Dennis M. Donnelly, represented a family of a birth injury case consisting
of severe medical malpractice when delayed childbirth and the failure
to monitor resulted in a severe brain injury, Cerebral Palsy.
Dennis M. Donnelly, represented a family of Indian decent in this wrongful
birth action. Early in the pregnancy the treating obstetrician ran a blood
test on the mother, which showed an abnormal hemoglobin marker and other
abnormalities. The expecting mother was incorrectly diagnosed as anemic
and later gave birth to a son. Shortly after the child's birth, he
was diagnosed as having Thalassemia major, a genetic blood disorder. His
condition necessitates that he undergo blood transfusions every couple
of weeks, as well as chelation therapy and other treatment. He also already
had a painful bone marrow transplant, which required months of hospitalization,
and failed to improve his condition. A life care plan projected $5,600,000
of extraordinary lifetime care costs, which are the measure of the child's
damages for wrongful birth in New Jersey. The couple and their child sued
the obstetrician, alleging she should have performed a hemoglobin electrophoresis
test to rule out the Thalassemia blood disorder in light of the prior
abnormal blood test results and the couple's Indian heritage. That
would have led to testing the father, and after those blood tests it would
have been reveled that both parents were carriers of the Thalassemia gene.
Furthermore, amniocentesis would have revealed that their son was destined
to be born with the dreaded disease. The plaintiffs asserted that according
to the guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,
patients of Mediterranean descent require this special workup (hemoglobin
electrophoresis) because they are at higher risk for genetic blood disorders.
Had the disorder been diagnosed at an early stage of the pregnancy, the
couple could have chosen to terminate the pregnancy.The jury rejected
the defense that the parents who had fertility treatment to get pregnant,
would not have terminated the pregnancy even if a diagnosis had been made.
They awarded $6,000,000 for lifetime care costs and $4,000,000 to each
parent for their lifetime emotional distress, for a gross verdict of $14,000,000.
Dennis Donnelly obtained a 4.6 million settlement for a scrap-metal yardmaster
whose legs were severed during a railroad accident. The 47-year-old client,
who was removing scrap metal between rails, was not aware that employees
of Conrail were trying to hitch two rail cars. In backing up a rail car
in an attempt to connect the two cars, the client was run over.
After years of exhaustive research and thousands of hours of work, Dennis
Donnelly, settled a case involving complex issues of medical malpractice.
In an especially tragic case, a newborn infant's neck was broken during
a forceps delivery. After years of persistent investigation and thorough
research, Dennis Donnelly, was able to establish clear evidence of negligence
by the obstetrician who was responsible for the horrible injuries to the
infant and devastating consequences for the entire family. While no amount
of money could make the family whole, after Donnelly meticulously prepared
every detail for trial, the Bergen County Superior Court approved a $4.5
million settlement on March 22, 1996.
A young father was killed by an explosion while pumping a flammable chemical
into a recirculating pump on his employer's truck. Attorney Dennis
Donnelly determined through investigation that the pump was defective
and the manufacturer was sued. The surviving spouse and two children have
already received annuities which will pay them $3.9 million over their
lifetimes. In addition, a claim against the bulk chemical facility for
its violation of safety standards is still pending.
In the spring of 1998, 31-year-old plaintiff presented to the Ob/Gyn practice
of Dr. Stuart Miro and Dr. Judith Stavis, Miro & Stavis, M.D., P.C.
in Pomona, N.Y. She was interested in becoming pregnant and the doctors
gave her advice. In autumn 1998, she became pregnant and continued seeking
the services of Miro and Stavis for the management of her pregnancy. Miro
and Stavis followed the pregnancy throughout its course. The plaintiff
mother claimed that the pregnancy was notable in that she had early first
trimester bleeding; in that she consulted with Miro and Stavis because
she did not feel that she was gaining enough weight or looked right; and
that in her third trimester, she experienced heavy bleeding. The plaintiff
mother had two early ultrasounds which were reported by Miro and Stavis
as "normal" and a third ultrasound at approximately 20 weeks
which she testified was also reported to her as normal. The plaintiff
mother was last seen by Stavvis at a routine office visit on April 22,
1999. She claimed that she was informed at that time that everything was
normal. In May 1999, in her third trimester, the plaintiff mother and
her husband, were on the Jersey shore when she began to bleed profusely.
