Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Peter Rost: The Fencing Master

The Fencing Master

By Peter Rost, M.D.,

Yesterday I went through one of those experiences that will probably stay with me for a long time. I was deposed by Ronald Green, founder of Epstein, Becker & Green, one of the most famous employment law firms in the country. Mr. Green is the defense lawyer of record for Pfizer, a company I used to work for as a Vice President.

The reason Ronald Green deposed me was because I have sued Pfizer for wrongful termination. Mr. Green was most recently featured in the press when he defended Bill O’Reilly from Fox News, in a sexual harassment suit. Of course, I felt honored that Pfizer elected to hire this legendary lawyer to interrogate me.

When you file a civil action, the defendant has the right to depose you and get all the documents relevant to the case. At the deposition an attorney interrogates you and you have to answer truthfully to any and all questions.

Perhaps I should also mention that during my career in the drug industry I’ve been deposed a few times in the past. But I’d never experienced anything like this.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what was actually said, because there is a confidentiality order in place, since Pfizer doesn’t want you to know what happens at these proceedings.

What I can tell you, however, is my reaction to this particular proceeding and how that applies to some other important events. In fact, this gave me a new insight into what people in much more difficult situations go through.

I should probably also mention that I’m not someone who is easily impressed by anyone. And when I am impressed, that means someone has really done something quite noteworthy. And, I have to admit, I was impressed by Ronald Green.

This lawyer operated like a human sledgehammer. And I mean this in the most positive sense. His job was to get as much information from me as possible and to try to shoot holes in our case. He was the sledgehammer and I was the rock, so to say. And, he literally made my head spin; never experienced that before.

In short, I observed a master in action. And perhaps the analogy with a sledgehammer doesn’t fully convey Mr. Green’s abilities. At times it felt like standing in front of a fencing master, who was skillfully blocking, charging, and finally thrusting the tip of his foil blade into the soft tissue.

And, for that, I respect him.

You simply have to respect skill, talent, and good footwork, even if all those things are turned against you, and you are on the receiving end of a lethal weapon.

In a way, this may have been the perfect preparation for my upcoming trial; then again, I think Mr. Green actually held back. And while he ably lost his temper at the right moments, harshly and dramatically admonished me, and his face sometimes turned purple, he then immediately compose himself. I guess, the fact that the video camera was running may have somewhat tempered his performance.

Let me emphasize, I’m not writing this facetiously; I was impressed by Mr. Green. I may not like how he conducts himself during this litigation; I may not like when he gives the judge untruthful information, and how he takes advantage of the legal system, but, he is a master of his art. In fact, I can’t wait for our next encounter.

But all of this also made me realize something else.

Here I was, in a fancy conference room in central Manhattan. I was well fed—Mr. Green was a generous host who provided for lavish food in a separate room filled with beverages and various delicacies. I ate grapes the size of small mandarins and enjoyed baked goods that melted in my mouth. And although I used a fencing analogy, I wasn’t threatened by any physical harm and I knew that I would leave healthy and well at the end of the day. But in spite of all this, my head was spinning and at some points I had a hard time remembering facts related to events that had transpired only a few weeks earlier. Sometimes I hardly knew what to respond; a situation I’m very unused to.

And that made me appreciate something which you can’t really understand if you haven’t been through a skillfully orchestrated interrogation.

It made me realize that those people interrogated in the Abu Ghrabi prison in Iraq, the prisoners in damp cells in KGB's Ljubljanka prison in Russia, the suspected “terrorists” renditioned to foreign countries to be tortured, water boarded, and what not; they really don’t have a chance.

I can perfectly well understand how a man after a few days might admit to anything, confuse everything, lose his mind, and that utter determination and perseverance is needed to survive such an ordeal. It made me realize how little we really control ourselves, even when we think we are in charge of our emotions, and how easily we can be influenced even when we know that we are being manipulated.

And for that experience and learning I am grateful to Ronald Green of Epstein, Becker & Green—because he is truly a master of the fine art of interrogation.

This also bodes well for the upcoming trial. I think that we are virtually guaranteed fireworks that would make any Broadway show producer envious and I strongly recommend that you reserve your seat in advance. A copy of my complaint, case no. 05-CV-10384, filed in US District Court, Southern District of NY, can be viewed on Green, Savits & Lenzo's website:


Peter Rost, M.D., is a former Vice President of Pfizer. He became well known in 2004 when he emerged as the first drug company executive to speak out in favor of reimportation of drugs. He is the author of “The Whistleblower, Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman ,” He also writes the daily Dr. Peter Rost blog."

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news