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Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case – Otsego County Supreme Court – 2023

This medical malpractice and wrongful death case involved an 89 year-old woman who presented to defendant hospital and was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. She was admitted to the hospital, started on anticoagulation therapy, and monitored. On hospital day three, she developed a hematoma in her arm at the site of a blood draw. The anticoagulants were stopped and the bleeding was monitored overnight. The decedent became hypotensive, went into kidney and liver failure, and was transferred to another facility for a higher level of care. She ultimately passed away from renal failure, after declining dialysis. The estate sought damages for wrongful death and pain and suffering, arguing that the medications were not administered in accordance with the standard of care, and that the decedent was overly anti-coagulated. It was also alleged that the decedent’s blood tests were not being monitored at the appropriate frequency. The defense argued that both the dosing of the medications, and the frequency of lab test monitoring, were appropriate and that bleeding is a known risk of any anticoagulant. The defense also argued that the decedent’s kidney failure began before she began bleeding internally, and that it was a result of underlying cardiac dysfunction and not a result of the hematoma. The jury deliberated for twenty-four minutes and returned a unanimous defense verdict.

Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case – Washington County Supreme Court – 2023

Plaintiff was a 76-year-old woman who presented to our client, a vascular surgeon, with significant peripheral vascular disease causing claudication, rest pain and some ulceration. Based upon an arteriogram performed by our client, vascular surgery was recommended in the form of an aortofemoral bypass. Plaintiff’s decedent decided she wanted to undergo the procedure after a discussion with our client regarding the nature of the procedure and risks. The procedure was performed on November 7, 2016. From all appearances, the procedure went as expected and circulation to the decedent’s lower extremities was significantly improved. After the first post-surgery day, however, decedent developed atrial fibrillation and hypotension. An ischemic bowel was suspected. When laparoscopic surgery determined the existence of ischemic colitis, a total abdominal colectomy was performed. Although initially stable, decedent remained unresponsive and carried diagnoses of metabolic acidosis, ischemic colitis, respiratory failure, atrial fibrillation, renal failure, hypokalemia, and hypotension. She passed away the day after the colectomy. Plaintiff claimed that the surgical technique used by our client was contraindicated and resulted in a devascularized bowel. The defense argued that the surgery was appropriate, and that an ischemic bowel was a known risk of the surgery. The jury deliberated for about two hours and rendered a defense verdict.

Defense Verdict in Petroleum Spill Case

Addison County Vermont Superior Court/Honorable Mary Teachout/Docket No. 103-6-18 Ancv. The plaintiff was a customer of the defendant heating oil delivery company. In the fall of 2017, the plaintiff decided to replace the heating oil tank at her home, so her son disconnected the oil line and removed the tank. While there was a factual dispute as to whether the plaintiff told the defendant that the tank had been removed, the defendant acknowledges that, because the plaintiff did not have a functioning vent pipe whistle installed, per Vermont regulations, no deliveries to the property should have been made. Still, because the plaintiff was a longstanding customer whom it did not want to go without heat during the cold Vermont winter, the defendant continued to deliver oil to the plaintiff. Not realizing that the oil tank had been removed and that the new tank had yet to be installed, the defendant proceeded to spill 86.9 gallons of heating oil in the plaintiff’s basement. Per Vermont regulations, immediately upon learning of the spill, the defendant retained an environmental cleanup company that remediated the property. While the remediation was concluded to the satisfaction of the State of Vermont, the plaintiff alleged that the value of her property had been significantly reduced, due to the stigma of having been subject to a petroleum spill. In addition, the plaintiff alleged that additional clean-up work was required, that the remediation efforts had caused structural damage to the house, and that she had lost items of personal property as a result of the spill. Finally, the plaintiff alleged that the spill had caused her inconvenience and the loss of her enjoyment of the property. The defendant provided testimony from its employees disputing the plaintiff’s allegations that it had been told that the tank had been removed and explaining why deliveries had continued to the property despite the missing vent pipe whistle. Additional testimony was provided by the supervisor from the environmental remediation company explaining the nature of the remediation efforts. Finally, the defense offered expert testimony from a professional property appraiser who disputed, with the aid of comparables, plaintiff’s contention that the occurrence of the petroleum spill had stigmatized her property. The plaintiff’s last pre-trial demand was for $196,000, while the final offer was for $20,000. After eleven hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in which both defendant and plaintiff were found negligent and to be 50% responsible for the occurrence. However, the jury also concluded that, because of the remediation efforts, the plaintiff had no recoverable damages and rendered an award of $0.00.

