• $10,000,000.00

    Dangerous Conditions of Roadways

    Dangerous Condition of Public Roadway– Brain Damage

    Car went down embankment due to lack of guardrail

    Mediated
    Settlement:
    $10,000,000.00

    Case:

    Rosa M. Ramirez, et al. v. State of California,
    California Dept. of Transportation (Caltrans)
    Date: 7/12/2005

    Facts & Allegations In February 2003, Mariol Morales, along with her three children and her niece, Rosa M. Ramirez, were headed westbound on Route 138—also known as the Pear Blossom Highway—when they pulled onto the shoulder. After a short time, the group resumed their drive and were pulling away from the shoulder when suddenly their car hit a raised dirt berm, causing Morales to lost control of the vehicle. The car was thrown down a steep embankment, and plunged into the water of the California Aqueduct below. Firefighters arrived at the scene and rescued Ramirez, who was severely injured; however, Morales and her three children drowned.

    Raul Morales, Mariol’s husband and the deceased children’s father, sued contending that Caltrans failed to provide adequate notice of the public roadway’s dangerous condition. Specifically, plaintiffs argued that despite the fact that a similar accident occurred in 1998 in the same location, despite a work order requiring Caltrans to install and maintain a guardrail around the aqueduct by March 2002, and despite a Caltrans agency directive to remove dirt berms from the shoulder leading to the aqueduct, Caltrans failed to take any precautionary measures, and was responsible for the deaths of his family and the injuries to his niece. Had a guardrail been in place, plaintiffs’ experts said, the car would have been deflected and the tragedy would have been prevented.

    Injuries/Damages brain damage; death; hypoxia; quadriplegia; spastic quadriplegia

    Morales and her three children, Raul Jr., 9, Silvia, 4, and Oscar 13 months were found dead by rescue workers. Her husband sought damages for loss of their love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society and moral support. Ramirez suffered permanent hypoxic brain damage which left her as a spastic quadriplegic.

    Results Ramirez, who suffered permanent hypoxic brain damage which left her a spastic quadriplegic received $7,495,000 in a structured payout that is expected to exceed $40 million in total over time. Morale’s received $2.5 Million for the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society and moral support of his family.

    Link to Los Angeles Times Article

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  • $5,500,000.00

    Birth Injuries

    Medical Malpractice Birth Injury – Brain Damage

    Arbitration: $5, 500,000.00
    Case: Confidential v. Confidential

    FACTS/CONTENTIONS:

    According to Plaintiff: Defendant HMO Perinatologist in the process of delivering plaintiff, reached in vaginal outlet and felt plaintiff’s shoulder impacted under the mother’s symphysis pubis. The mother had been pushing effectively and was making progress; there was no fetal distress. Fetal monitor strips were reassuring. The baby’s head was nearly completely delivered.

    Rather than allowing vaginal delivery to continue, defendant HMO perinatologist abandoned the vaginal delivery and ordered C-section. The mother was transferred to the operating room on a gurney with the baby’s head nearly out between her legs. In the operating room, defendant HMO perinatologist pushed the baby’s head back into the uterus and performed C-section extraction.

    Plaintiff said 19 minutes elapsed from the time the vaginal delivery was abandoned and the baby was delivered via C-section. The baby was unresponsive at delivery with no spontaneous movements and no spontaneous respirations. Apgars were one at 1 minute, three at 5 minutes and three at 10 minutes. The baby was intubated and transferred to NICU where she was resuscitated and diagnosed as having suffered severe birth asphyxia. Subsequent MRI studies confirmed the diagnosis of hypoxic ischemia and severe and permanent brain damage.

    Plaintiff alleged defendant HMO perinatologist was negligent for abandoning the vaginal delivery and ordering crash C-section when delivery was progressing appropriately, the baby’s head was nearly completely delivered and there was no fetal distress. The perinatologist’s fingers were on the baby’s anterior shoulder when he “felt it was impacted” under the symphysis pubis, which was a shoulder dystocia.

    Plaintiff said the physician should have rotated the shoulder to the oblique and/or ordered supra-pubic pressure, two standard maneuvers to safely deliver a baby with a shoulder dystocia. Plaintiff claimed the shoulder would have become “disimpacted” and the baby would have safely delivered within seconds. By abandoning the vaginal delivery when the baby’s head was nearly delivered, the baby suffered 19 minutes of umbilical cord compression, resulting in oxygen and nutrient depravation to the brain, causing asphyxiation and brain damage.

    Defendants HMO and perinatologist contended they acted within the standard of care at all times and did not cause or contribute to plaintiff’s brain damage. Since plaintiff’s head was not “completely delivered,” it was within the standard of care to abandon vaginal delivery and perform C-section. Defendant said plaintiff did not suffer cord compression, and the brain injury occurred days before delivery based on a prenatal ultrasound.

    INJURIES: According to Plaintiff: Hypoxic ischemic brain damage; blindness; deafness; hypertension; diffuse spasticity; tracheostomy and gastrostomy tube dependence; 24-hour LVN nursing care. Plaintiff claimed a 30-year life expectancy; defendant claimed a 10-year life expectancy and disputed the need for 24-hour LVN care.

    DAMAGES: According to Plaintiff: $8,000,000 future medical care; $800,000 to $1,300,000 loss of future earnings (present value); $250,000 general damages (MICRA).

    OUTCOME: The case went to binding arbitration before a three-member panel. The neutral arbitrator was a retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge. Arbitration concluded after two weeks of testimony and documentary evidence. The panel found in favor of plaintiffs on liability and causation and requested additional calculations from the economists regarding the nursing care costs based on certain findings. The parties settled prior to issuance of the final award on damages, which included a confidentiality clause. The court approved a special needs trust for the benefit of the minor, which included the purchase of a home with special modifications and life time 24-hour nursing and medical care.

