Legal of the Unborn, IVF and Lawyer PR Tips

  • 22 March, 2024
  • 1.98 GB

How do you make your case stand out in a world where the court of public opinion is almost as crucial as the courtroom? Rob Marcereau of MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers ventures into the intricate world of fertility law, focusing on the challenges surrounding in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Exposing the emotional and legal complexities of sperm mix-ups and lost embryos in IVF procedures, Rob shares his success in navigating these sensitive cases to achieve remarkable settlements. Additionally, Rob and Bob uncover the secrets behind generating buzz for your cases without spending a dime on publicists, revealing tactics from leveraging compelling stories to mastering media relations. 

Rob Marcereau, MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers


Bob Simon (00:07):
All right, listeners and viewers, welcome to this edition of the Justice Team Podcast on the Justice Team Network. Today, we are honored to have on Rob Marcereau. Macaroon?

Rob Marcereau (00:18):
Marcereau is just fine, thanks, Bob.

Bob Simon (00:20):
Rob Marcereau, we’re going to talk today about having publicity without a publicist, because Rob does a lot of high profile cases. We’re going to talk about some fertility law and infertility law and IVF stuff, which Rob is doing, which I find fascinating. Rob, thanks for coming on, bro.

Rob Marcereau (00:35):
Thanks, buddy. Glad to be here.

Bob Simon (00:37):
Yeah. So we’re filming from our Torrance HQ, but I know you frequent the Orange County HQ because I see ABC and some other people in there all the time with you.

Rob Marcereau (00:46):
Yeah, I do. I live in South County, OC, so I typically go to the OC flagship, but glad to be here. This office is beautiful.

Bob Simon (00:54):
Yeah. So one of the things, we have a lot of younger lawyers and lawyers in general that listen to this and they wonder, how do I always get my case out into the press? Do I have to have a set outside the courthouse with a bunch of people around, hire some reporters? How does that go down? Teach our listeners how they can get press?

Rob Marcereau (01:14):
Sure. I mean, first of all, you don’t need to go out and hire a publicist. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars a month to try to push out your cases. It’s really just as simple as, if you’ve got a case that’s compelling, you come up with a hook. I mean, at the end of the day, we’re trial lawyers, we’re storytellers. So you got to come up with a story, come up with a hook, and then think micro, don’t think macro. Try to start with just your local press.

For example, the case I just had, just filed against the Angels where my client, he was blinded by a ball that was thrown into the stands. I didn’t run right out and try to go to the LA Times or go to ABC News or anything like that. I found a reporter from the local paper, OC Register, who had done a story on a previous Angel’s case. I reached out-

Bob Simon (02:04):
How did you find that? They did a previous story?

Rob Marcereau (02:07):
I just Googled it, I Googled it. I had heard that there was another case that had been filed, I think it was by Rowley actually, Nick Rowley and Keith Bruno. So I found the reporter that reported on that story. I reached out directly and I explained in a couple of sentences why I thought this was a good story. He immediately reached out, he wanted to run with it, and I gave him an advanced copy of the complaint. Here’s the other thing, when you’re writing a complaint, do not use sterile, boring legalese. Tell a story.

Bob Simon (02:40):
Do you use ChatGPT to tell you that story?

Rob Marcereau (02:44):
Not yet, not yet, but yeah, you can get in trouble for that, but just use plain language. I embedded photos, I love embedding photos in the actual complaint.

Bob Simon (02:54):
You do.

Rob Marcereau (02:55):
Not enough people do that.

Bob Simon (02:57):
I always hear, whenever press reaches out to us about any case, they always want to see the complaint, always. No matter what, I want to see the complaint, I want to see the answer, that kind of stuff. So that’s interesting. So you sent over just a cold email, and did you attach the complaint or did they wait for them to ask?

Rob Marcereau (03:13):
I waited for them to ask, and then they did. Yeah, I sent him a complaint, and he ran with the story. Here’s the thing, once the OC, the local news agency ran with the story, it got picked up like wildfire. Next thing you know, I’m being interviewed by KCAL9 and the beautiful OC Justice HQ office.

