Video: Crazy Customers?

msnbc.com
updated 3/27/2006 2:19:23 PM ET 2006-03-27T19:19:23

Walgreen’s patrons are suing the pharmacy chain because they claim the staff labeled some customers, “crazy,” others “psycho” and still more “shady” in the nationwide database.  Those words appeared on slips stapled to the prescription bags. 

Cathy Lively, an attorney for these customers, said that the less than flattering comments caused her clients emotional distress, even a panic attack. 

Lively joined Tucker Carlson, on the ‘Situation’ to explain her case.

To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, ‘SITUATION’:  Now, I can understand why these patrons had their feelings hurt, but having your feelings hurt, you know, doesn’t entitle you doesn’t entitle you to a cash payout.  How exactly are these people deserving of money from Walgreen’s?

CATHY LIVELY, ATTORNEY:  Well, you’ve got to look at the circumstances and exactly what happened.  Specifically, in the first suit that was filed with Ms.  Karp, this was an individual who was treated for depression and anxiety, had gone to Walgreen’s at the pharmacy, trusted the pharmacist to provide the medication, to dispense medication for her illness. 

Labeling her as psycho and, I would quote from the form, “She is really psycho,” labeling her as crazy, is a direct impact upon the actual condition upon which she was being treated.  It’s beyond having her feelings hurt. 

CARLSON:  I thought the condition for which she was being treated was being a little crazy.  I mean, I’m not saying that in a pejorative way.  But she’s going into a pharmacy to get medication for a mental disorder.  So it may not be a polite way to describe her; it may not be tactful, but she’s probably a little crazy, no?

LIVELY:  Well, I don’t think that crazy is deemed as a clinical term for which a pharmacist should be labeling somebody. 

CARLSON:  Nobody says it’s a clinical term.  I would never say something like that.  I think it’s rude and it’s mean, and I wouldn’t do it.  However, how far off base is it, really?  I mean, it’s not like they libeled her.  She does have a mental disorder. 

LIVELY:  But a mental disorder is not labeling somebody, again, in a medical them as crazy and psycho.  I would deem that to be a defamatory comment.  She has never been classified.  She is not psychotic.  She is not incompetent.  This is a woman who was treating for depression. 

CARLSON:  OK.

LIVELY:  She entrusted a pharmacy to provide the medication. 

CARLSON:  Did they?

LIVELY:  And this is what was on a form. 

CARLSON:  Well, did they provide the medication?

LIVELY:  They dispense the medication. 

CARLSON:  So I guess the principle here is you can’t call a person with a mental disorder crazy, or else you have to pay them lots of money. 

LIVELY:  Well, I don’t think that somebody in a professional environment should be deeming somebody as crazy and psycho.  It is certainly a derogatory term.  And from a clinical perspective, it can be very harmful. 

CARLSON:  But they didn’t diagnose her crazy.  They didn’t say, “My professional opinion is that you are crazy.”  It was two coworkers talking to each other, making fun of this woman, in a mean way, I’ll grant you that.  But they weren’t saying she’s clinically crazy. 

And you’re allowed to make fun of people.  I guess I was getting back to that.  You have a First Amendment right, in fact, to make fun of people.  You do.  You’re a lawyer; you know that.  So why should she be paid and how much should she be paid?  How much are you asking for on her behalf?

LIVELY:  That particular amount of damages is still being assessed, pending the outcome of her evaluation as well as her treatment that she received for that period of time. 

CARLSON:  What do you think, ballpark, $500, $1,000, more than that?

LIVELY:  I think we’re going to go up on that number. 

CARLSON:  OK, so a lot. 

LIVELY:  It will be a higher number, correct.  That is correct. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Do you think you’ll get it?

LIVELY:  Well, we will see if there’s a settlement or if we end up in a trial, what a jury would deem to be the appropriate damages. 

CARLSON:  And finally, are the Walgreen’s employees the very first people ever to make fun of this woman, to hurt her feelings, to say something unkind or cruel to her?  She’s never had that experience before? 

LIVELY:  I’m sure she has. 

CARLSON:  She’s suing other people for making fun of her?

LIVELY:  No, no.  She has not.  All three of the plaintiffs are dealing with the same issue, and it is derogatory comments that are made on their records by the pharmacy professionals, one of which we do now know how has been made by a pharmacist. 

CARLSON:  Boy, if derogatory comments turn out to be actionable, I will be bankrupt in about 20 minutes.

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