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  • $4,750,000

    Birth Injuries

    Medical Malpractice - Birth Injury – Forceps – Quadriplegia

    Settlement: $4,750,000.00

    County:

    Los Angeles
    Summary: After a long labor and forceps delivery, baby is flaccid and lacks spontaneous respirations/movements, infant, male, quadriplegic, ventilator dependent

    Facts & Allegations On August 17, at 5:00 a.m., Donna Buchholz, mother (“mother”) of minor plaintiff (“baby”), went into active labor and was admitted to defendant Glendale Adventist Medical Center at 7:00 a.m. At 11:00 a.m., an epidural was started. At 2:00 p.m., the treating OB/GYN, defendant Dr. Juan Drachenberg, said the baby should be delivered by 5:00 p.m., and he continued to reassure the mother that the labor was proceeding normally throughout the evening. Mrs. Buchholz’ mother, husband and friend were with her during labor, with an additional friend at delivery. By late evening, in continuing pain, Mrs. Buchholz told her family that she wanted a C-section, and allegedly told a nurse the same thing. The request was never made directly to Dr. Drachenberg, who testified that during pre-natal visits the parents had specifically requested no C-section. At 11:00 p.m. Mrs. Buchholz went into second stage labor; she was completely dilated and effaced and pushing. At 11:30 p.m. nurses’ notes indicated the presence of + 1 meconium, considered a “high risk” delivery by hospital protocol. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was notified to be present at the delivery.

    At 1:00 a.m. Dr. Drachenberg and/or Nurse Holmes, the delivery room nurse, told the mother to “rest”; she had been in the second stage of labor approximately 2 hours. The mother “rested” until about 2:00 a.m. when someone entered her room and turned back on the lights; it was noted that at about 1:30 a.m. Dr. Drachenberg had gone to deliver another baby. At 2:00 a.m. he examined Mrs. Buchholz, noted progress to + 3, and urged her to continue pushing. Dr. Drachenberg says he told the parents then that he was going to use forceps during delivery.

    The delivery occurred at 2:49 a.m, with an NICU team present. The NICU team included only a nurse and respiratory therapist. The NICU Nurse stated that she thought Dr. Drachenberg told the delivery room nurse that he needed “high forceps”, although he may have said, “my forceps”. He used Kielland’s forceps for rotation, traction and extraction of the baby. By the time of delivery the mother had been in active second stage labor for 3 hours, 49 minutes. Although the reported position of the fetus in the birth canal was 0/+ 1 at midnight, which would be considered mid to high, the Delivery Room sheet noted that the Kielland’s forceps delivery was rather at the pelvic outlet, which equated to +3 station.

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  • $4,500,000.00

    Products Liability

    School District – Football Helmet Injury – Paralysis

    Negligence/Product Liability: Paralyzed Playing High School Football

    Settlement: $4,450,000.00

    Facts Plaintiff, 14 year-old high school freshman, was playing high school football on the freshman football team. In the sixth game of the season, he received an injury to his neck during the first half of the game while tackling a boy much larger than himself. At half time he told the coach that his neck was hurting and asked if he could stay out of the rest of the game. The coach kept him out at the start of the second half. However, at his substitute made some mistakes, he sent him back into the game. The boy was not sent to the nurse (present at the game) for an evaluation of his injury. After returning to the game, he made another tackle and hurt his spinal cord.

    Injuries C-5 complete quadriplegia secondary to C-4 fracture dislocation. Reduced respiratory reserve secondary to the level of injury. Spinal fusion from C-3 to C-5 with sublarnina wiring. Neurogenic bladder and bowel, reflexic, complete. History of acute and chronic urinary tract infections while hospitalized. Subsequent and further surgeries to place skin grafts in and around tailbone and buttocks area due to recurrent bed sores and decubitus.

    Medical Costs: $382,850.85 past; $6,110,800 present value of future.

    Loss of Earnings: $871,800 as a high school graduate. $1,305.600 as a college graduate. (present value)

    Contentions Plaintiff contended High School violated numerous CIF rules and regulations, National Federation of Rig School rules, and established standards within the District including:

    1. Failing to have a complaint of pain or injury evaluated by a physician or other care provider before allowing a player to go back into the game.
    2. Failure to have a physician on the sidelines during the freshman football game as is done as a matter of practice at the varsity level.
    3. Failure to have a size, weight and skill evaluation done at the freshman football level.
    4. Failure to evaluate Plaintiff, a student weighing 127 pounds and having a long thin neck, as being a prime candidate for a cervical spinal injury (CSI).
    5. Allowing a student who had never played organized school sports, much less tackle football, to join a team at mid-season without having had the appropriate pre-season conditioning and training.
    6. Failure to provide proper training in blocking and tackling techniques.
    7. Failure of a qualified person or persons to select and properly fit Plaintiff’s equipment, including his football helmet.
    8. Improper evaluation by Defendant district of its coaches as to their qualifications and training and evaluation and assessment of injuries including cervical spinal injury (CS1). Failure of the District to provide that education and training.

    Medical causation – had Plaintiff been evaluated at the time he told his coach about the injury, proper medical evaluation and treatment could have been performed to prevent his result.

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  • $3,750,000.00

    Birth Injuries

    Birth Injury – Hospital Negligence – Brain Damage –

    Baby’s Brain Damage Caused by Nurse’s Failure to Notify Doc

    Mediated
    Settlement

    $3,750,000.00

    Case:

    Jane Doe, Jane Doe II, John Doe
    v. Unnamed Hospital
    Date: 3/9/2006

    Facts & Allegations- On March 18, 2003, at about 4 p.m., plaintiff mother, 40, was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital for induction of labor. She was 40 weeks and one day pregnant.

    At 10 p.m., fetal monitor strips showed that the plaintiff baby was probably suffering from hypoxia. At 10:30 p.m., mother’s uterus was observed to have a hyper-stimulation pattern, frequent or increased uterine contractions which were keeping the fetus from being able to breathe between contractions. At 11:45 p.m., the nurses notified the attending physician of the pattern, but did not inform her of the possible hypoxia. Over the phone, the physician ordered Terbutaline for the hyper-stimulation, but it had no effect, and the nurses did not inform the physician that the Terbutaline was not working. Terburaline should be effective within minutes. If not, that is a sign of a more serious problem, such as placental abruption causing the hyper-stimulation.

    The following day at 12:30 a.m., the fetal heart tracing continued to show possible hypoxia, but the nurses did not contact the attending physician. From 1 to 2:30 a.m., the fetal heart tracing continued to show low or absent heart rate, while the hyper-stimulation pattern continued. The nurses did not contact the physician.

    At 2:30 a.m. the plaintiff mother went into contractions due to hyper-stimulation. No doctor was present, and the plaintiff father ran through the hospital to find an obstetrician who was actually a resident in training. The resident examined the plaintiff mother and reviewed the fetal heart tracing. He then ordered the nurse to notify the attending physician, but the nurse did not contact the physician.