Bob Simon (03:33):
Nice. Yeah, so that’s one tip you have for our listeners is hey, you have a, might be a newsworthy case. You reach out to a reporter, find a reporter that might be interested in that case. I also found there’s a lot of larger, like Law 360, they do a lot of law related stuff, you reach out to them. So who else in these cases, what other tips do you have to reach out for folks to get press?

Rob Marcereau (03:55):
Sure. Well, another thing that I’ve found is once you have a relationship with a reporter, then now you’ve got an ally in the press. I have a couple reporters both for TV and for newspapers who I’m their go-to now, and so they’re more receptive to running with stories on cases that I’ve got because I am a feeder for them. So it’s always good to cultivate relationships with local news, news folks, as well.

Another thing, a good idea to try to do is write articles. There are so many legal publications both online and written that are starving for content.

Bob Simon (04:41):
Yeah, for content.

Rob Marcereau (04:42):
Starving for it, and if you come up with an idea with a hook, most likely you’ll be able to find a home for that story if you just do a little bit of digging and you have a little bit of persistence. That’s a great way to get your name out there.

Bob Simon (04:57):
A good way too is I teasingly said ChatGPT, but you can use their feature to write a blog or article for you on a relevant new topic, then just change up some of the stuff, make it more personal to what you have and get it out there. Lawyers are sometimes too inundated or think it takes too long.

Rob Marcereau (05:15):
Absolutely. I will say, look, I’ve tried ChatGPT, not to write my briefs or not to do legal research for me, but it is a shortcut. If you supply it with enough information, it gives you just a starting point and then you can tweak it, you can edit it how you see fit. It’s a time saver if you use it as a tool, it’s really powerful.

Bob Simon (05:35):
Yeah, I think it gets you 70, 80% of the way there.

Rob Marcereau (05:39):

Bob Simon (05:39):
Which you got to be able to tweak it. Do you ever have that worry though, that whenever you’re putting something out there that is going to cast you or your client or your story, your case, in a negative light?

Rob Marcereau (05:48):
Yeah, I mean, you got to worry about that. The last interview that I had on, I think it was KCAL9, the reporter actually asked some pretty pointed questions to me. He was talking about, well, what about the fact that there’s a liability waiver on the back of the ticket? I mean, doesn’t that just absolve the Angels? You got to be prepared for that, think on your feet, and be ready to argue your case even at the interview stage.

Here’s another thing that you got to be really careful of. I almost never let my clients-

Bob Simon (06:20):
Yeah, they should never talk.

Rob Marcereau (06:21):
No, no.

Bob Simon (06:22):
Because that could be used against them.

Rob Marcereau (06:23):

Bob Simon (06:23):
We do a lot of post-verdict stuff, and we did a hard line of, same thing.

Rob Marcereau (06:27):
Yeah. I mean, because whatever you say, that can’t be direct. Your client can’t get cross-examined or crossed up on what you say, but once you put your client out there and they have them on tape, then you could potentially be in big trouble.

I mean, I remember that the classic blunder, this is a while back when that lawyer put Sandusky out up for interview. I mean, obviously it was just a train wreck anyway, but I mean, that guy just killed himself.

Bob Simon (06:55):
Yeah, and I think if you’re listening or watching and you have a celebrity client or issue, I mean, shit, that’ll get picked up as soon… If you file a complaint, TMZ has people there just waiting. TMZ is the one that as soon as they pick it up, everybody gets it.

Rob Marcereau (07:09):
Yeah, exactly.

Bob Simon (07:10):
I like to watch the comment section of those articles, it’s like a little focus group for your case.

Rob Marcereau (07:15):
It’s so funny you say that because I couldn’t help it. I try not to.

Bob Simon (07:19):
Oh, man.

Rob Marcereau (07:19):
I looked, yes, I looked at the YouTube comments, I looked at the comments, and they really run… On my last case, the Angels case, it really runs the gamut. I mean, it is, like you say, it’s like a focus group.

Bob Simon (07:29):
Well, I think a lot of people just assume in that case specifically that it was like a foul ball or something that you would anticipate. They didn’t realize it was actually somebody threw… a fan, unanticipating, got it thrown at them. It’s different.