Defense Verdict in a Medical Malpractice Case

Sullivan County Supreme Court/Honorable Stephen G. Schick/Index No. 2019-828. Plaintiff alleged that otolaryngologist had failed to timely diagnose plaintiff’s tumor, resulting in permanent partial facial paralysis and hearing loss. Defense argued that the otolaryngologist frequently and carefully inspected plaintiff’s middle ear cavity for evidence of known disease that previously had been surgically removed, with no abnormalities found, and that subsequent tumor growth at the base of the skull was unforeseen and unpredictable, but properly diagnosed by the otolaryngologist when plaintiff presented with new signs of neurological deficits. Plaintiff’s injuries were caused by plaintiff’s disease and not the result of an alleged failure to timely diagnose plaintiff’s subsequent tumor. Jury deliberated for an hour and rendered a defense verdict.

Defense Verdict in a Medical Malpractice Case

Plaintiff was a 43 year old gentleman who appeared at our client’s facility in August 2014 with a severely ingrown toenail. At that time, he was seen by a physician’s assistant who attempted to remove a portion of the toenail unsuccessfully. The plaintiff was then referred to a plastic surgeon at the facility for further treatment. On August 25, 2014, the plaintiff underwent a wedge resection/matrixectomy. Subsequent to that procedure, the plaintiff developed severe pain and swelling. On October 9, 2014, he appeared at the facility for a follow up visit complaining of right calf pain. He was evaluated by a physician’s assistant who diagnosed bilateral venous insufficiency and prescribed support hose. On October 30, 2014, he returned to the facility complaining of severe shortness of breath and ongoing right calf pain and swelling. Upon admission, he was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis and massive pulmonary embolisms. He remained inpatient at the facility until November 8, 2014, during which time he was treated with anti-coagulants. Allegations – the plaintiff alleged that the employees of the facility were negligent as follows: failure to follow with the plaintiff subsequent to the August 25th surgery; failure to diagnose deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism on October 9, 2014; failure to perform an appropriate workup on October 9, 2014 in order to diagnose deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism including a venous duplex ultrasound (Doppler) and a D dimer test. As a result of the alleged inappropriate follow up of the plaintiff, it was alleged that the plaintiff suffered massive pulmonary embolisms. Damages – the plaintiff alleges that if the deep vein thrombosis was diagnosed on a timely basis, he would not have developed pulmonary embolisms. The plaintiff further alleges that as a result of the delay in diagnosis, he suffered permanent and chronic injury to his right lower extremity (postphlebitic syndrome); permanent and chronic swelling of his right lower leg; the permanent need for anti-coagulation therapy; kidney failure; cardiac failure; and pulmonary dysfunction. The plaintiff was also seeking monetary damages for economic loss (wages). The trial was commenced on February 19, 2019 and the jury rendered a unanimous verdict (6-0) on February 26, 2019. The jury was comprised of 3 males and 3 females. (Otsego County Supreme Court, February 2019).

Defense Verdict in a Medical Malpractice Case

Plaintiff presented to the emergency room complaining of flu-like symptoms. Plaintiff, who had been receiving anticoagulant Coumadin for many years, had a slightly elevated laboratory value related to clotting. Plaintiff was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection, advised to skip his next dose of Coumadin, and discharged. The following day, plaintiff died of a cerebral hemorrhage. Plaintiff contended that defendants negligently failed to diagnose the hemorrhage and administered medications which exacerbated the bleeding. Defendants contended that the patient was evaluated appropriately, that no further imaging or laboratory studies were indicated based on his complaints, and that the cerebral hemorrhage occurred after the patient’s discharge. Defense verdict (Sullivan Supreme 2017).

