecessary surgery.

The thing craps
out, and he's dead.

That's assault
and felony murder.

I thought he had
a heart condition.

Oh, it could have
been treated with drugs,

but then the good doctor's fee

would have been cut in half.

What is this doctor's name?

Dr. Trevor Hellems.

He's on 87th.


We'll check it out.

Thank you.

Mrs. Martinez.

Hey, Fischel,

what makes you such
a freaking humanitarian?

I get this dirtbag indicted,

and the insurance
company settles on day one.

And this dirtbag is guilty.

No, I didn't expect you,

but I certainly know
why you're here.

Peter Fischel.
Talk about sharks.

He's already served
you with papers?


The man's the
reason a lot of doctors

I graduated with
are now driving cabs.

He's topped himself this time,

calling in the infantry.

Well, he claims the
surgery on Roberto Martinez

was unnecessary.

I didn't know they taught

tachycardia in law school.

That, uh, was Roberto's problem.

An irregular heartbeat
that speeds up

now and again from a normal 70

to as high as 200
beats per minute.

And the pacemaker controls that?

It's supposed to.

Is it possible Roberto
could have lived

without the pacemaker?

You saw what happened
when it didn't work.

Mr. Fischel contends he
could have been treated

just as effectively with drugs.

Hmm. Some doctors might agree,

but I'm of the
school that believes

you don't needlessly
subject young patients

to a lifetime of toxic drugs.

Yeah, but the drugs
don't usually break.

Neither do BioNorm pacemakers.

Pacemaker technology has
been well-established for decades.

BioNorm Industries
is at the forefront.

My decision to
implant the device

was a sound medical decision,

no matter what Mr. Fischel says.

And I guess I'll spend
the next six years

in court proving it.

Mrs. Martinez,

we spoke with
several specialists

and they have told us

that Dr. Hellems
did nothing illegal

when he operated on Roberto.

If nobody did anything wrong,

then why did they offer
me $50,000 this morning?

Who are "they"?

BioNorm. The company
that made the pacemaker.

Did you take it?

Roberto said

that when he was a rich doctor,

he'd pay for Ana
to go to Juilliard.

$50,000 pays tuition.

They told me that I
had to sign a paper

agreeing not to say anything.

I want the world to know

that these people killed my son.

Could be BioNorm has a heart.

This is corporate America,
not a Cub Scout troop.

You do a good deed,
your PR department

splashes it all
over the front page.

My old man got a new ticker.

Got to listen to my old
lady screaming at him

for six more years.

And your point is?

These companies,

their job is keeping
people alive.

Yeah, and if they screw up,

they ought to get
handed a pink slip.

Phil, one person out of 100,000
dies from taking penicillin.

That means we shouldn't take it?

No, but what if there's a
chance the penicillin is bad?

One kid died, Phil.

One kid that we know about.

And that scares
the hell out of me.

Lawyers call it compensation.

I call it blackmail.

There's absolutely nothing wrong

with the device
in that boy's heart.

So you examined it?

No, I didn't have to.

Look, whatever study
you want to go by,

our pacemaker's one of the
top three sellers in the world.

We've never had any problem.

You offered Mrs.
Martinez $50,000.

Some might say that's a solution

to a pretty big problem.


That would be in my
lawyer's pocket the first week.

There was an itch.
I tried to scratch it.

Mr. Cleary, that's
more than an itch.

The boy died.

Well, do you want me

to hop down in the
grave beside him?

Look, 35 years ago,

my old man owned a
greasy spoon in Corona.

An old lady slipped.
She broke her hip.

By the time her gaggle of
shysters got through with him,

he didn't have a proverbial pot.

Now, there's no way

lightning strikes
my family twice.

If Roberto's pacemaker
didn't function,

he is entitled to...

Check your source, Detective.

Peter Fischel said
it was a malfunction.

That's the first thing
those people always say.

What about the gag order?

I've got nothing
against Mrs. Martinez.

She seems like a
very nice person.

But if she goes on Geraldo

and starts talking
about how her boy died

with one of my
pacemakers in his chest,

well, my whole company
goes down the crapper.

So, you tell me, who's worse,

the lawyers or their clients?

Scrape the bottom
of any cesspool,

you'll find it lined with JDs.

Everything works until
some lawyer says it doesn't.

And as Mr. Cleary
so elegantly opined:

"That's the first thing
those people always say."

