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A Tribute to Greg Madera


by Thad Adams, his friend and colleague

Greg Madera was my good friend. Greg had many good friends, but the way we became friends was somewhat unusual. We first met as adversaries. Back in the late 1980's I was representing an English baby clothes manufacturer and Greg was representing an American shoe manufacturer in a trademark opposition proceeding.

Greg and Audrey Madera

Greg and Audrey Madera

A French client of mine was sued by Velcro in New Hampshire, and not knowing any attorneys in New Hampshire to contact, I called Greg for a recommendation for local counsel. Greg and I ended up working together on this matter. It turned out well for my client, not so well for Velcro. We quickly became friends.

In the years that followed, through to last year when the Carotek case in New York finally ended, Greg and I always had at least one case we were working on together, usually as co-counsel. We were the Boston/Charlotte connection. Over the years I also had the occasion to meet and work with other Fish attorneys, such as Tim French, Heidi Harvey, Chuck Heiken and Peter Fasse. I must also mention here particularly Karen LaVita, who worked with Greg as his legal assistant for many years, a truly loyal friend as well as an exceptional legal assistant.

Greg’s story is not over. A new chapter has begun, where Greg, this solid, loyal, upright man, will rest in peace, and we will hold his memory ever green in our hearts.

Greg made many visits to Charlotte and usually stayed at our house in what came to be called and is still called “The Madera Suite.”

Greg was not a “character” if by that is meant “frivolous” or a “jokester.” He was smart, serious of purpose, and cared and thought deeply about his country, family, friends and the law. This is not to say that there were not “characteristics” that made Greg the unique person he was. He was a good dresser–nice suit, monogrammed shirt and cufflinks, but frequently topped off with a Red Sox or BC baseball cap with sunglasses propped on the brim, and a large red bandana stuffed in his hip pocket. He lugged around a large, heavy, overstuffed leather briefbag everywhere he went. His ballpoint pens always had the ends chewed off.

That was Greg.

It is a cliché that men always get dressed and are ready to go first, and have to wait for the women. In the Madera family, Audrey was the one who was ready first, and she would sometimes fume at the time it took Greg to get ready. One of Greg’s characteristics was that he was always on time, but always by a mere whisker.

That was Greg.

About 20 years ago Greg and I were in Europe for two weeks taking depositions in a large patent infringement case.

We finished a couple of days early, so we rented a car and drove back to Zurich through the Swiss Alps, doing some hiking and sightseeing in the Lauterbrunen Valley near Interlaken. The evening before our flight the next morning we stopped for the night at a small hotel in a rural area of Switzerland about 20 miles from Zurich. As we often did, we got up early the next morning and went for a run. We ran along a narrow, twisty farm track for about 2 miles, I stopped to go back but Greg, who was a much better runner than I was, kept going.

I ran the 2 miles back to the hotel, showered, changed — no Greg.

Had breakfast, knocked on his door — no Greg.

Packed and loaded the car — no Greg.

I kept looking at my watch to see if we could still make it to the airport in time for our flight. I was standing in the small gravel area in front of the hotel next to our car considering what to do next when a huge, blue, 18-wheeler-type beer truck pulled into the yard. Greg jumped down from cab. As he admitted, he had been so deep in thought about some case that he had gotten lost, and just kept running until he saw this beer truck. He showed his room key to the driver, who brought him back to the hotel. We made the flight with about 1 minute to spare. That was Greg.

When my wife Betty and I reflect over the many times we were together with Greg and Audrey, we are flooded with wonderful memories.

Greg had a way with Judges. They seemed to recognize his good judgment as well as his intelligence. During the Concept Design trial in 1993, I was on my feet arguing a point, and had been doing so for some time, when Judge Potter interrupted me and said, “Mr. Adams, I notice that Mr. Madera has been tugging at your coattail. I think Mr. Madera is trying to tell you that you have said enough. I think you should follow Mr. Madera’s advice.”

I think Greg is tugging on my coattail now, so I close with this. Greg’s story is not over, but a new chapter has begun, where Greg, this solid, loyal, upright man, will rest in peace, and we will hold his memory ever green in our hearts.

March 24, 2014




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Copyright, W. Thad Adams, III, 2013. All rights reserved. (Revised December 22, 2017)

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