Defense Verdict in a Wrongful Imprisonment/Psychiatric Malpractice Case

Plaintiff was involuntarily admitted to defendant hospital’s psychiatry unit. Plaintiff alleged that defendant was negligent in its performance of the statutorily-required psychiatric examination and, as a result, wrongfully confined him for more than a week. Defendant contended that it had assessed plaintiff appropriately and that he met the criteria for involuntary admission. Defense verdict. (Columbia Supreme 2018)

Defense Verdict in a Dental Malpractice Case

Plaintiff presented for treatment with a two-week history of pain and swelling of the left third molar. Extraction was recommended. Plaintiff contended that defendants were negligent as follows: the extraction was contraindicated; failed to proceed with a cone beam x-ray; failed to obtain appropriate informed consent; procedure was performed negligently damaging the inferior alveolar nerve and severed the lingual nerve; and failed to refer patient to an oral surgeon. Defendants contended that the surgery was indicated with pain and swelling; cone beam x-ray was not the standard of care; appropriate informed consent was obtained; the procedure was performed in accordance with good and accepted practices; patient left defendants’ care before a referral to an oral surgeon could have been made; and it was defendants’ contention that the nerve was damaged as a result of the local injection. Defense verdict. (Jefferson Supreme, 2017).

Defense Verdict in an Anesthesia Case

Plaintiff underwent spinal surgery under general anesthesia. Plaintiff contended that the anesthesia services were performed negligently as follows: that the anesthesiologist/nurse anesthetist pinched the tongue with the endotracheal tube which led to ischemia, loss of circulation and resultant injury to the tongue; and that the injury would not have occurred without negligence. At the time of trial, the judge charged the jury with res ipsa loquitur charge. Defendants contended that the injury to the tongue was a recognized complication of general anesthesia and further contended that the plaintiff had a preexisting injury to his tongue. Defense verdict (Saratoga Supreme, 2017).

Defense Verdict In a Premises Liability Case

Plaintiff (as an EMS ambulance employee) alleged that our client (a hospital) failed to reasonably take care of its parking lot, resulting in an icy condition which caused plaintiff to slip and fall as she was exiting an ambulance to assist a patient inside the hospital. Plaintiff suffered severe injury to her shoulder, resulting in frozen shoulder which led her to never being able to work again an EMS person. She also had a Workers’ Compensation lien of over $150,000. In her first deposition, Plaintiff would not admit that it was snowing or precipitating at all on the day of her accident. Finally, at her second deposition she admitted that it was snowing/sleeting/icing her entire ambulance trip to the hospital. Weather records indicated that the storm had allegedly stopped earlier in the day than the time of the fall, so we did not use them in our motion. Plaintiff tried to use the weather records in their opposition to the motion for summary judgment and we countered that plaintiff could not use extrinsic evidence to overcome her own admission that it was snowing. We made a motion for summary judgment based on a storm in progress defense and the Court ruled in our favor, dismissing the action against the hospital. (Ulster County, 2014).

Defense Verdicts in Cases Involving Dental Management Company

In a case involving multiple jurisdictions, we have successfully defended a dental management company and its owners against allegations of fraud and negligence involving the care and treatment given to children at dental clinics providing dental treatment to children covered by the Medicaid program. It was claimed that the dental management company was liable for alleged unnecessary and inappropriate dental treatment received by the plaintiff children at the dental clinic. In two separate trials, one involving a single plaintiff, and the other involving four plaintiffs, juries rendered defense verdicts in favor of the dental management company and its owners. (Sup. Ct., Onondaga Co., Sept. 2013 and June 2014).

