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LOS ANGELES � Karen Barth Menzies, a leading personal injury lawyer who has sued pharmaceutical companies over the risks of suicide and violence in antidepressants, has left Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Goldman & Menzies after 12 years to join Newport Beach, Calif.-based Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson. Menzies, who has testified before the Food and Drug Administration and met with Congressional officials on the risks of antidepressants, served as lead counsel in the national multidistrict litigation involving the withdrawal effects of Paxil. She also has filed numerous lawsuits over similar risks in other types of antidepressants. Menzies said she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work at Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson. “I love the idea of getting involved with more types of cases,” she said. “And being able to be mentored by Mark Robinson I thought was a great career opportunity.” Last year, Robinson obtained a $51 million verdict in the first federal jury case against Merck & Co. Inc. involving Vioxx. Most recently, Menzies has served as the lead trial lawyer in cases alleging that the use of antidepressants causes birth defects. Those cases have since ballooned, prompting the firm to form a joint venture with Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson, said Michael Baum, managing partner of Baum Hedlund. “The number and volume of birth defect cases became quite large, and it was becoming a project,” he said. “But we could do a joint venture on those cases and have the two firms work together and create a litigation team on those cases.” Baum Hedlund has filed 50 cases alleging various antidepressants caused birth defects, with another 100 potential cases in the wings, Baum said. The joint venture would allow both firms to share staff, documents and legal fees from the cases. Menzies is joining Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson with fellow associate, Jennifer Liakos. With Menzies’ departure, Baum Hedlund plans to change its name, Baum said. The name, however, has yet to be decided.

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