They discovered that an inventor, in Houston, had come up with a safe retractable needle that would prevent accidental punctures but that he couldn't get any needle manufacturers, and the hospital supplies industry in general, to use his invention. From a manufacturing perspective, it would've cost a lot of money to retool their production lines for the new needle and it would cost hospitals a few more cents per needle.
Hospital workers who found out about the needle wanted it desperately as it would cut down on risks but there was a tremendous amount of corruption in medical supplies from not only the purchasing departments in hospitals but also the medical supply industry so the new needle couldn't get its foot in the door. If the inventor was willing to spend millions of dollars to become a part of the medical supplies syndicate, then they'd consider his new needle.
So Mike and Paul decided to represent the inventor in 1999, to expose the corruption. The problem was that the law firm representing the medial supply purchasing syndicate was huge and they began burying the small law firm in debt in trying to handle the case. Another problem was that Mike was a heavy drug user (his partner didn't know). Among other things, Mike would snort cocaine and shoot up so although he was a brilliant attorney, he wasn't completely dependable.
Because of severe money problems, Paul and the inventor were willing to make a deal with the other attorney (Mike didn't want to settle), that would provide a decent amount of money, but the supply organization wouldn't guarantee that they would make and sell the needle; they were just buying the rights to it. Paul and the inventor knew the safety needle had a slim chance of ever making it to hospitals if they cut a deal, but they were both approaching bankruptcy.
The night before the settlement was supposed to take place, Mike went to the lead attorney on the opposing side's house, and said he didn't care if they settled, that he would get new clients from around the country, like nurses, and that they'd go after his client. At this point it wasn't about money, he was livid about what happened to his friend, the nurse, and he was demanding they put the safety needle in hospitals.
That very night he died from an overdose and his partner found out about what he said to the other attorney so he and his client, the inventor, decided they too would not give up, that the safety needle had to be used around the world. They turned down the deal, brought in another large law firm to help them with the case so they'd have money to fund it , and they defeated the medical supply syndicate. Now safety needles are used around the world and millions of lives have been saved, especially in third-world countries.
Mike didn't see it come to fruition, but it was his passion for not giving up, that fired up his law partner and the inventor. He was 32 years-old when he died.