That's seems a pretty astute
observation for somebody

who's never had a legal problem.

Cleary said he never
had any problems

with his pacemakers,

not that he never got sued.

Maybe we should get
the other side of the story.

Sorry. As far as I can
tell, there's nothing

currently pending against them.

A corporation that's
not getting sued?

There goes my faith in America.

Well, they could still be
knee-deep in litigation.

You can sue without
going to court?

In civil cases, the
courts don't get involved

until one of the parties
needs a judicial determination.

So until then, the
court has no record.

If the case is settled,
the court may never know.

We have no way of knowing

if BioNorm has ever been sued.

You could check with FDA.

They'll at least have
a record of complaints.

Sure, I've heard of them.

They make pacemakers,
insulin regulators.

Expanding daily.

Inside info, they're
goin' public any day.

Any problems with
those pacemakers?

Nothing dramatic.

Half a dozen preliminary
reports from doctors.

How about malfunctioning

I don't have any specifics.

They've never got past
the complaint stage.

Six pacemakers failed,
and you never followed up?

Excuse me, but
it was the doctors

who never followed up.

They file a complaint,
we send them the forms.

If the doctors don't respond,
we don't pursue the matter.

It's an election
year, gentlemen.

Everybody wants to cut
government spending.

Guess whose pocket
is the first to get picked?

Let me guess. You,
me, and everybody else.

We are understaffed, underpaid.

The whole country's
screaming about

silicone breast implants,

Halcion, irradiated food.

Six pacemakers that
may have malfunctioned,

that's not a high priority.

So you just let it go.

Cross your fingers,
hope no one else dies.

We are not a policing agency.

We are.

Suppose you just
give us the numbers

of those doctors who
filed the complaints?

I hate to be an iconoclast.

I thought you
were a cardiologist.

Some doctors actually
care about their patients.

Doctor, the FDA
says you filed a report

but never followed up
with the questionnaire.

Alan Stein.

At 35, he finished
his fourth marathon.

The only trouble was he
smoked two packs a day

and drank six cups of
black coffee before breakfast.

At 40, he developed
a heart flutter.

Irregular beating.

And at 45?

We'll never know.

I convinced him of the
benefits of clean living,

implanted a pacemaker.

He should have lived to 80.

But his BioNorm
pacemaker misfired.

BioNorm bought your silence?

Tracy, Alan's wife,
and his 4-year-old, Ben,

they needed the money.

How much money did Tracy need?

$250,000. With a caveat.

I play Ralph Nader,
she gets nada.

But maybe a few other people

would have been
alive, right, Doctor?

All six doctors had filed
complaints with the FDA.

All of their patients died

with BioNorm
pacemakers in their chests.

All the survivors signed
settlement agreements.

Which conveniently contain
non-disclosure statements.

Willie Sutton wasn't so
good at covering his tracks.

Seven dead.

We could be talking
about mass murder here.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
They got sued, they settled.

Doesn't mean they're
out killing people.

Yeah, well, that's how I
felt till Cleary lied to us.

He said he'd never
had any trouble.

Tell a little lie,
tell a big one.

Take it from me, Cleary
is covering something.

You got 24 to
find out what it is.

I wanted to leave a company
worth something to my son.

Sue me.

No, we have
something else in mind.

I already told
you, I didn't want

the bad press. $50,000
was well worth it.

Cut the crap, Mr. Cleary.

We know about the other cases.

This one's different.

All right, all right,

we tried to take
care of it ourselves.

We never sold a pacemaker
to the Martinez boy.

It sure as hell said "BioNorm."

No, Dad said we didn't sell it,

not that we didn't make it.

When Fischel served the papers,

I compared the serial numbers
to the one in the complaint.

We keep records, in
case there's a recall.

We sold that particular device

to a Dr. Evelyn Stark

for her patient Ethel Barnet.

And it got into Roberto
Martinez by magic?

Paper isn't the only thing

being recycled
these days, Detective.

Mother of God.

Are you saying the boy
had a used pacemaker?

Ah, the cheap bastards.

They lose a big Nassau
on the golf course

on Wednesday afternoon,

Thursday they try to make it up

selling second-hand goods.

You got nothing out of it?

Sure. The start of
an ulcer, a heartburn.

But why the offer
to Mrs. Martinez?

Well, we thought we'd go public.

We didn't want it out

because people might
think we were involved.