Rob Marcereau (07:41):
Yeah. I mean, that was the point that I made to the news is that this wasn’t just a batted ball. This was a voluntary act by a player, and he just rifled it into the stands randomly. I mean, it is hard enough where it crushed this poor guy’s eyeball. [inaudible 00:07:58].

Bob Simon (07:57):
Different situation. Okay, so any other tips on not having a publicist? I mean, do you do any PR Newswire? What other stuff do you do?

Rob Marcereau (08:06):
I don’t think press releases are that effective. I don’t think they necessarily really get picked up. It’s a waste of money, it just goes into a hole. I think a much better way to do it is trying to reach out to local reporters or trying to get into any sort of legal publication you can, or now, Justice HQ is becoming a platform.

Bob Simon (08:26):
Yeah, we push it out there, but you can also, I go to the Daily Journal, go to these again, law periodicals to be able to help push it up. I think social media is a good tool for it as well.

Rob Marcereau (08:36):

Bob Simon (08:37):
You could even do, if you wanted do a little spend, you could do a targeted ad to lawyers just showing. You could pick lawyers on Facebook or Instagram and then just for your newsworthy thing, and it helps you get more cases and stuff like that.

Rob Marcereau (08:51):
That’s the thing. I mean, it’s not just marketing to the general public.

Bob Simon (08:53):

Rob Marcereau (08:54):
It’s marketing the niche area of other lawyers, and you can get a lot more bang for your buck doing that.

Bob Simon (08:59):
Yeah. Okay, so that’s thinking of another niche area for lawyers. We were discussing this before and I’m fascinated by it because my wife and I had a lot of infertility stuff. We did IVF, didn’t work and we adopted and ended up getting pregnant. We were on the other end, but you were talking about how you’ve carved out a niche for these infertility and fertility litigation.

Rob Marcereau (09:18):
Yeah, the first case I got was a couple of years ago. This poor couple were trying to get pregnant and ended up using IVF and they had a beautiful baby girl and everything was great, but they noticed as the years went by, she really didn’t look like either of them. In fact, these two parents were Caucasian. The people kept coming up to and saying, “Oh, did you adopt?” Because their daughter looked Asian. You try to tell yourself, you don’t want to think that the worst happened. So they tried to make excuses saying, oh, well, we had some people back in our aunt and uncle that looked a little bit different than us, maybe she takes after them. Well finally, they were getting so many comments from other people about that they thought she was adopted and this daughter was starting to feel alienated from it. They went on or 23andMe, one of those sites, and they found out sure enough, it was mom’s egg, but it was a different person’s sperm.

Bob Simon (10:28):
Wow, wow.

Rob Marcereau (10:29):
Yeah, devastating. So we-

Bob Simon (10:32):
That happened here in California?

Rob Marcereau (10:33):
That happened right here in Orange County. Well, we’re in-

Bob Simon (10:36):
[inaudible 00:10:37].

Rob Marcereau (10:37):
Yeah, it happened in Orange County.

Bob Simon (10:38):
Yeah, so how did you find this case where there was an IVF issue or a mix-up? How did that go down?

Rob Marcereau (10:47):
It was a referral to me by another lawyer and that lawyer actually, because of MICRA and MedMal, those are difficult cases, and they just didn’t think that there was going to be that much to it because I mean, at the time, damages were capped at 259 for general damages.

Bob Simon (11:04):
Yeah, so medical malpractice California is capped at 250,000, but it’s now going up incrementally. But why is that not considered medical malpractice?

Rob Marcereau (11:14):
Well, that’s the thing. The angle that we took is we looked at it as not medical malpractice, but medical battery, because there was a stranger’s sperm taken and implanted into this woman. This was actually an IUI.

Bob Simon (11:27):
Not bad enough, a stranger’s sperm.

Rob Marcereau (11:28):
Exactly. It was, the woman felt violated. It was akin to like a medical sexual assault almost, and that’s the way we framed it. Also-

Bob Simon (11:38):
I mean, that is. They injected somebody else’s sperm into her egg.