    From 2:30 to 3:15 a.m., the fetal heart tracing continued to be abnormal. Again, the nurses did nothing. At 3:15 a.m., the plaintiff baby was delivered by a nurse with no physician in attendance. The attending physician, who was not notified beforehand, showed up after the delivery. When the attending physician arrived, she became extremely angry with the nurses and told them she should have been notified by at least midnight and that this tragedy could have been avoided.

    Claiming physical injuries, the plaintiffs sued the hospital for medical malpractice.

    We claimed that the nurses failed to notify the attending physician and neonatologist about the impending delivery and the complications before the delivery.

    We claimed that the nurses failed to understand and appreciate the fetal heart tracing, that the nurses failed to notify a physician about the mother’s hyper-stimulation pattern and the fetal heart problems during labor, and that the nurses failed to do any intervention during the labor, even though it was obviously warranted. These failures, we claimed, led to the baby’s birth injuries.

    The hospital disputed the allegations, contending that the baby suffered an unforeseeable embolitic event right before labor which caused his injuries.

    Injuries/Damages: cerebral palsy; cognitive defects; emotional distress; encephalopathy; hypoxia; microcephaly

    The baby was born flaccid and without muscle tone. He made no attempts to breathe and demonstrated no reflexes. The neonatologist, who was called five minutes after delivery, arrived shortly thereafter and immediately intubated the baby.

    The baby was diagnosed with hypoxia, severe anoxic encephalopathy, developmental delay secondary to spastic cerebral palsy, severe language and cognitive impairment, behavioral dysfunction and microcephaly.

    Result: The case settled for $3,750,000.00.

    The baby’s settlement was structured with a total expected payout of $21,446, 412.00.

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  • $3,570,000.00

    Medical Malpractice

    Managed Care/Medical Malpractice

    Permanent and Irreversible Paraplegia – Denial/Failure to Arrange for the Provision of Medically Necessary Medical Benefits & Diagnostic Testing – Failure to Use Ordinary Care

    Total Settlement: $3,570,000.00

    Case:

    Jane Doe v. Roe Managed Care Entities/Hospital/Medical Defendants
    Final Settlement Date: 5/20/2015

    FACTUAL BACKGROUND:
    On January 27, 2010, plaintiff, then a 41 year old woman, underwent a cervical discectomy, laminectomy, cadaver bone grafting and placement of a titanium plate in her cervical spine. The preoperative diagnosis was nerve route compression causing neck, shoulder and arm pain. This was an elective surgery with no complications.

    During the admission, plaintiff was diagnosed as having an MRSA infection by critical lab report. She was discharged on January 29, 2010 with no antibiotics or follow-up regarding the infection.

    On February 4, 2010, the plaintiff presented again to defendant hospital emergency room. She had complaints of ongoing neck pain and spasms which were not responsive to pain medications. She was also having increased neck swelling and discharge from her cervical site.

    A CT scan of her cervical spine concluded that “the possibility of epidural abscess cannot be excluded.” Epidural abscess is a collection of bacteria which has colonized into a sac or abscess. During this admission, there was no surgical exploration to determine if there was an abscess in the cervical area. MRSA bacteremia of the cervical spine was diagnosed and antibiotics were ordered. However, once an infection has colonized into an abscess, antibiotics are generally ineffective and surgical excision is required. Epidural abscess can cause spinal cord compression and paralysis.

    On April 22, 2010, the plaintiff again went to the emergency room of defendant hospital. By this time, her legs had given out and she had fallen. She was also having difficulty urinating. These are classic signs of epidural abscess causing spinal cord compression. She was admitted to the hospital. Defendant neurosurgeon who had performed the original surgery in January, 2010, ordered a cervical MRI. However, due to the patient’s obesity, she could not fit into the MRI machine. Over the weekend, the on-call hospitalist called the managed care case manager for authority for an open MRI, which was denied. The case manager reported that this was out of contract and could not be done until the following week.

    The following week a CT myelogram was performed which diagnosed the cervical epidural abscess. Exploratory surgery was done thereafter to remove the cervical epidural abscess, but by this time, it was too late and plaintiff suffered permanent and irreversible paraplegia.

    PLAINTIFF’S CONTENTIONS:
    Negligent failure of the managed care entities to authorize an open MRI and/or transfer to a major medical center (equipped to deal with such a problem) in a timely manner, which caused delay in removing cervical epidural abscess, resulting in the paraplegia. Negligent failure of the defendant neurosurgeon, hospitalists and hospital to diagnose and treat the suspected cervical epidural abscess going back to the February 4, 2010 admission.

    DEFENDANT’S CONTENTIONS:
    That defendant neurosurgeon had the sole responsibility for plaintiff’s postoperative care, and her injuries were solely due to his negligence. Defendant neurosurgeon tendered his $1,000,000 policy early on in the case.

    DAMAGES:
    Permanent and irreversible paraplegia. Unlimited general damages as to managed care entities. (No MICRA cap); $250,000 general damages as to medical/hospital defendants.

    FUTURE MEDICAL CARE:
    PLAINTIFF: $6,000,000, normal life expectancy.
    DEFENDANTS: $800,000.00-$1,000,000.00, reduced life expectancy, collateral source offsets.

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  • $3,250,000.00

    Wrongful Death

    Auto Collision with Commercial Truck - Wrongful Death

    Settlement: $3,250,000.00


    Facts - At 7: 15 p.m., Decedent, 34 year-old man, was driving his 1987 Chevrolet vehicle northbound on 90th Street East near Palmdale, California. 90th Street East is a two-lane highway with a posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour. The decedent was returning home from his place of employment, Warner Bros. Studios, where he was a propmaker and general construction foreman. Defendant Garcia, employed by Heritage Landscaping, Inc. as a landscaping foreman, was driving Heritage’s 1986 314-ton Ford truck in the course and scope of his employment. Mr. Garcia was traveling southbound on 90th Street East in excess of the speed limit. He crossed over the broken yellow line into the northbound lane, causing a head-on collision with the decedent’ s vehicle.