Now that wouldn't look very
good on our offering memorandum.

We're doing our best to
find the guy who's doing this.

I talked to
Dr. Stark personally.

No comment.

Let me guess. She
talked to a lawyer.

That's great. That's great.

No comment.

Translation: I
have nothing to say.

Under advice of counsel?

You blame me?

Cleary calls up
ranting and raving

about an 18-year-old
boy I've never heard of.

Tells me if his
company goes down,

I'm going down with it.

You never heard
of Roberto Martinez?

At the time of his death,

he was found wearing a pacemaker

you had implanted
in a Mrs. Barnet.

Ethel Barnet?

I can't help you.

Oh, what in hell
is this, Doctor?

A patient kicks, and
you scavenge for parts?

Now these degrees
are supposed to do more

than buy you a Benz.

For your information, Detective,

Mrs. Barnet is alive
and living in Short Hills.

Without her pacemaker?

With a new pacemaker.
It's called progress.

Alden Little
Pharmaceuticals came up

with a programmable device

that was better suited
to Mrs. Barnet's needs.

No, I'm not interested in that.

What about the old one?

I donated it to Manhattan Med.

Medical schools
are always looking

for pacemakers as
teaching devices.

There's a lot of new
scavengers born every year.

God, I know that I'm
saying more than I should.

That pacemaker
had a five-year life.

Ethel used it for three years.

I really thought
that I was helping.

Sweeney's delight.

Diseased livers,
kidneys, gall bladders,

whatever you want.

What about pacemakers?

Right here.

Go through about 25
of these each semester.

That's for a cardiology
class of maybe 12.

These baby De Bakeys

never seem to get
it right the first time.

They all make it into class?

Sure. Where else they gonna go?

Rumors. Something
about a black market.

I got work to do.

You may also have time to serve.

Look, six years down the road,

these punks get their MD plates

and they double-park
their 'vettes

while they're having
their bagels and coffee.

Me? My transmission goes out,

the kid needs braces.

I needed a couple
of extra bucks, okay?

Who's it gonna hurt?

You'd be surprised.

Selling school property.

Minimum, that's what, larceny?

Hey, we get a lot of
donations here, pal.

Not all of them are fit for use,

if you know what I mean.

Wait a minute.
You sell the rejects?

Hey, who'd you
sell it to, Billy?

Salesman. Uh, Jeff Suiter.

Uh, seemed like a nice guy.

Throws me a couple
of hundred, uh,

tells me we're not
breaking any laws.

Where can we find Mr. Suiter?

Uh, he's a detail man.

Uh, an independent.

Uh, deals goods for
half a dozen companies.

Look, I only did it
a couple of times.

Yeah, right.

Mum wanted a doctor.

Only, little Jeffrey
was more interested

in orgasms than
organic chemistry.

But you can't escape
the wrath of motherhood

so I spent four forgettable
years south of the border.

You're a doctor?

I graduated from
medical school, yeah.

El Doctoro, no way.
Never passed the Board.

Seems like you did all right.

Well, Mum went into
labor under a lucky star.

No offices, no nurses,
no malpractice premiums.

Just a small warehouse downtown.

I keep six figures per,

hawking medical products
for up-and-comers.

I think you mean used
products, don't you?

New, used. Doesn't matter to me.

Maybe it matters
to the consumer.

A kid died because
of one of your retreads.

I think they call that
"assumption of risk."

He knew you were selling
him second-hand goods?

If I didn't tell him, I'd
be breaking the law.

Look, I recondition
them, I sterilize them.

Mayo Clinic couldn't
tell the difference.

You're telling me this is legal?

Nobody likes it,
but the legislature

never got around
to making it illegal.

Too busy debating
the pooper-scooper law.

As long as the purchaser
knew what he was getting,

it's all kosher.

And if the purchaser
didn't know?

It's fraud.

If he didn't know,
and it killed him?

Could be depraved indifference.

Maybe the seller's
guilty of murder two.


the purchaser is
unavailable for questioning.

But the mother isn't.

Before Roberto was
born, we only prayed

that he'd be healthy and happy.

Our prayers were half-answered.

My sister's son
was two years older.

Roberto wore his
shoes and his dungarees.

But when it came
to my son's health,

I wanted the best.

So you didn't know

that he was getting
a used pacemaker?

We're poor. We're not
stupid and uncaring.

Dr. Hellems...

