CRISIS MANAGEMENT FOR A HEALTH-CARE COMPANY
A health-care client was barraged following a highly sensational news story released by the attorneys of an arrested young woman who claimed she was denied a post-rape medication. The incident skyrocketed to top national news shows such as “Nancy Grace” on CNN and in national newspapers across the country. EvClay represented the company to the media, the community, and to both pro-choice and pro-life activists.
A 21-year-old college student claimed she had been raped as she was leaving a parade near downtown Tampa. She called the police and was taken to a clinic where she was prescribed the “morning-after” pill. She took her first dose of the medication and was then arrested after officers discovered she had an outstanding warrant related to a grand-theft charge from four years prior.
While in jail, the woman was supposed to have received the second dose of her medication after 12 hours. The nurse on duty failed to give it to her. Original reports stated that the nurse had refused because of religious reasons. After an extensive and thorough investigation, the Sheriff’s office revealed that the nurse had denied the medication because she was never informed to do so, not for the reason previously reported.
Due to federal health regulations, the firm’s client was restrained from revealing most details regarding the woman’s medical status. This made it more challenging for EvClay to satisfy the media’s insistence on getting the client’s side of the story.
The firm set up a 24-hour hotline so that local and national media outlets could find out the latest information about the developing case.
EvClay worked with the client to develop a strategy, and prepared a media statement to clear their name of this negative controversy.
After the Sheriff’s office announced that the client’s nurse had never refused the medicine on religious grounds, the media attention slowly died down and lost its controversial national appeal in a matter of three days.
EvClay successfully represented the client to the media and provided a positive image during this highly disputed news story. Despite the negative and often vehement media reaction, the firm’s client retained its reputation for providing quality health care to correctional facilities across the United States.
CRISIS AND REPUTATION MANAGEMENT FOR TENNIS CHAMPION BORIS BECKER
The firm was hired by global law firm Baker & McKenzie to represent German tennis star Boris Becker with the media while he was seeking a separation from his wife. The goal was to combat rumors concerning his reputation and to maintain his image as an internationally recognized tennis champion.
While known worldwide as a tennis star, he is a revered celebrity in his native Germany.
A week after Becker filed for divorce, his wife flew to Miami, Florida with their two young sons and filed a petition in Miami-Dade County Family Court, sidestepping their prenuptial agreement which had entitled her to a single $2.5 million payoff. The pretrial hearing was broadcast live to Germany.
While Mrs. Becker’s attorney conducted daily press conferences at the steps of the courthouse to incite the media with rumors and sensational accusations, EvClay contacted reporters individually to give them exact details and facts about the case in a balanced and accurate manner.
The German press and local media covered every moment of the trial. EvClay implemented a 24-hour rumor control hotline to give the German press access to the latest details despite the time difference. The firm also provided photos and information regarding subsequent announcements.
The trial was eventually settled out of court. EvClay’s goal was successfully met represented Becker to the media and was able to provide a positive image during his highly publicized divorce trial. Despite the negative media reaction provoked by Mrs. Becker’s attorney, Becker was able to clear his name and retain his image as an international tennis champion.
L & J GENERAL: EL SEMBRADOR FOODS
The Florida Department of Agriculture visited L & J General and the company found itself embroiled in a product recall by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The FDA alleged that El Sembrador’s brand of frozen mamey was the cause of a typhoid outbreak in Palm Beach County.
EvClay was brought in to minimize the negative publicity and assist in repairing the company's reputation and credibility in the eyes of consumers and the business community.
The firm worked with the company to immediately set up a toll-free hotline to address consumer concerns, and advised the Hispanic media and English-speaking media in Florida, New York and California to publicize the toll-free number for consumers.
EvClay sent advisories to grocery stores to return all frozen mamey and arrange for refunds.
The firm advised the company to cooperate with health officials, hire an independent testing laboratory, and retain counsel in Washington, DC to assist in working with the FDA.
EvClay organized and held several press conferences to offer updates and disclose lab reports. The firm also made available important information, including that seven other brands of frozen mamey were involved, not only El Sembrador’s as claimed by the FDA.
The firm advised the company on various public relations actions to re-introduce mamey into the market once the company was cleared.
Reaching the consumer: In addition to positive Spanish and English-speaking media coverage following press briefings, EvClay also secured a positive national and international story which was broadcast live on Univision's “Despierta America.” The goal was achieved of reaching Hispanics with a story that profiled the family-owned company in a positive light. The media cooked and tasted El Sembrador foods, once again restoring the company's credibility.
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