    The decedent was extracted from his vehicle and flown to Antelope Valley Medical Center where he expired one hour and twenty-two minutes after the collision. Plaintiff’s investigation established witness statements and deposition testimony that Defendant Garcia had been driving while intoxicated, and had a prior traffic violation of crossing over the center line. This was in his personnel file and known by his employer, Defendant Heritage Landscaping. Inc. Defendant Garcia was later prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office for felony vehicular manslaughter. At the criminal trial, Mr. Garcia pled guilty to the lesser-included charge of reckless driving.

    Injuries: Death, age 31. Survived by wife and two young children.

    Loss of Earnings: Decedent was earning approximately $70,000 per year. Future economic losses $3.000.000

    Contentions Plaintiff claimed Defendant Garcia was grossly negligent, willful and wanton and reckless, based upon violations of relevant safety statutes, including Vehicle Code sections for reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, crossing over the center line and excessive speed. This was the direct cause of the wrongful death. Mr. Garcia was liable for punitive damages under the survivorship action for willful, wanton and reckless conduct. Mr. Garcia was acting within the course and scope of his duties when the collision occurred. Thus, Defendant Heritage Landscaping, Inc. was vicariously liable for actual and punitive damages occasioned by this conduct. The guilty plea of reckless driving in the criminal trial was relevant and admissible in the civil case.

    Defendant argued Mr. Garcia was not intoxicated at the time, and acted reasonably in crossing over the center line to avoid colliding with a slower vehicle in front of him. Garcia had reasonably crossed over to the left to avoid hitting a telephone pole on the shoulder of the road near the collision site. Garcia was not acting within the course and scope of his employment at the time of collision.

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  • $2,500,000.00

    Products Liability

    Products Liability
    Defective steering wheel hub responsible for death

    Result: $2,500,000.00

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  • $2,500,000.00

    Medical Malpractice

    Medical Malpractice – Anesthesia Error – Brain Damage

    Anesthesiologist Negligence : Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Delay

    Settlement:

    $2,500,000.00

    Case: Mia Sturm, a minor v. The Regents of the University of California (UCLA Medical Center)

    FACTS:

    Plaintiff Mia Sturm was born with several congenital conditions, which required surgical correction. At five months of age, she was diagnosed with cranial stenosis, a congenital defect of the forehead, which can be corrected with cranial vault remodeling, a simple elective procedure.

    Plaintiff underwent the remodeling surgery at UCLA Medical Center. The anesthesiologist attempted to place an arterial line (A-line) for three hours prior to the commencement of the remodeling portion of the surgery. An A-line is inserted into an artery during pediatric general anesthesia to monitor blood pressure and blood fluid levels in real time, to determine if the child’s blood levels are getting too low during surgery. If so, hypo-profusion can result, which can lead to acidosis and/or cardiac arrest. Rather than cancel the surgery due to the inability to place the A-line, the anesthesiologist placed a central-line (central venous line) into the vein, which does not monitor fluid volumes, and told the surgeons they could proceed with the surgery.

    Towards the end of the surgery, plaintiff became bradycardic and went into ventricular arrhythmia requiring chest compressions, defibrillation and administration of Epinephrine and Atropine to stabilize her blood pressure. Plaintiff was transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) where she was diagnosed as having strokes to both signs of her brain due to blood fluid loss during surgery which caused interruption of blood flow to the brain (hypo-profusion and acidosis). Plaintiff now has mild cerebral palsy and developmental delay.

    CONTENTIONS:

    Plaintiff claimed that defendant’s treatment was below the standard of care and contra-indicated to commence pediatric surgery with general anesthesia without the placement of an A-line to monitor blood pressure and blood fluid volumes. A central-line is insufficient. As a result, plaintiff’s blood and fluid volume loss went unmonitored, leading to acidosis, hypo-profusion and bilateral strokes to her brain.

    Defendant claimed that they acted within the standard of care at all times, and did not cause or contribute to plaintiff’s injuries. Plaintiff suffered from numerous congenital conditions, which caused this occurrence. It would have been contra-indicated to cancel the surgery three hours into the procedure.

    INJURIES:

    Plaintiff suffered mild cerebral palsy and developmental delay. She will require some attendant care and compensatory assistance.

    RESULT:

    The case settled for $2.5 million.

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  • $2,200,000.000

    Products Liability

    Defective Auto Fuel Fed Fire – Serious Burns

    Product Liability: Car Fire - Defective auto fuel fed fire

    Settlement: $2,200,000.00


    FACTS:

    At noontime, the decedent husband, 50 year-old, was driving the family’s 1982 sub-compact car eastbound in the fast lane (#1) of the Glendale Freeway. The decedent’s wife, 50 year-old, was the front seat passenger. Two minor daughters, ages 8 and 6, were the rear seat passengers. The Plaintiffs’ vehicle began experiencing engine difficulty due to inadequate fluid in the radiator. This caused the vehicle to lose power and slow down to 14-17 miles per hour, while still in the fast lane. Following the Plaintiffs’ vehicle was vehicle #2, which was a mid-sized automobile being driven by Driver #2 at approximately 80-83 miles per hour. Driver #2 saw the Plaintiffs’ vehicle in front of him, but momentarily looked down to turn up his car radio. Upon looking up, he saw the Plaintiffs’ vehicle immediately in front of him. Because he was speeding, he was unable to make any evasive maneuvers and rear-ended the Plaintiffs’ vehicle. The collision caused left rear tire failure and major rear structural damage to the vehicle, causing the left side rear frame rail to strike the roadway. The collision also severed the gas tank fuel filler neck of the Plaintiffs’ vehicle. The Plaintiffs’ vehicle then began skidding across the #2 and #3 lanes in a clockwise fashion, with fuel spilling out. The fuel was ignited by sparks from the metal scraping the road. This caused an explosion and the vehicle was engulfed in flames. The father and mother escaped from the burning car, but the two minor daughters who were seat-belted in the back seat could not escape. The father went back into the burning vehicle to save his daughters. He could not extract his daughters from the two-door sub-compact. The two daughters and father received burns to 100 of their bodies and died. The Plaintiff, the wife and mother, witnessed the entire event and sustained second-degree burns to her face, right thigh, arm and lungs. Driver #2 was listed in the Collision Report as the cause of the collision and was cited for speeding. He was recommended to the District Attorney’s office for vehicular manslaughter and gross vehicular manslaughter charges, though the District attorney did not prosecute. The husband was listed in the collision report as the contributing cause of the collision. He was in violation of speed laws for going too slow and impeding traffic and for driving without a valid California driver’s license. Driver #2 had $60,000 in liability insurance which was tendered.