Killed Roberto.

Mr. Fischel was right.

For the wrong reason, yes.

Yes. I knew.

So, what is it, kickbacks?

Mrs. Martinez said
you never told her.

She had no medical
insurance, no money.

I did what I thought was best.

Well, you're just a
regular Dr. Schweitzer.

I happen to be a
very good doctor.

I do not appreciate...

Every day you see an article

about doctors inflating costs.

We're crooks. We're the enemy.

I tried to save the
woman some money

and keep her son alive.

Well, there were
always the drugs.

We've been through that.

I did what was in
the best interests

of my patient.

Well, it looks like
you did wrong.

No reason that pacemaker
should have failed.

Why? Because Suiter said so?

Because I tested it myself.

That model pacemaker
has a life of five years.

The expiration date
on the battery was

three years from now.

I did not do anything wrong.

Then why the sealed lips
the first time we came here?

Mrs. Martinez's lawyer

had already started to
drag me through court.

Did you want me to
put bullets in his gun?

Hellems knew what he was buying,

so Suiter's in the clear.

Maybe not.

Here, you want one?

Come on, these are
very good for you.

No, I'll stick with what
Mother Nature gave me.


This pacemaker had
a life of five years.

That first
cardiologist, Dr. Stark,

said it was in Mrs.
Barnet for three years.

That's right. And Hellems said

that when he
implanted it in Roberto,

it had three years
left till expiration.

How's your arithmetic?

I know that three plus
three equals murder two.

Last year we paid the bum
$130,000 in commissions.

Still he's picking our pockets.

The expiration date, please?

Here we go.

Oh, well, no wonder
the kid's dead.

Expiration date, last December.

I mean, that's malpractice.

The doctor who implanted...

Didn't know.

What do you mean,

Suiter changed
the expiration date?

That's exactly what I mean.

That stupid bastard
killed the boy.

Gentlemen, don't get up.

All that's missing is a
hunchback named Igor.

What the hell's
the... Can I help you?

Matter of fact, you can.

Turn around, put
your hands together.

Jeffrey Suiter,
you're under arrest

for the murder of
Roberto Martinez.

You have the right
to remain silent.

Anything you do say can
and will be used against you

in a court of law.

I want to see my lawyer.

I'm shocked.

"Docket Number 594223.

"People v. Jeffrey Suiter.

"Charges are murder
in the second degree,

grand larceny in
the third degree."

The charges are
bogus, Your Honor.

The state is wasting
the court's time.

I'm grateful for your
concern, Ms. Adler.

Does your client
wish to make a plea?

Uh, not guilty, Your Honor.

Color me surprised.

Mr. Robinette?

Request bail of $250,000.

Now, Ms. Adler,
why don't you tell me

all about the unconscionability
of the state's position.

My client has a business
to run, Your Honor.

He works on commission.

Risk of flight is
less than minimal.

Personally, I can't
understand why anyone

would want to
leave our fair city.

Bail is set at
$100,000, cash or bond.

Man's creativity

expands proportionately
to his greed.

Stone's Law?

No one ever went Chapter 11

scamming his
neighbor out of a buck.

Used pacemakers. God forgive us.

And an attorney's creativity
expands geometrically

to the heinousness
of his client's crime.

Adler's moving to
quash the indictment.

Says we failed to present
evidence of causation.

I like my law better than yours.

No one is disputing the fact

that the pacemaker

And I'm certainly not arguing

that the malfunction
didn't cause

Roberto Martinez's death.

Mr. Suiter changed
the expiration date.

Neither the doctor nor
the patient were informed.

Thank you for the
play-by-play, Ben,

but if you'd read my papers,

you'd see I'm talking
about cause and effect.

Or rather, the lack thereof.

The boy died.

But not because
the battery failed.

Wait, was the gizmo
on the fritz or not?

If I may, Your Honor.

Ms. Kenny's with the FDA.

She examined the
pacemaker in question.

Ms. Kenny?

Nothing lasts forever.

We require expiration
dates on pacemakers

to prevent overuse of batteries.

In real life, that little
rabbit with the drum

eventually goes kaput.

Please, Ms. Adler.

The date on the device
earmarks battery life

and nothing else.

Is there a point to this?

Mr. Martinez's
pacemaker failed, yes,

but not because
the battery was dead.

It failed because the leads,

the wires that get
woven into the heart,

were corroded.

