|David Shrager, 70, Lifelong Advocate for Consumers and Patients
BY ANDY GREENBERG
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DAVID SHRAGER C’57 L’60, attorney, activist, and judge, whose lifelong commitment to justice often pitted him against corporate goliaths in class action lawsuits, died last December of lymphoma at the age of 70. Shrager is perhaps most widely remembered for representing 13-year-old Michael Moses Ward, a survivor of the disastrous 1985 police raid on the MOVE compound in West Philadelphia. Ward’s mother, a member of MOVE’s “back-to-nature” extremist organization, was killed in the raid, and Ward suffered severe burns. After obtaining a lifetime settlement for the young man, Shrager continued to serve as his mentor and friend, working to reintroduce him into the mainstream after years of isolation in the radicals’ compound.
The sensational MOVE case was the exception rather than the rule for Shrager’s career. As managing partner and founder of Philadelphia-based Shrager, Spivey & Sachs, his practice focused on medical malpractice, product liability, and consumer rights and was defined by several groundbreaking class actions. In 1997, Shrager led a lawsuit against four pharmaceutical companies who had failed to properly screen blood donations, distributing HIV-contaminated blood-clotting products that infected more than 6,000 hemophiliacs. The suit was settled for $640 million, and is widely credited with improving the safety regulations for blood donation.