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New York Law

Noteworthy Verdicts

G & J Partners Score Recent Jury Victories

All three partners, Andrew S. Garson, Louis E. Jakub, Jr., and Michael J. Morris recently achieved a trifecta of successful verdicts in challenging cases.

Orthopedic Surgeon Defense Victory – Michael Morris

March 2019 – Partner Michael Morris added to his longstanding list of courtroom victories with the successful defense of a prominent orthopedic surgeon alleged to have caused severe neurologic injury to a patient during performance of hip surgery. Plaintiff presented to our client for reconstructive surgery on his right hip, after a failed hip replacement procedure by another orthopedist. While our client’s surgery proceeded without complication, the patient experienced a severe neurologic problem due to sciatic nerve injury in the operative site, causing a “dropped foot”, shortly thereafter while in the recovery room.  Despite further surgical re-exploration, this condition did not resolve and is permanent.  Plaintiff experiences significant neurologic and leg deficits, including the inability to walk without assistive devices, difficulty standing, and is unable to perform many of his usual activities. Consequently, the plaintiff no longer is able to work as a manual laborer, and suffers daily in his foot and leg function.

Plaintiff’s counsel claimed our client was negligent in performance of the surgery, by  placing excessive tension on the nerve,  as demonstrated and documented in the further surgical findings after the injury was revealed.

Mr. Morris persuaded the jury that this injury was an accepted risk of the procedure, despite the untoward outcome, and the client performed the surgery at issue in a skillful and appropriate manner.  The jury accepted defendant’s position in this challenging case, finding that the orthopedist did not depart from accepted standards of medical practice during the operative procedure.

ANDREW GARSON RECENT WINS

Trauma Surgeon Defense Verdict – March 2019

In back-to-back victories the same week, a trial jury found in favor of an experienced trauma surgeon defended by our firm’s senior partner, Andrew Garson. This lawsuit had been transferred by the physician’s professional liability carrier to Mr. Garson for trial in Nassau County because of its challenging nature and difficult evidentiary issues. Despite six separate jury interrogatories of claimed medical malpractice, the jury found in favor of our client on all of plaintiff’s contentions.

This patient was a 54 year old attorney and corporate businessman, who experienced a rupture and perforation of his gastrointestinal tract when he presented to an emergency room where our client was on call. Emergency surgery was performed repairing this condition, which required a diverting colostomy for healing. The colostomy was reversed and further exploratory surgery was performed weeks later. However, plaintiff became increasingly ill and debilitated, due to another unrecognized hole in the bowel, causing fecal leakage and massive infection. Conservative medical management was administered, but plaintiff’s condition did not improve. Disgruntled, plaintiff’s family discharged our client and transferred him to another hospital where additional surgeries were performed. The plaintiff eventually recovered after a lengthy convalescence.

At trial, plaintiff presented numerous theories of negligence, including improper surgical technique, negligently causing further injuries to the GI tract, failing to perform necessary diagnostic studies, concealing the true nature of what occurred during surgery and postoperative care, and fraudulent handling of medical records. Plaintiff’s counsel not only sought significant compensation for pain and suffering, but asserted there was gross negligence, and punitive damages should be awarded.

The defense was based upon the complex medical nature of plaintiff’s presenting condition, and the recognized risks of surgery on the GI tract, which can result in unfortunate complications in the most skillful of surgical hands. In this regard, the testimony established the client’s extensive experience in performing similar surgeries for several decades.

The jury adopted the defense points presented by Mr. Garson, and determined that our client had rendered all treatment in a proper manner, denying plaintiff any recovery. This was another favorable jury verdict added to Mr. Garson’s numerous successful results in more than four decades of trial practice.

Nurse Successfully Defended for Alleged Scald Burning

This case was a resounding courtroom victory in Orange County, NY, wherein Mr. Garson successfully defended a nurse in a civil professional negligence case. On April 18, 2014, a Supreme Court jury in New York’s Orange County returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the firms’ client, a nurse previously convicted of felony endangerment, and served a prison term, for allegedly “scald burning” a twelve year old child with cerebral palsy who was under her care. (The case details are described in the listing of Mr. Garson’s jury trial reports – click here.)

Plaintiff’s counsel has pursued all legal remedies to reverse the jury verdict and enter judgment in their client’s favor. However, they have been defeated at every level—the Trial Judge denied plaintiff’s motion to vacate the jury verdict; the Appellate Division Second Department affirmed the Trial Judge’s decision as well as the basis for the jury’s verdict; and New York’s highest Court of Appeals recently denied review. This is now a final determination in favor of our client, who had lost her nursing license as well as her reputation. She is now seeking a vacatur of her conviction, in which the Second Department recently ordered a hearing. This has been one of Mr. Garson’s most gratifying cases in his career, and is quite unique on the facts and law as discussed at some length in the case reports.

LOUIS JAKUB RECENT WINS

Radiologist Defended In Foreign Object Case

Rockland County, NY October 2018. Partner Louis Jakub successfully defended a New York radiologist accused of negligently failing to diagnose the presence of a fractured catheter in a patient’s heart when he interpreted chest CT scans. Medi-port catheter was used for medication administration and its’ distal tip fractured, migrated and became lodged in the patient’s right atrium allegedly causing life-threatening palpitations and an arrhythmia. Plaintiff claimed the radiologist’s failure to identify it’s presence over a 2 ½ year time period allowed it to become embedded in scar tissue preventing its removal and leaving he plaintiff in a constant state of fear of sudden death due to fatal arrhythmia. Mr. Jakub demonstrated that the radiologist’s interpretation of the images was reasonable under the circumstances as images of the heart were obscured by motion artifact and the use of contrast. He also challenged the veracity of plaintiff’s claim that the foreign object could not be removed and that the patient was at risk for sudden death.

Mock Trial Demonstration At RUMC

Garson & Jakub Present Mock Trial To Hospital Staff

Senior Partners Andrew Garson and Louis Jakub presented a “mock trial” to the physicians, nursing staff and risk management staff at Richmond University Medical Center on March 23, 2018. The medical professionals at this hospital were exposed to the challenges, intensity and pitfalls of trial testimony in a medical malpractice case through a fact pattern based on an actual case involving an emergency department presentation of necrotizing fasciitis, a delayed diagnosis and a lower extremity amputation. Hospital staff volunteered to participate as witnesses and were subjected to direct and cross examination presided over by retired Staten Island retired Judge Anthony Giaccobe.

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