The battery sent
the proper current.

The heart never received it.

This corrosion,

could it have been the
result of the recycling?

No, no.

Mr. Suiter should have seen

that those leads were corroded.

This isn't a car
battery, Mr. Stone.

These are very delicate wires.

Sometimes corrosion is
evident on visual inspection,

but with this particular device,

you would have to
run conductivity tests.

And if he didn't
run those tests,

then he was reckless.

I've surveyed the industry.

Not one manufacturer
runs conductivity tests

in the normal
course of business.

Wait a minute.

This thing worked
for three years

in the Barnet woman?

That is no indication.

When a corroded
lead will malfunction

is at best a crap-shoot.

The bottom line is

my client's behavior was not

the cause-in-fact
of Roberto's death.

He changed the dates.

So we'll plead to fraud.

Your Honor, given some time...

Give it up, Ben.

You can't fight with the FDA.

I'm dismissing

with respect to the
murder charges.

You come up with something else,

feel free to re-indict.

He's playing three-card
Monte with people's hearts,

and the best we can do is fraud.

Suiter is going to
enter a guilty plea.

A lenient judge,
two years, tops.

Our expert confirmed
the FDA's findings.

The corrosion was
unrelated to the recycling.

Yeah. Now, are you
saying that these wires

were bad to begin with?

No way of telling.

I see.

Well, if it was a
manufacturing defect,

if the pacemaker
was originally sold

with defective leads,

we just might have a
case against BioNorm.

A civil case.

We've got one bad apple.

At most, it's negligence.

Not necessarily.

We know that BioNorm
settled at least six other suits.

Find out if those other
apples had corroded wires.

When I was a kid,

I used to look up
at buildings like this

and dream about meeting a prince

and living in a penthouse.

My prince showed
up, Mr. Robinette.

His name was BioNorm.

I'm sorry, but there is no way

that I'm going to turn
back into being a frog.

Part of your settlement was

a non-disclosure agreement?


I keep quiet, I keep all this.

The terms of your settlement
may be covering up a crime.

So you're going to
arrest me for obstruction?

I dated an attorney
for three years.

Look, all I know

is that my dad's
pacemaker didn't work.

I don't even know
what a lead is.

Your father died, and
you didn't care why?

My dad was no hero, okay?

The best thing he
ever did was to die

with one of those gizmos
attached to his ticker.

I don't know about you,

but I like Park Avenue

a hell of a lot more
than Canarsie.

One day, a man from
BioNorm shows up.

Offers me $250,000.

I settle faster than
you can say "gold card."

Excuse me, Mr. Stone?

This just came in for you.

Talked to all six families.

All the pacemakers
were purchased

around the same
time. They all failed.

Because of corroded leads?

Nobody ever pinpointed why.

The lawsuits were settled

before anybody checked them out.

Oh, sure, every good lawyer
always files a complaint

before he knows what
the case is all about.

BioNorm paid almost
$2 million in hush money.

Makes you think they
had something to hide.

If it was the knowledge
of corroded leads

then they were acting
with depraved indifference

to human life,

and that's seven
counts of murder two.

Tough to prove.

It's gonna take a smoking gun.

Let's find one.

O.P.P. Other people's parts.

We don't really
manufacture anything.

We assemble, we package,
we market the hell out of it.

Where do you get the leads?

Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong,

whoever's the
flavor of the month.

Four years ago?

I had eggs over
easy with sausage.

Anything before that, I'd
have to consult my diary.

I assume the company keeps one?

You'd have to talk to
the purchasing agent.

Four years ago,
that'd be Mrs. Cleary.

The chairman's wife?

Time was this was a mum-and-pop.

You requested a
new typewriter ribbon,

you got it the same century.

Yeah, Mum was

the VP in charge of
purchasing back then.

That was the good
old days, she calls it.

I guess the, uh, view on
the way up the mountain

is a lot better than
the view from the top.

When did she leave the job?

A couple or three years ago.

Dad thought that

she ought to enjoy
the fruits of his labor.

My guess is that he thought
she was out of her league

as soon as we got heavy
into medical technology.

You didn't always
make pacemakers?

We used to be called
the Ebbets Company.

Grandpa was a Dodger fan.

Your dad inherited the company?

No, my mum.

See, her dad started the company

when he was still
at Erasmus Hall.

He, uh, fixed radios
in his bedroom.