    Injuries

    : Death, age 50 and two minor daughters; survived by his wife and nine other children, all party Plaintiffs.

    Loss of Earnings:

    The Decedent was an illegal immigrant factory worker with no documentable loss of earnings.

    Contentions:

    Plaintiff claimed the fuel filler Deck and fuel system was defectively designed. The rear location made filler neck more susceptible to deformation in a rear-end collision. The bottom location made fuel tank more susceptible to “bathtub” type spillage. The filler dock should have been attached in front and on top of fuel tank. Also, the filler neck had a short rubber connecting hose to the tank which was immediately adjacent to the rear coil springs and other destructive forces. Evidence showed torn hose.

    Among other things, the filler neck should have been made with frangible solid steel without rubber hose component. The car was not crashworthy. Evidence showed the auto manufacturer conducted only minimum federally-required fixed barrier rear impact testing. Deposition testimony established that the manufacturer “consciously disregarded” doing any car-to-car side and rear impact testing to determine the integrity of the fuel filler neck and fuel system. Two patents regarding fuel filler neck systems which predated the manufacture of this vehicle would have prevented fuel spillage and fire. The Defendant was guilty of “conscious disregard” of existing of existent patent designs which would have prevented the fire and deaths.

    Defendant argued fuel filler neck and fuel system not defective designed. The fuel filler system was properly designed to withstand foreseeable and reasonable rear impact forces. The gas cap was missing as evidenced by the burn marks. The missing gas cap caused or contributed to the fuel spillage and fire. The fixed barrier rear impact testing was appropriate and complied with minimum federal standards. Car-to-car side rear impact testing not required. The excessive speed of vehicle #2 combined with very slow speed of the Plaintiff’s vehicle caused collision and deformation to fuel filler neck and subsequent fire. This could not have been prevented by any fuel system design. The cause of the collision/deaths was driver of vehicle #2. The husband caused and/or contributed to the collision/deaths by failing to properly maintain the vehicle with radiator fluid. The husband failed to take appropriate evasive maneuvers to get out of the fast lane. The husband was in violation of California Vehicle Code by driving too slow in the fast lane and was driving without a valid California driver’s license.

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  • $2,000,000.00

    Products Liability

    Products Liability - Defective Auto Roof Crush ; Wrongful Death

    Result: $2,000,000.00

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  • $2,000,000.00

    Medical Malpractice

    Medical Malpractice
    Failure to Diagnose Cancer Melanoma Misdiagnosis

    Result: $2,000,000.00

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  • $2,000,000.00

    Motor Vehicle Accidents

    Auto Accident – Auto v. Bus – Head Trauma

    Center Line – Broadside – Left Turn

    Mediated
    Settlement:

    $2,000,000.00
    Case: Michael Burns v.
    Estate of David C. Haber

    Facts & Allegations:

    In November 2002, plaintiff Michael Burns, a 65-year-old attorney, was among a group of eight who traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, from San Marino to celebrate the 61st birthday of attorney David C Haber of the firm Knapp, Peterson & Clarke. On Nov. 9, the group traveled to nearby Nayarit in Haber’s SUV for lunch. Haber was driving. He attempted to turn left onto a dirt road when a bus tried to pass his vehicle on the left and a collision ensued. The bus plowed into the Suv, crushed it and dragged it nearly 100 feet. Three people in Haber’s SUV were killed, including Haber. The other five, including Burns, were severely injured.

    Burns sued Haber’s estate, alleging vehicular negligence.

    Plaintiff was unable to obtain jurisdiction over the Mexican bus company in the U.S.

    Burns’ counsel contended that Haber was comparatively negligent and was a cause of the accident by not keeping a proper lookout while driving and by turning into the bus passing him to his left. Counsel contended that on Mexican roadways, there exists the custom and practice of pulling to the right when a vehicle is trying to pass a driver, which Haber should have done, but he failed to allow the bus to pass him.

    Counsel also contended that even if Haber was found at fault, under Proposition 51, the estate would be jointly and severally liable for specials.

    Haber’s estate contended that the Mexican bus was the sole cause of the collision. The defense maintained mat Haber was already turning onto the dirt road when the bus negligently attempted to pass him.

    Injuries/Damages:

    brain damage; dysphasia; memory loss; spasticity

    Burns sustained anoxic brain damage resulting in spasticity, dysphasia and poor short-term memory, concentration and judgment. He was admitted to Casa Colina Rehabilitation Hospital in Pomona a day after his accident for physical, occupational and speech therapy. He stayed in the hospital for 18 months. He claimed past medical damages of $674,187, which included costs from the rehab center, two hospitals, and an emergency airlift.

    Burns’ counsel contended that Burns would require both a 24-hour certified nursing assistant and a 24-hour licensed vocational nurse to care for him for the rest of his life. He sought $3,483,826 and $5,370,051, respectively, to cover those future medical costs.

    Burns did not return to work. He sought past lost earnings for the time period from Nov. 10, 2002 to July 31, 2004, totaling $192,655. He sought future lost earnings for the time period from Aug. 1, 2004 to Oct. 31, 2009 (the projected date of his retirement) totaling $571,526.

    Burns sought damages for pain and suffering.

    Result:

    The parties settled the matter for $2 million.

    This was a tragedy for all involved and that although the plaintiff’s future care needs were far in excess of the estate’s $2 million umbrella policy, he agreed to a covenant not to sue in exchange for a tender of the policy.

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  • $2,000,000.00

    Medical Malpractice

    Misdiagnosis of Subdural Hematoma – Brain Damage

    BRAIN INJURIES : Hospital Failure to Test
    CT scan could have prevented brain damage

    Mediated
    Settlement:

    $2,000,000.00
    Date: 2/20/2007

    Facts & Allegations:

    In July 2005, the plaintiff, a 66-year-old woman, was in a car accident. She was taken by ambulance to a hospital emergency room. She described to the ER doctors headaches, blunt head trauma and a history of Coumadin use. Soon thereafter, she was discharged without undergoing a CT scan of her head.

    Once she got home, she suffered a major headache with fatigue. She went to bed, but she could not wake up the following morning.