Rob Marcereau (11:42):
Yeah, it’s a violation. I mean, she’s horrified and her husband was horrified, obviously. We also characterized it as potentially a cover-up because after the fact, we believe based on our research and initial discovery, that this was something that would’ve been discovered if not beforehand, after the fact.

Bob Simon (12:04):
So, God, how prevalent is this?

Rob Marcereau (12:08):
Well, more than people think. There have been some cases where it’s been publicized because they get filed, but a lot of these cases get settled pre-lit with confidentiality clauses, of course.

Bob Simon (12:20):
Yeah, they don’t want that out there, I would assume.

Rob Marcereau (12:21):
No, exactly, exactly. so-

Bob Simon (12:23):
But have your settlements been capped at the 250?

Rob Marcereau (12:26):
Well, we’ve been fortunate because we’ve been able to argue about different theories of liability around the microcaps, we’ve actually been able to settle for, I mean, ten X micro. The last case we settled was 2.5

Bob Simon (12:39):
Wow. I didn’t know anybody else was handling cases like that.

Rob Marcereau (12:43):
Well, it’s a real niche area. We’ve gotten so many now, and it’s not just sperm mix-ups, it’s also, we have a case where there was some faulty genetic testing where they should have caught this issue that they didn’t, and a child was born with just crippling genetic defects. We just settled that case for policy limits. There’s also disclosure issues. Sometimes patients who are sperm or egg donors, their information gets wrongfully disclosed and then parents or kids end up reaching out to them after the fact when they had thought they were guaranteed anonymity. There’s lost embryos, we hear about these cases where there’s freezer failures.

Bob Simon (13:21):

Rob Marcereau (13:21):
So there’s a lot of different aspects.

Bob Simon (13:23):
But are these things that, are these rights that people waive whenever they come in? Do they sign any disclosures that say if this happens, it’s-

Rob Marcereau (13:33):
I mean, some of them do, but to be honest, those aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. There are, there’s HIPAA laws, obviously. There’s a California privacy laws that specifically relate to keeping medical information confidential.

Bob Simon (13:47):

Rob Marcereau (13:47):
There’s statutory damages, there’s attorney’s fees, rights. So because of just that first case that set this all in motion for us, I’ve currently got about a dozen of these different fertility cases. So many cases now that I’m partnered up with medical malpractice lawyer extraordinaire, Ben Ikuta. He and I have formed our own separate firm called the Fertility Law Group, and now we’re handling those cases exclusively. We’re actually doing a nationwide rollout.

Bob Simon (14:19):
Wow, I didn’t realize that was such a big thing. But are these outfits, I assume because they’re very expensive. My wife and I go through it. It’s all cash, not covered by insurance, sometimes some blood work, but that’s it. So these people got to be, have a lot of cash they’re sitting on.

Rob Marcereau (14:34):
They’re rolling in it. I mean, look, they’ve all got insurance, but more than anything, these folks, it really is a cash cow, and it’s so reputational based. There’s a big incentive for these different outfits to try to settle these things without getting negative publicity.

Bob Simon (14:52):
Wow, I didn’t even know that that was out there. So for listeners out there, what are some things, cases that they may be looking for? Well, how do listeners find you? What’s the best way?

Rob Marcereau (15:03):
They can go to the website, it’s So that’s probably the easiest way, easiest thing to remember. We’re happy to talk to people. These are complicated cases, but we’ve got the blueprint now of how to handle them, we’ve run it through it quite a bit. MICRA is still a big issue. Here’s another thing, you can’t make a claim if a child’s born healthy, maybe if there’s a sperm mix up or an egg mix up or a wrong embryo. If the child’s born healthy you can’t, in California, make a claim for wrongful life. So the only way that you can get damages for that child is if there’s some sort of physical injury that’s going to require care and treatment over the course of that kid’s lifetime. You can’t get general damages, you can’t get pain and suffering on behalf of the child at least, who was born, which makes sense. They wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for what happened, so.

Bob Simon (15:58):
Yeah, but the claim was with the parents for being defrauded, the mom being battered.

Rob Marcereau (16:03):
Correct, correct.

Bob Simon (16:04):
All that kind of stuff.