Then he graduated,
got into manufacturing.

About the most
sophisticated product

was, uh, an alarm
with a snooze button.

A far cry from pacemakers.

No, no, see, that was all Dad.

See, uh, he married
Mum, moved the company

across the river,
changed the name.

Boom! We're grossing
$40 million a year.

Not bad for a hash-slinger's son

with an MBA from City College.

Uh, no, see, uh,

back then we weren't
buying wholesale.

I can't tell you who
manufactured the leads.

We bought them from an importer

called Asian Pacific Trading.

You're on the wrong
track, Mr. Robinette.

I was a techie on
the assembly line.

I checked all
those leads myself.

I assure you,
everything was fine.

Asian Pacific Trading.

A DBA for a guy named Ziesel.

You check him out?

Gone with the wind
three years ago.

No wonder Steven
Cleary was happy

to give you his name.

We'll never know who
manufactured the leads.

Unless some other
pacemaker company

purchased leads from
Asian Pacific Trading.

We may not be the biggest,

but there isn't one
medical journal

that doesn't rate our
pacemakers the best.

Do you manufacture
your own parts?

Well, everything essential.

The, uh, supporting
cast we contract out.

Like leads.

Yeah, we're high tech.
Why waste time and money

making little wires, you know?

This week we're buying
from Boyette in Akron.

Four years ago,
you ever do business

with an Asian Pacific Trading?

A crook named Ziesel.
Took me for $50,000.

New kid on the block.
Prices you could die for.

Imported, uh, leads
made in Singapore.

You know what company
manufactured those leads?

CJL Electronics.
Usually a good company.

What I figure happened was, uh,

a shipload of duds
landed stateside

and they pawned them off
on Asian Pacific for very little.

Then Ziesel dumped them on me.

Let me guess.
They were corroded.

Yeah, the shrink-wrapping stank.

Sea air will do it every time.

Most of them were useless.

Did you use the
ones that weren't?

Be like playing Russian roulette

with people's
lives. I tossed them.

We tried to sue Asian Pacific,

but they were
nowhere to be found.

And everyone in the business

knew these leads were defective?

Uh, Ziesel told me it
was a one-shot deal.

One package ship
filled with leads,

and I was the only one
worthy of his generosity.

Lucky me. The
only sucker in town.

Unfortunately, you weren't.

You mean someone
else bought them?

Worse. Someone else used them.

Five companies bought wire leads

imported by Asian
Pacific Trading.

One boatload, all garbage.

It was a scam. Each manufacturer

thought that he was the
only one getting the deal.


But BioNorm is the only company

that actually used

the corroded wires.

Depraved indifference.

Shut the bastards down.

It's not that easy.

Are you telling me
that Cleary didn't know

what was going on?

Roger Cleary

was all bottom lines
and check books.

He didn't even set foot
on the manufacturing floor.

Mrs. Cleary was the VP,

but she wouldn't know a
corroded lead from a toaster oven.

Somebody had to
authorize their use.

As far as we can tell,
it's Steven, the kid.

He's an electrical engineer.

He admitted doing
the inspection.

Only, at the time, he
was just a technician.

Hardly a high managerial agent.

So, under the statute,

we can't prosecute
the corporation.

Kid takes the blame,
the company's insulated.

Yeah, if I had
a cover like that,

I'd never catch cold.

So, Steven Cleary
did cause BioNorm

to act recklessly.

The corporate veil.

It protects them
from civil liability.

But that doesn't stretch
to our side of the street.

So let's indict him
for murder two.

Do you think that Steven Cleary

acted on his own?

Well, I'm gonna
shake the family tree,

see what falls out.

"Docket Number 581739.

"People of the State of New
York v. Steven R. Cleary.

Charge is murder in
the second degree."

Do we have a plea, gentlemen?

Motion to dismiss the
charges, Your Honor.

A little out of our

aren't we, Mr. Berkley?

Well, BioNorm has
been a corporate client

for the last decade.

We intend to institute

malicious prosecution charges.

Well, I'm happy for you.

But read the sign
on the door, sir.

This is the criminal part.

Only two choices on our menu.

Not guilty.

Application, Mr. Robinette?

Bail in the amount of
$250,000, Your Honor.

So be it.

This isn't even your party, Ben.

This is a corporate matter.

We should be in civil court.

When seven people
end up dead, Richard,

I send out engraved invitations.