    She was taken by ambulance to a different hospital, where she was diagnosed with brain damage and a coma due to a subdural hematoma. She underwent emergency brain surgery to remove the hematoma, but it was unsuccessful. She remained in a coma.

    Claiming physical damages, the plaintiff, through her husband, sued the ER doctor and the first hospital for medical malpractice.

    We claimed that the doctor and the first hospital were negligent for failing to carry out CT scans of the plaintiff’s head, especially since she was on Coumadin, which increases bleeding.

    We also claimed that, if a CT scan had been performed on the plaintiff’s head, hospital employees would have noticed the subdural hematoma and reacted accordingly, sparing the brain damage.

    Injuries/Damages: brain damage: coma; fatigue; headaches; loss of consortium; subdural hematoma

    The plaintiff suffered permanent and irreversible brain damage.

    Result: The physician and the hospital each paid $ 1 million.

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  • $1,900,000.00

    Wrongful Death

    Product Liability
    Defective Auto – Wrongful Death

    Result: $1,900,000.00

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  • $1,823,000.00

    Elder Abuse

    Elder Abuse – RCFE – Decubitus Ulcers – Wrongful Death

    90 year-old man in Residential Board and Care Facility
    Elder Abuse– Decubitus Ulcers

    Settlement: $1,823,000.00
    Case: Confidential v. Confidential

    This case involved a 90 year-old man who was a resident in a Southern California residential board and care facility. Due to the neglect of the residential board and care facility employees and the third party medical providers, the elderly gentlemen-a Pulitzer Prize winning artist-developed serious decubitus ulcers. Seeing an opportunity to make additional profits from the elderly man, the defendants then knowingly and willfully conspired and agreed among themselves to commit wrongful acts—including unlawfully retaining the elderly gentlemen in the Residential Care Facility for the Elderly despite suffering from prohibited health conditions, performing unconsented-to and unlawful medical procedures, and fraudulently fabricating and forging false medical records/documents, among other things—for the sole purpose of profiting from the elderly man and Medicare (how the elderly man’s care and treatment was paid.) By the time the man was finally transferred to an acute care facility, it was discovered that the elderly man’s infection had spread to his bones, and he died soon thereafter.

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  • $1,621,000.00

    Elder Abuse

    Elder Abuse – Fall From Wheelchair – Paralysis

    Product Liability: Defective Bicycle - Broken Neck / Paralysis

    Result: $1,621,000.00
    Case Details: CONFIDENTIAL
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  • $1,600,000.00

    Products Liability

    Product Liability
    Defective Bicycle Broken Neck – Paralysis

    Result: $1,600,000.00

    Case Name:

    CONFIDENTIAL

    Case Details: A defective bicycle caused an innocent victim to fall and suffer a broken neck. As a consequence, they were paralyzed.
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  • $1,500,000.00

    Products Liability

    Cleaning Product – Explosion – Blindness One Eye

    Product Liability: Cleaning Product –Explosion – Burns, Blindness

    Settlement: $1,500,000.00


    Facts: Plaintiff, 30 year-old housewife, used a household cleaning product which caused serious burn injuries.

    Injuries: Complete blindness in one eye and partial blindness in another eye. Facial disfigurement as well.

    Contentions: Plaintiff claimed strict product liability. The product was defective and there was a failure to warn (no warning in Spanish). Breach of warranties, prior notice and Res Ipsa Loquitur.

    Defense argued that the product was safe for its intended uses. The Plaintiff negligently or intentionally misused the product.

    Result: Plaintiff settled for $1,500,000.00.

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  • $1,500,000.00

    Premises Liability

    High Voltage Overhead
    Power Lines Cause Burns

    Result: $1,500,000.00
    Case Name: Roberts v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company
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  • $1,500,000.00

    Pedestrian Accidents

    Vehicle Negligence, Pedestrian– Closed-Head Trauma

    Girl hit by Pacific Bell Truck Suffers Closed-head Trauma

    Result: $1,500,000.00

    Case Name:

    Colocho v. Los Angeles Unified School District

    Case Type:

    Vehicle Negligence; Pedestrian; Vehicle Negligence; Truck; Premises Liability; Public Property; Negligent Hiring & Supervision; Negligent Supervision; Vicarious Liability

    FACTS/CONTENTIONS:

    According to Plaintiff: Plaintiff Andrea Colocho, age 7, was attempting to cross the street adjacent to her school when she was hit by a truck driven by defendant Pacific Bell Telephone Company’s employee and owned by defendant Pacific Bell.

    Plaintiff alleged defendant Pacific Bell was negligent in the operation of its vehicle. Plaintiff also alleged defendant City of Los Angeles was negligent for a dangerous condition of public property. Plaintiff further alleged defendant City of Los Angeles negligently trained and supervised the school crossing guard and was vicariously liable for his negligent acts and omissions. Defendant Los Angeles Unified School District (“LAUSD”) was negligent in its supervision (school dismissal policies).

    Defendant Pacific Bell contended that it complied with all applicable traffic rules and was not negligent.

    INJURIES:

    Closed-head trauma.

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  • $1,400,000.00

    Construction Accidents

    Construction Site Injury – Broken Legs

    Premises Liability: Construction Site Injury

    Settlement: $1,400,000.00

    Case Name: David Brown and Carol Brown v. Taft Electric Co., Kitchell Contractors Inc., Michael Bratcher, Edrow Engineering Construction Co. Inc.

    Date: February 8, 2007


    Facts & Allegations: On June 8, 2005, plaintiff David Brown, 49, a concrete pump operator, was at a construction site in Thousand Oaks. While resting on a dirt spoils pile being moved by Taft Electric Co., Ventura, he was hit across the legs by the steel bucket of a backhoe tractor and pulled from the pile.

    Claiming physical damages, Brown sued Taft; Kitchell Contractors Inc., Phoenix; Michael Bratcher; and concrete subcontractor Edrow Engineering Construction Co. Inc., Newbury Park, for negligence and negligence per se.

    Brown claimed that Bratcher and Taft violated Cal-OSHA rules pertaining to backhoe operation.

    Brown also claimed that the defendants failed to mark the work area with yellow caution tape.

    Brown also claimed that the defendants failed to use a spotter or flagger to insure the safety in the work area.

    The defense disputed the allegations, claiming that Brown was contributorily negligent for laying down in a work area where a backhoe was operating.

    The defense also claimed that the backhoe was being operated according to industry safety standards at all times.

