David Shrager, a prominent Philadelphia trial lawyer known to many in the hemophilia/HIV community, died from lymphoma on November 28, 2005. He was 70 years old and had been living in Elkins Park, PA. In 1997 Shrager was lead attorney for a federal class-action suit brought against four pharmaceutical companies that supplied HIV-contaminated clotting factor in the 1980s. The plaintiffs were people with hemophilia who were infected with HIV through the use of these blood products. Spouses and children who subsequently contracted the disease, as well as specified family survivors, were also plaintiffs. In all, Shrager led approximately 6000 individuals to a $640 million settlement with the manufacturers.
Shrager’s career extended over four decades, during which time he represented consumers, injured healthcare workers and individuals. He was a founder and one-time president (1971) of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. In 1983 he was president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. He was partner in several firms. In the late 1980s he joined Shrager, Spivey & Sachs and stayed with them until his death this past fall.
People from both his professional and personal life cited examples of Shrager’s understated generosity and compassion. “David was a generous man,” said his law partner Wayne Spivey. “He cared for other people’s problems. If anyone had financial problems, he quietly helped them out.” His wife of 29 years, Joan Myerson Shrager added, “After being diagnosed with lymphoma 12 years ago, he set up an endowment for research and patient care at the University of Pennsylvania. He kept practicing law and never told anyone he was sick.”
Shrager is survived by his wife, his daughter Deborah, son Jay, stepsons Steven and Stuart Gold, four grandchildren, one brother and a sister.
Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 3, 2005