Ah. He was working
on the assembly line,

for crying out loud.

There's no way
he's criminally liable.

He is if he caused a corporation

to perform a criminal act.

Penal code, section 2025.

Look, the kid was
six months out of MIT.

Now, do you actually think

that he had the
authority to cause

the corporation to do anything?

He okayed the use
of defective wires.

Seven people died.

All right, reality, fellows.

There is no way that
you are gonna get

the evidence of the
first six cases admitted.

And the jury will
see the seventh

as simple negligence. Period.

What you call simple negligence,

the jury may call depraved
indifference to human life

and the penal code calls that
murder in the second degree.

The sole reason
for the malfunction

was that the device
had corroded leads.

The electrical impulse
generated by the battery

never reached the boy's heart.

And in your expert opinion,

what was the cause
of the corrosion?

Most probably it was
exposure during shipping.

Thank you.

Now, tell me, Ms. Kenny,

in your role as FDA inspector,

did you approve
BioNorm's pacemaker?

I inspected the design proposal

and the prototype.
Both were first-rate.

First-rate. Did
you ever follow up?

Did you make random
checks, for example?

That's not feasible.

No, it's not feasible,

but it would be
prudent, wouldn't it?

In a perfect world, but...

Yes, but this isn't a perfect
world, is it, Ms. Kenny?

People make mistakes.
People make mistakes.

Even some kid working
on an assembly line

in a pacemaker factory.


Keep the meditations
to a minimum, Counselor.


No more questions.

We've been in the
pacemaker business

for over 20 years.

This Asian Pacific
Trading comes along

and offers to sell us wire leads

at a quarter of the price
of our usual supplier.

Well, what can I say?

Of course, I bought them.

Uh, did you use

these wire leads in
your pacemakers?

No way. They come off the boat,

I can see myself that
half of them are corroded.

And I haven't been
20/20 for 20 years.

But did you use the other half?

Absolutely not.

The components were garbage,
and that's where they went.

Wasn't that expensive?

Well, we're in the
medical business.

Market share's not
worth killing people.

How does your market share

compare to that of BioNorm's?

Theirs is growing. Ours isn't.

Would you explain that?

You buy cheap, you sell cheap.

They've been undercutting
our prices for years.

Thank you.

I suppose you read

the medical
journals, Mr. Miller?


Now, have you ever
read an article questioning

the quality of
BioNorm's products?


No. Do you have any
first-hand knowledge

of any of BioNorm's
instruments malfunctioning?

Other than this one, no.

No. So perhaps, sir,

BioNorm has a
better market share

because BioNorm
builds a better mousetrap.

I was purchasing agent
for BioNorm Industries

until the summer of 1988.

Then you were
responsible for purchasing

wire leads for BioNorm

from the Asian Pacific
Trading Company,

is that correct?

It's been a long time.

Do you recognize this document?

It-it's a purchase order
for 500 gross of wire leads

from Asian Pacific Trading.

Is that your signature?


I move to have this

admitted into
evidence, Your Honor.

Call it "People's 17."

Mrs. Cleary, did you
inspect the wire leads

that BioNorm purchased from
Asian Pacific Trading Company?

Only to determine if
the quantity was correct.

Anything more, I wouldn't know.

Thank you.

Our products are the
best on the market.

The settlement offer
was a business decision,

pure and simple.

It's more cost-effective to
nip a nuisance suit in the bud.

A nuisance?

A boy died

because your company
used defective components,

and you call it a nuisance?

I didn't know
anything about that.

Did you personally
inspect the leads, sir?

Well, it's not my
area of expertise.

You hired someone to do it?

That's right.

Whom did you hire
to inspect the leads

purchased from Asian
Pacific Trading Company?

No, sir.

No way you get me to help
you convict my own son.

Excuse me, sir, I
think you just did.


I inspected the
leads very carefully

in order to weed
out the bad ones.

And you feel you
have sufficient expertise

to distinguish good
leads from bad?

I'm an electrical engineer.

I've been dealing with
wires my whole life.

Your degree in
electrical engineering

is from MIT, isn't that right?

My parents started contributing

to the alumni fund
the day I was born.

And even with this expertise
and a very careful inspection,

a single bad wire got through.

Yeah, I'm... I'm sorry. I...

I, you know, I did my best.

I... I did everything that...

I have no idea
how this happened.

A single bad wire, Mr. Cleary?

