Editor’s Choice: Jury Awards Edition
• Bad vaccine prompts jury to return $12.6 million verdict for teen amputee. Charles Patrick represented a Florida teen, Shaniah Rolle, in a medical malpractice lawsuit arising from an expired vaccine she was given 13 years ago. Rolle’s medical problems as a newborn required removal of her spleen, and during a routine exam, she was given a vaccine to help fend off infections that her spleen would have helped keep in check. The vaccine was expired. Months later, Rolle developed gangrene due to complications from a bacterial infection, and all of her limbs were amputated.
The parties disputed who was responsible for the infection leading to the amputations. Rolle claimed that the medication error of giving her expired vaccine was to blame, while the defendants claimed Rolle’s mother failed to give her prescribed medication. The jury found Rolle’s mother 40 percent at fault, and the judge will adjust the jury’s award. The defendants are expected to file an appeal.
The case is an important reminder that there’s no guarantee for even preventive, routine or simple medical procedures and treatment. Learn more about medical malpractice lawsuits, and find a lawyer to review questions you may have about claims related to your medical care.
• Florida jury returns $3.5 million award in daycare sex abuse case. Attorney Jeff Herman represented the family of a girl, now 9 years old, who suffered sexual abuse by the teenage son of the daycare center’s director. Herman explained that the law didn’t fall short in the case, rather the daycare center just failed to follow laws meant to keep daycare centers safe for the children and families they serve.
The girl’s family filed suit in civil court against the daycare center in 2009 after the girl was molested several times in 2008. The family claimed that the center failed to provide proper supervision for the children in its care and ensure their safety. The attacks took place during the children’s required nap time. The daycare center faces two other lawsuits related to alleged sexual abuse, one from a child claiming abuse, and another from a child who witnessed abuse.
Learning that a child has been mistreated while entrusted to a care provider is traumatic for any family. Learn more about personal injury lawsuits, and find a personal injury attorney who can help you get the answers, protection, and justice that the law is intended to provide.
• Post-surgery pain ends with jury’s $1.5 million award. Brian Gaverick of Frackville, Pennsylvania had pain in his leg after undergoing calf implant surgery, but it wasn’t normal; the pain was a warning sign – compartment syndrome had set in. Compartment syndrome is condition in which increased pressure in a muscle can lead to muscle and nerve damage and, if left untreated, limb amputation. Gaverick alleged that his doctor, Robert Kimmel, made mistakes in performing the procedure. The jury found that Dr. Kimmel failed to diagnose and treat Gaverick’s complications in a timely manner, and awarded him $550,000 for lost earnings, $550,000 for noneconomic losses, and $400,000 for permanent scarring.
Gaverick sought the implants to improve his appearance and his business as a personal trainer and body builder, but started experiencing severe pain shortly after he was discharged from the hospital after surgery. Now Gaverick doesn’t work, suffers from permanent scarring and nerve damage, doesn’t wear shorts, and stays home due to embarrassment over his disfigurement.
Sudhir Patel, Gaverick’s attorney, praised the jury for their service given the 5-day trial and the medical evidence in the case. Patel cautioned that even though the jury’s award was good, Gaverick suffered and will have to live with his losses for life.
Medical malpractice cases are often complex – in this case, one issue was whether Gaverick gave informed consent for the surgery (the jury found that he did) – and can take time to resolve (Gaverick had surgery on October 18, 2002.) Time limits apply to your possible claims as well and vary from state to state. When you have questions about medical malpractice, reach out to a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible, and take charge of getting well and getting answers in your case.
• Delayed surgery prompts Indiana jury’s $1.4 million verdict in medical malpractice case. Following a delay in abdominal surgery in 2003, Michelle Fischer, then 21 years old, was left with short bowel syndrome, a condition in which nutrients are not properly absorbed into the body, after most of her small intestine was removed. Fischer’s attorney, Pete Palmer, explained that the standard of care to operate in a timely fashion wasn’t met. The jury’s award was one of the largest ever returned in a medical malpractice case in Floyd and Clark counties in Indiana, where the lawsuit was initially filed and where the trial was held.
Fischer will only receive $1.25 million because of Indiana damage caps in medical malpractice lawsuits. Medical malpractice claims must be reviewed by an independent review panel before a lawsuit can be filed, and the 3-doctor panel agreed to allow the case to proceed. Fischer, who is now 30 years old, initially saw Dr. William Garner III for a surgical consultation due to abdominal pain. Dr. Garner scheduled surgery, but cancelled upon seeing Fischer the next morning. Garner left town for the weekend, and Fischer’s condition quickly deteriorated. A different surgeon performed emergency surgery, and found that most of Fischer’s small bowel was dead (ischemic bowel disease). Since the surgery, Fischer has lost her once-active lifestyle, and fights metabolic and other health problems due to the loss of much of her digestive tract.
• Jury awards $843,944 for boy’s injuries in bus stop accident. Richard Yang was 10 years old in May, 2008 when he was struck by a van as he tried to get on his school bus in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. The complaint in the lawsuit alleged that Richard was following directions from the bus driver to cross the road when the accident happened. Richard’s injuries were severe, and included hip, leg and rib fractures and a traumatic brain injury.
The Yang’s attorney, Tom Guelzow, announced the jury’s award, which followed a week-long trial. The Yangs also sued the van’s driver, and reached a settlement with the insurers for the driver and van owner for the limits of their liability insurance, which was $50,000 each. Sorting out who is responsible after a traffic accident is no simple matter, and there might be more than one party liable for your losses. Learn more about auto accidents, and find a personal injury lawyer to help you review your possible claim.
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- Lawsuit over accident in stone-fabricating shop ends with $7 million settlement for shop worker
- $2 million settlement in Giants Stadium escalator accident case
- Car dealership to pay $150,000 to employees on claims for race discrimination, harassment and retaliation
- Parents claim Minnesota violates privacy laws by collecting DNA samples from newborns
- Former police chief gets $75,000 in wrongful termination lawsuit