The WSJ’s coverage of Theranos and the company attorney
James B. Stewart of The New York Times profiles well-known attorney David Boies, who represented blood testing company Theranos when it was beginning to receive aggressive coverage from The Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou, and examined the lawyer’s tactics.
Stewart writes, “Mr. Carreyrou insists that the letter did ‘explicitly threaten’ a lawsuit. Mr. Boies denies that, but he seems to be splitting hairs. The letter demands that Mr. Carreyrou and The Journal save all their notes and records, which ‘would doubtless be highly relevant in any lawsuit’ — and then cites two cases as precedent. Mr. Boies either violated his own policy regarding media lawsuits, or came precariously close to doing so.
“When I pressed Mr. Boies on this, the litigator in him wouldn’t give an inch. ‘You don’t write a 20-plus-page letter to threaten someone,’ he said. ‘I could do that in one paragraph. You write that kind of letter to persuade. You may point out things that you believe are inaccurate or reckless and that could support a lawsuit. But it’s not a threat to sue.’
“He added: ‘The question is, can you make the story better, more accurate, more favorable to your client? If so, you’re being an effective advocate.’
“From Mr. Boies’s point of view, his approach worked. Among the facts that Mr. Carreyrou had uncovered, and that didn’t appear in the article, was Ms. Holmes’s long-running romantic relationship with Ramesh Balwani, Theranos’s president.”
Read more here.