Defense Verdict In A Premises Liability Case

Plaintiff alleged that our client (a restaurant) failed to reasonably take care of its parking lot, resulting in an icy condition which caused plaintiff to slip and fall. Our client refuted these allegations and the jury rendered a defense verdict. (Schenectady County Supreme Court, March 2011).

Defense Verdict In Dental Malpractice Claim

Plaintiff alleged dental malpractice after he underwent an extraction of teeth numbers 31 and 32 in 2006. Our client refuted those allegations and a defense verdict was rendered after a two week jury trial. (Orange County Supreme Court, February 2011).

Defense Verdict In A Premises Liability Case

Plaintiff alleged that our client (a lumber yard) failed to protect him from bees which allegedly startled him, causing him to fall. Our client refuted these allegations and the jury rendered a defense verdict. (Greene County Supreme Court, January 2011).

Defense Verdict In Nursing Home Case, Finding No Proximate Cause

We represented the nursing home in this medical malpractice case where plaintiff alleged a theory against the facility and co-defendant physician that they failed to diagnose and treat decedent’s congestive heart failure which developed into pneumonia causing a series of complications which ultimately lead to decedent’s death. The jury rendered a 5-1 verdict in favor of the defendants finding that their negligence was not the proximate cause of decedent’s illness or death. (Supreme Court, Schenectady County, June 2010).

Defense Verdict In Case Involving Bus Operation

In this case, plaintiff alleged that the negligent operation of a bus caused her to sustain injury. Plaintiff claimed that she fractured her left wrist as she was walking to her seat on the bus when abruptly the bus moved forward and then suddenly stopped a short distance later, causing her to fall to the ground. Plaintiff contended that the improper operation of the bus caused a sudden, unusual and violent jerk which caused her to fall. The jury rendered a defense verdict in favor of our client. (Supreme Court, Albany County, March 2010).

Defense Verdict In Podiatric Malpractice Suit

This case arises out of a surgical procedure know as a Keller bunionectomy which was performed on plaintiff by our client. Plaintiff alleged that the procedure was improper and that more conservative methods of treatment should have been implemented given plaintiff’s active lifestyle. Plaintiff further alleged that defendant podiatrist failed to properly inform him of alternatives to the procedure. Plaintiff contends as a result of the procedure he has been limited in his ability to walk, negotiate stairs and exercise. Defendant argued that more conservative treatment would not have been an effective treatment option. The jury rendered a defense verdict in favor of our client. (Supreme Court, Fulton County, March 2010).

Defense Verdict In Dental Malpractice Suit Involving Orthodontic Treatment

In this dental malpractice case, plaintiff sought orthodontic treatment from our client who recommended several teeth extractions and upper and lower braces. During the course of treatment, plaintiff developed significant issues regarding her gums, which was diagnosed as periodontal disease. Plaintiff then sought treatment from another orthodontist who changed her course of treatment. Plaintiff alleged that our client did not provide reasonable alternatives to the treatment, did not carry out the treatment plan and failed to address plaintiff’s periodontal issues. Our client argued that he did provide appropriate periodontal care and that plaintiff was comparatively negligent by failing to take care of her oral hygiene and by missing appointments. Defendant also argued that the subsequent treatment was not appropriate. The jury rendered a defense verdict in favor of our client. (Supreme Court, Schenectady County, June 2010).

Defense Verdict In Medical Malpractice OB-GYN Case Resulting In Amputation

We represented one of the defendants in this case, a doctor who performed a total abdominal hysterectomy on plaintiff. Following the procedure, plaintiff developed ischemia in both of her lower extremities and underwent a thrombectomy. During that operation, a fresh blood clot was found which could not be treated. Various blood studies indicated that the plaintiff had the lupus anticoagulant which caused her clotting condition. As a result of the alleged failure to diagnose and treat the plaintiff’s clotting disorder, the plaintiff developed gangrene in her lower extremities resulting in amputation. Plaintiff alleged various acts of negligence against our client, and co-defendant, but the jury returned a defense verdict. (Supreme Court, Onondaga County, November 2009).