Rob Marcereau (16:05):
Although I will say, they always, always, always, even though there is no claim for wrongful life, they still always are going to want a release on behalf of the kids. So you got to do a minor’s comp. You got to do that whole thing

Bob Simon (16:15):
So what are the fact patterns here? We brought up the wrong donor situation with IVF. What are the other types of cases we should be looking for?

Rob Marcereau (16:24):
Well, the wrong sperm, that’s a big one. Lost embryos. People will have their embryos frozen. Sometimes people, for whatever reason want to preserve that chance to have kids later in life. We find that there’s failures. There’s either equipment failures or sometimes they’ll just give their embryos away, either accidentally or sometimes purposefully. There’s the same thing with eggs. People have stored eggs, the same thing can happen there. Botched genetic testing.

Bob Simon (17:01):

Rob Marcereau (17:01):
We just had a case where it’s really tragic. This couple wanted to have a baby boy because they already had a girl and they were having trouble conceiving, and they wanted to make sure they had a boy. So they went to IVF, thousands and thousands of dollars, and these aren’t wealthy people. They did a genetic test as they’re supposed to on the mom on the screening, and they found that she was a carrier of this pretty rare genetic disorder that if the dad also had it, there was a large chance that this child would be born with this defect that actually made the child a hermaphrodite without either sex.

So the medical records show that the woman had this disorder and it was flagged and so they needed to test dad, and they just ignored it. They never told her about it. They never tested dad. Sure enough-

Bob Simon (17:53):
This is tragic.

Rob Marcereau (17:54):
It’s horrible. So we had this beautiful kid who was born-

Bob Simon (18:01):
Without any sex organs.

Rob Marcereau (18:02):
Without any, well, I mean it genetically a male, but did not have male genitalia. Really, it was tragic.

Bob Simon (18:08):
That’s sad.

Rob Marcereau (18:09):
It’s really sad.

Bob Simon (18:10):
That’s one of the situations where there’s probably a lot of medical care over life for that individual.

Rob Marcereau (18:14):
Well, yeah. That was the challenge in that case where we got geneticists, we got life care planners, and we put together a life care plan showing that this child was going to need mental health, was going to need hormone therapy, was going to need either gender affirmation or gender reassignment surgery down the road. So we were able to put up a life care plan, because initially when we brought this to the fertility clinic and the defense lawyer got all of it, he said, well, what are your damages? I mean, you’re capped. There was no fear there. But once we showed that, no, no, no, there’s damages that we can whiteboard here. They-

Bob Simon (18:50):
Isn’t that a shame whenever they’re relying on, well, there’s no damages. I mean, these guys fucked up terribly and they’re like, well, not that bad because you can’t prove your damages. Guys, what the hell?

Rob Marcereau (19:00):
That’s the bullshit with med mal cases. I mean, there’s just MICRA is just such a shield.

Bob Simon (19:07):
Well, it’s going to cost you 100,000 to litigate. You’re capped to 250, so F off. That’s what it is.

Rob Marcereau (19:13):
Exactly, exactly. So that’s why you have to get creative and you got to spend the time and think outside the box and be able to put up general damages to approximate what you should be getting anyway, because it’s such a shitty law.

Bob Simon (19:26):
Yep. I don’t want to end on the sad sperm issue, but I think that’s how we’re going to end this episode. I’m really thinking differently about sperm use. I think I’m going to have a deep reflection later about that.

Rob Marcereau (19:39):

Bob Simon (19:40):
So yeah, thank you, Rob, for coming on about sperm and media. I think we should call this one the public sperm.

Rob Marcereau (19:48):
Oh my gosh, okay. We might want to submit that to ChatGPT and see if we can come up with something better.

Bob Simon (19:54):
Something better. Well, it has its tools, 80% of the way there. Well, Rob, thanks for coming on. Go to, is it IV Law?

Rob Marcereau (20:01):

Bob Simon (20:03):, very niche area. You can reach out to Rob if you have any questions about getting media for your cases, always go to to reach out, click that tab. I’ll get any questions or concerns answered for you. Rob, thanks for coming on. Appreciate you, brother.

Rob Marcereau (20:16):
Thanks, buddy.

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