    Brown claimed he was permanently disabled and would never be able to return to work.

    Brown demanded $155,466 in future medical expenses with $50,000 for a workers’ compensation lien.

    Brown also claimed $1,681,864 in past and future wage loss.

    Brown also made an unspecified demand for pain and suffering, including an unspecified loss of consortium claim by his wife, Carol Brown, 40s, a school bus driver.

    The defense disputed the damages. Defense orthopedic surgery expert Richard C. Rosenberg reported that Brown was not permanently disabled, opining that he could return to the same job or re-train and do another job

    Injuries: Brown sustained bilateral femur fractures at a compression fracture at C-6 and C-7. He underwent two leg surgeries, including placement of intramedullary rods in his legs, and one cervical discectomy with plating.

    Result: Before experts were designated, the case settled for $1.4 million, broken down as $1.3 million from Taft, Kitchell and Bratcher and $100,000 from Edrow.

    Total recovery with workers’ compensation lien: $1,450,000.

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  • $1,280,000.00

    Medical Malpractice

    Misdiagnosis – Cervical Cancer – Injury & Wrongful Death

    Medical Malpractice: Failure to Diagnose Cancer

    Result:

    $1,280,000.00

    Case:

    Martin v. Kaiser

    Summary:

    Pap Smear Misread and No Follow-up Visits Recommended — Cervical Cancer Not Diagnosed for Almost Two Years — Arbitration Award of $1.03 Million to Legal Secretary

    FACTS: In May 1985, the plaintiff, ag3 38, went to Kaiser, Sunset, with a history of hemorrhagia, or spontaneous vaginal bleeding. The Ob/Gyn who treated her performed a Pap smear. The patient was then given a card and told to keep track of her bleeding, and that if the bleeding continued she should return. No follow-up appointment was scheduled. The Pap smear report was normal.

    From May 1985 until February 1987, the patient returned to Kaiser, Sunset on numerous occasions and was seen in several different clinics for various complaints over this period of time. At no time did the physicians follow-up regarding her previous Ob/Gyn history and spontaneous vaginal bleeding of May 1985. In fact, none of the physicians in these clinics ever viewed the entirety of the patient’s chart. Each clinic maintained their own chart concerning the particular area of treatment rather than her entire chart. In addition, no physician in these various clinics ever referred her back to the Ob/Gyn Department for follow-up care.

    In February 1987, the plaintiff went to Kaiser, Sunset on an emergency basis. She had experienced severe bleeding during intercourse. Approximately ¼ to ½ cup of blood had been discharged vaginally. Examination revealed a six centimeter tumor on the cervix which was confirmed by biopsy. She was then referred to the Oncology Department where aggressive radiation therapy treatment was begun. After receiving the maximum rads of radiation therapy allowed, she had extensive surgery.

    Despite the treatment, the patient was told in August 1988 that the Cancer had recurred.

    Plaintiff contended that cervical cancer had not been diagnosed in May 1985. Subsequent pathology review of the Pap smear slide taken at the time showed extremely suspicious cells, which were definitely abnormal. The person who reviewed the slide at Kaiser, Sunset was a cytotech and not a medical doctor and a medical doctor had never reviewed the Pap smear in question.

    The plaintiff also contended that the Pap smear of 1985 was taken at a time when the patient had trichomonas, which is an infection or inflammatory condition of the vaginal area which can obscure Pap smear results. Additional contentions were that the presence of trichomonas required a follow-up appointment and/or contacting the patient by letter or telephone.

    Evidence established that the plaintiff did have cervical cancer in May 1985 and, if it had been properly diagnosed at that time, the cure rate would have been extremely high. The evidence also showed that the 21-month delay in diagnosis caused the cancer to develop to the size of 6 centimeters, led to the recurrence and placed the plaintiff in her present grave condition.

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  • $1,250,000.00

    Medical Malpractice

    Stillborn Twins – Emotional Distress

    Medical Malpractice - Severe emotional distress due to Nurse’s failure to act

    Result: $1,221,780.00


    Facts & Allegations: A 32 year-old woman pregnant with twins. Prenatal course was healthy with no complications. AFP and ultrasound showed no abnormalities of malformations. Throughout the prenatal course, plaintiff felt significant fetal movement.

    On January 8, plaintiff began experiencing pre-term labor. She was admitted to defendant medical center for observation. Tocolysis in a combination of Magnesium Sulfate, Ritadrine and hydration were administered and the contractions were stopped. Plaintiff was discharged on January 12.

    On January 16, plaintiff began experiencing contractions again. She was readmitted and the contractions were stopped by that night. On January 18, plaintiff began to experience decreased fetal movement and communicated this to the nurses on at least two occasions. No physician was ever notified about the decreased fetal movements.

    By 10.00 p.m., mom was still experiencing decreased fetal movement and had begun experiencing contractions again. At 11.00 p.m., the nurses’ notes indicated that the patient had a constantly hard abdomen for 15 minutes. The on-call resident was notified but he claimed he was not notified of mother’s hard abdomen.

    On 1-19 at 12.40 a.m., the on-call resident ordered plaintiff to be transferred to the OB observation room. At 1:00 a.m., the nurse noted having trouble getting fetal heart tones. The on-call resident and second resident were notified but not available as they were with other patients. At 1:30 a.m., the first on-call resident ordered an ultrasound to be performed by the second resident. The first on-call resident thought that the second had taken over the care and treatment of the plaintiff.

    At 3:00 a.m., the fetal heart tones for one of the twins was 179-188 which could mean fetal distress. The normal range is 120-160. At 3:40 a.m., the nurse notified the on-call resident that she was having trouble getting fetal heart tones. However, the on-call resident claims he was never notified about the abnormal fetal heart tones.

    At 4:10 a.m., the on-call resident arrived and performed an ultrasound. Plaintiff observed one twin, then the other die before her eyes (she could see the hearts stop).

    At 4:30 a.m., the on-call resident called the plaintiff’s private physician who was in the hospital the entire time and was reached in the sleeping room.

    There was no evidence that the plaintiff’s private physician was ever notified despite plaintiff’s ongoing requests. Plaintiff underwent labor for the next 24 hours to deliver her babies stillborn. The stillborn babies were wrapped in a blanket and shown to the mother by a social worker who stated, “look, your babies are just fine.” An autopsy on the two babies showed no congenital abnormalities and normal cords.