Defense Verdict In Dental Malpractice Claim Involving Root Canal

We represented the dentist who performed a root canal on plaintiff. Plaintiff alleged that our client was negligent in failing to properly perform the root canal as he did not have the appropriate experience and training to perform a root canal on a calcified tooth and that he was negligent for failing to stop the procedure once he found out that the tooth was calcified, rendering the tooth unusable. Our client refuted these allegations and the jury rendered a defense verdict in favor of our client. (Supreme Court, Saratoga County, January 2008).

Defense Verdict In Suit Arising From Complications From Neurosurgical Procedure

The plaintiff was diagnosed with a colloid cyst and was referred to our client to determine whether the cyst could be removed endoscopically, who recommended that it could. During the procedure, it was determined that the cyst was inaccessible, so the endoscopy procedure was converted to an open craniotomy. Soon after the surgery, plaintiff suffered a stroke which left him with significant short-term and long-term cognitive impairment, memory loss and brain damage. Plaintiff alleged that our client was negligent in piercing the thalamus during the endoscopic portion of the procedure, failing to convert to the open surgery sooner resulting in complications causing the stroke, and failing to obtain informed consent. The jury rendered a defense verdict in favor of our client. (Supreme Court, Rensselaer County, December 2006).

Defense Verdict In Case Involve OB-GYN-Related Surgery

Plaintiff underwent a laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy performed by our client. Plaintiff claimed that defendant was negligent in deviating from the standard of care in failing to close a portal that was created during the surgery causing plaintiff to sustain a Richter’s hernia and other complications that led to three additional surgeries. Our client argued that he properly sutured the opening and that the Richter’s hernia was a post-surgical complication that occurred when the sutures came apart. The jury rendered a defense verdict. (Supreme Court, Schenectady County, December 2006).

Defense Verdict In Suit Arising From Treatment Of Hand Laceration

In this case, plaintiff injured himself while working with a table saw. Ultimately, plaintiff was diagnosed by our client with a nerve injury and was referred to a hand specialist. He had specialist diagnoses of a laceration of the ulnar nerve in plaintiff’s left hand and performed an unsuccessful sural nerve graft which left plaintiff with very little use of his left hand. Plaintiff alleged that our client was negligent in failing to diagnose and treat the ulnar nerve injury and in failing to immediately refer plaintiff to a hand surgeon. Ultimately, the jury returned a verdict in favor of our client. (Supreme Court, Delaware County, 2006).

Defense Verdict In Suit Arising From Complications From A Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

The plaintiff had uterine bleeding; doctors performed a laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy; afterward the plaintiff had small bowel obstruction and sued for surgical and medical malpractice. Our client refuted these allegations and the jury rendered a defense verdict. (Schenectady County Supreme Court, October 2006).

Defense Verdict In Oral Surgery/Dental Malpractice Claim

Plaintiff claimed inadequate surgical endodontic treatment; inadequate apicoectomy; and inadequate informed consent in this oral surgery/dental malpractice matter. Our client refuted these allegations and the jury rendered a defense verdict. (Albany County Supreme Court, June 2006).

Defense Verdict In Failure To Diagnose Case

Plaintiff alleged that our client failed to diagnose Crohn’s disease in an infant. Our client refuted these allegations and the jury rendered a defense verdict. (Schenectady County Supreme Court, January 2003).

Defense Verdict In Case Arising From A Slip And Fall On Ice In Parking Lot

Plaintiff alleged that she slipped and fell on ice in the parking lot of our client’s store causing her to sustain a fractured right wrist. At trial, we submitted the responding EMT report that had no mention of ice in the parking lot, and the testimony of the EMT who stated that if ice was present it would have been noted in his report. This evidence was sufficient to establish that there was no dangerous condition in the parking lot and the jury returned a verdict in favor of our client. (Supreme Court, Fulton County, September 2000).

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