What about the six other...


Your Honor, may we approach?

Your Honor, six other pacemakers

manufactured at the
same time all failed.

You have no proof of that.

They settled those cases

before anyone could
find out what happened

and if the jury knew this...

They'd be prejudiced.

Defense objection is sustained.

Berkley's good.

Good enough to convince the jury

it was an isolated mistake.

Steven Cleary looks
negligent, not criminal.

What Steven Cleary
did was criminal.

Why he did it...

He can go to hell
and back for his father,

but I'm not so sure
the reverse is true.

Unfortunately, Roger
Cleary is not on trial.

Maybe it's not so unfortunate.

Steven said his parents
started contributing

to the MIT alumni fund
the day he was born.

But he also said his father
went to City College at night.

Like mother, like son, huh?


Get Steven Cleary in here.

Well, so what if
she did go to MIT?

It has nothing to
do with your case.

You mean "cases."

Mrs. Cleary has a B.S.
in electrical engineering.

It certainly qualifies
her to inspect wire leads.

She's a Vice President

capable of
authorizing their use.

We're going after
the corporation

and your mother.

Well, if you're so
confident, why are we here?

Steven, we know your
mother put you up to this.

If you testify against her,
we can work something out.

Steven, let's go.

I'll have your mother arrested

when she arrives
at the courthouse.

People have died, Steven.

I know you didn't
look them in the eye

when you killed them,
but they're just as dead.


Why are you taking
the fall for her?

Look, my mother...

Steven, come on.


You'll testify against her?

No, I want a deal for
me and my mother.

I'll testify against my father.

We spent days sorting
out all the bad ones.

You and your mother?

We thought we got them all.

After the first person died,

we ran conductivity tests

on all the pacemakers
remaining in stock.

A lot of the wire leads

that we thought
were good, weren't.

We... we begged my father
to recall all the pacemakers

that used Asian Pacific leads.

And he refused?

He was too busy
building an empire.

You know, my father promised me

that all this would go away.

That I'd have the best lawyers.

He told me I owed
it to the family.

So, people are walking around

with time bombs in their chests.

And at least seven exploded.

You cut a deal?

Man one. He does the minimum.

Man one...


It's the only way he'll talk.
He turns on the mother,

the mother turns on the father.

His testimony alone is useless.

She denies it, we all go home.

She'll let him take
the rap alone?

Today is different
from yesterday.

He said she had knowledge.

Just because the boy says
she had technical knowledge,

doesn't mean that she knew
what the hell was going on.

The lawyer tells the jury,

the kid is a rat in a trap
looking for a scapegoat.

Steven Cleary is on the edge.

We push him a little harder.

Only he's already got a deal.

For the death of
Roberto Martinez.

We still got six other
deaths to deal with.

Let's get the boy and his
mother in here tomorrow morning.

This is crap.

You weren't invited, sir,
and unless you're a lawyer,

I'd appreciate it
if you keep quiet.

This is my family, my business.

If you had any proof,

you would have
charged them before.

Before, we didn't have
Steven's testimony

as to the cause
of the other deaths.

Five counts of murder two.

Minimum on each, 25 years.

Oh, my God!

He's bluffing.

He's trying to drive
a wedge between us.

Mrs. Cleary, I can
and I will prosecute

your son to the fullest
extent of the law.

I'm offering you a chance
to salvage your son's life.

We can beat this, Annette.

Don't let him destroy us.

You did that yourself,
Roger, four years ago.

If you confirm
Steven's testimony,

I can offer you both a deal.

God, Annette, think
of what this means.

My business, everything
I've worked for.

Your business? You were nothing.

My father...

Your father fixed toasters.

He worked for me.

That's right, Dad.
He worked for you.

We all worked for you.

And here we are.

Just look what
you've done for us.

Mrs. Cleary?

What do I need to do?


You couldn't keep
your mouth shut.

Two years in jail,

you could have walked
out a wealthy man.

All right, Mr. Stone,
I'm a businessman.

I've made deals before.

What are you offering?

I'm not a businessman,
Mr. Cleary.

I'm offering you nothing.

If he's smart, he pleads guilty

and begs the court
for mercy in sentencing.

Six counts of murder two?
Even with a lenient judge

he dies of old age and
still owes the state 50 years.

What amazes me is that

he almost convinced
his son to do 25-to-life.

Must have given
him quite a lecture

on family values.