    Plaintiffs contended that nurses failed to report to physicians her complaints of decreased fetal movements and her “hard abdomen” for 15 minutes, indicating fetal distress. Resident physicians failed to examine her when the nurses reported difficulty with the fetal heart tracings and failure by the second on-call physician to perform an ultrasound. Claimed the twins could have been saved by a C-section.

    Injuries/Damages: Severe emotional distress. Depression with passive thoughts of suicide.

    Result: $1,000,000 for past pain, suffering, etc. $250,000 for future pain, suffering.

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  • $1,221,000.00

    Medical Malpractice

    Medical Malpractice – Birth Injury
    Shoulder dystocia during delivery results in Erb’s Palsy / Brachial Plexus Paralysis

    Verdict/Judgment:

    $1,221,780.00

    Case:

    Saavedra v.Johnson
    BC312796
    Date: 07/19/2006

    Facts & Allegations: In April 2001, plaintiff Sandra Bojorquez began her pre-natal care with defendant White Memorial Gynecological Obstetrical Medical Group. Defendant Chastity Jennings-Nunez, M.D., was her primary care physician during her pre-natal course. Plaintiff had a history of gestational diabetes with this pregnancy. To treat the gestational diabetes, Dr. Jennings-Nunez ordered a restricted diet but never ordered insulin therapy.

    Mother was admitted to the hospital for induction of labor due to post-dates (she was overdue – 42 weeks gestation) on November 8, 2001. The estimated fetal weight was 8 lbs.

    Defendant Ronald Johnson, M.D., was the on-call physician for the Medical Group and appeared for the delivery. He had never seen or treated plaintiff prior to that time. Upon delivery of the fetal head, Dr. Johnson encountered a shoulder dystocia. He attempted delivery of the impacted shoulder by ordering the McRobert’s Maneuver and utilizing certain forces on the baby’s head and neck. Upon delivery of the body, the right arm was noted to be flaccid and not moving (30-second shoulder dystocia). The minor plaintiff was subsequently diagnosed as having suffered a permanent brachial plexus paralysis of his right, upper extremity. He underwent sural nerve graft surgery at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, wherein four nerve root avulsions were diagnosed.

    Plaintiffs Jesus Saavedra, by and through his Guardian ad Litem, Sandra Bojorquez, and Sandra Bojorquez, individually, alleged that Dr. Johnson negligently failed to utilize maneuvers required by the standard of care to safely deliver a shoulder dystocia, which caused or contributed to the baby suffering permanent brachial plexus paralysis and to his mother’s derivative claim for emotional distress.

    We claimed that Dr. Jennings-Nunez negligently failed to properly monitor and treat gestational diabetes, which caused the baby to become macrosomic (10 lb, 1.2 oz) and increased the risk of shoulder dystocia at delivery.

    Defendant Johnson contended that at all times he complied with the standard of care and utilized appropriate maneuvers to deliver the shoulder dystocia. He did not cause or contribute to the minor plaintiff’s injuries or the mother’s derivative emotional distress.

    Defendant Jennings-Nunez contended that at all times she complied with the standard of care in the diagnosis, monitoring, and management of the gestational diabetes. She did not cause or contribute to the minor plaintiff’s injuries or the mother’s derivate emotional distress.

    Injuries/Damages Baby: shoulder dystocia; brachial plexus. Mother: emotional distress.

    Result: As to defendant Johnson: Minor plaintiff: $108,750 past pain and suffering; $326,250 future pain and suffering; $243,354 (present value) future medical; $343, 526 (present value) future loss of earnings;

    Mother: $75,000 past emotional distress; $125,000 future emotional distress.

    Defense verdict as to defendant Jennings-Nunez.

    The expected life payout is $4,124,767, with payouts from an annuity for private school education commencing immediately.

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  • $1,120,000.00

    Products Liability

    Products Liability - Defective electric blanket causes burns

    Result: $1,120,000.00

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  • $1,050,000.00

    Wrongful Death

    Improper Trailer Hitch Assembly – Wrongful Death

    Improper trailer hitch causes death in rear-end collision

    Verdict: $1,050,000.00

    Case Name: Stewart v. Wannamaker Rents, Inc.


    FACTS:

    A 50-year-old contractor died after his auto was struck by the defendant’s bus. The decedent had rented a trailer and had a hitch installed by the defendant rental company just prior to the accident. The hitch came apart while driving, causing the decedent’s car to swerve wildly, since the trailer was only held to the car by a chain. The defendant’s driver then unsuccessfully tried to pass the decedent. The decedent was survived by his wife, who was the plaintiff. The plaintiff contended that the defendant rental company was negligent in failing to install the hitch properly. The plaintiff further contended that the defendant’s driver negligently tried to pass the decedent even though a dangerous situation was evident. The defendant rental company denied liability. The defendant bus company contended that its driver was not negligent.

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  • $1,000,000.00

    Medical Malpractice

    Medical Malpractice – Pancreatitis, Removal of Large Intestine

    Medical Malpractice in ERCP Procedure

    Settlement: $1,000,000.00


    FACTS: Plaintiff, a 58 year-old business executive, underwent an ERCP that was performed negligently. This caused pancreatitis, removal of the large intestine, and other disabling problems.

    Injuries: Pancreatitis, removal of large intestine.

    Contentions: Plaintiff claimed failure to do appropriate work-up, including history and physical prior to performance of the ERCP. This should have been done to rule out or determine what was the etiology of abdominal pain. Failure to consider that the Plaintiff’s abdominal complaints were being caused by reflux esophagitis and not pancreatic cancer prior to the performance or the ERCP procedure. Performance of the ERCP was not indicated based upon the clinical signs and symptoms as well as the preoperative CAT Scan. Failure to inform the patient that based upon the clinical signs and symptoms and a review of the CAT Scan, that the chances of finding pancreatic cancer with an ERCP was extremely remote. Failure to properly inject the dye during the ERCP. The Defendant gastroenterologist allowed a nurse, who had never done so previously, to inject the dye during the procedure. Evidence revealed the forceful injection by the inexperienced nurse during the ERCP caused or contributed to the subsequent pancreatitis and other disabling and debilitating injuries.

    Defense argued that the preoperative CAT Scan was suspicious for pancreatic cancer. The ERCP was indicated and was performed within applicable standards.

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