She called Miro and Stavis and was told to report to the local emergency
room. After doing so, the plaintiff mother was transferred to a larger
facility, Jersey Shore Medical Center, where she received her first indication
that her child had Intra-Uterine Growth Retardation (IUGR), meaning that
the child was abnormally small and could be severely chromosomally defective.
The plaintiff mother was transferred to the Westchester County Medical
Center in Valhalla, N.Y., where she was admitted on May 21. At that institution,
an amniocentesis was performed - the first one of the plaintiff mother's
pregnancy - which revealed that the baby was chromosomally damaged. However,
it was not until a second amniocentesis result was obtained a few days
before she gave birth that she learned the baby would suffer from Wolf-Hirschhorn
Syndrome, manifested by mental retardation, physical disfigurement, hearing
loss, inability to speak, respiratory difficulties and feeding difficulties,
among other problems. The plaintiff mother remained hospitalized and under
strict bed rest and medication until she delivered on June 11, 1999. Her
child, thereafter spent about two months in the medical center himself;
an additional two months at Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla,
N.Y.; and has since been institutionalized at St. Margaret's Center
in Albany, N.Y.The parents sued Dr. Miro, Dr. Stavis and their practice.
They made a claim of wrongful birth, arguing that the plaintiff mother
did not receive the standard of care necessary to properly monitor her
pregnancy; that has she received the standard of care, under the circumstances,
she would have been alerted to the fact that she was carrying a badly
chromosomally damaged child; and that had she received that information
in time to effect a termination, she would have. The parents specifically
claimed that they should have been told that the bleeding for several
weeks during the first trimester meant that there was a small possibility
of chromosome damage. In addition, at some 12 to 14 weeks into her pregnancy,
the plaintiff mother claimed that she was given inappropriate advice about
Alpha Fetal Protein Testing, which she was told was not necessary because
she was young and healthy. The plaintiff mother also claimed that at her
20th week, she had an ultrasound which indicated that there was a two-week
discrepancy in what the doctors had assumed was her due date based upon
her last menstrual period and the development of the child. The parents
alleged, and the defense expert obstetrician conceded, that if there were
a two-week discrepancy in "dating" that this would be a "red
flag" and a very important finding which should be followed up. The
ultrasonographer's report showed a two-week developmental delay, but
the plaintiff mother claimed that she was never told, nor was she informed
of the need for a two-week follow-up ultrasound at approximately 22 weeks.
If she had had the follow-up ultrasound, the defendants conceded that
it would likely have shown "an additional fall-off in size and weight"
and that this, too, could have led to the diagnosis of IUGR in a timely
fashion. Stavis claimed that the plaintiff mother was told to return for
a 22-week ultrasound and that she failed to appear for the test. Another
of the ways in which "dating" is monitored by obstetricians
is by the measurements of fundal heights, which are taken routinely by
the doctor during pregnancy. The defendants' records had no indication
that fundal heights measurements were taken during the plaintiff mother's
pregnancy. The defendants claimed that they did not take the fundal heights
by measurement, which the parents claimed is the convention, but by finger
widths, and that in any event they only chart fundal heights if they are
abnormal. They also claimed that in their case they were always "normal"
and there was no need to chart them. Neither of the defendants had any
recollection of the plaintiff mother as a patient at the time of trial,
and thus they testified only to what their general practice was at the
time of her treatment and based on their office records. The doctors claimed
that they believed that the plaintiff mother would have never terminated
the pregnancy under any circumstances, anyway. The child suffered from
profound mental retardation, physical disfigurement, hearing loss, inability
to speak, respiratory difficulties and feeding difficulties, among other
problems.The child has been confined at St. Margaret's Center in Albany,
N.Y., since he was approximately four months old and all sides conceded
that he will stay there for the remainder of his life. Under New York
Law, in a wrongful birth case, the only damages that are permissible are
for the maintenance of the child from birth to 21 years of age. The defense
did not contest the child's life expectancy up to 21 years. A Rockland
County, New York jury found that both defendants departed from good medical
practice in their management of the pregnancy. The parties had previously
stipulated that in the case of a plaintiff's verdict, the damages
awarded would be $3.84 million.
Dennis Donnelly represented a man who was paralyzed when the SUV he was
riding in rolled over on a highway after to lost control. The driver of
the SUV said that it began to fishtail after a slight lane correction.
The unexpected loss of directional control caused ever increasing yaws
(sliding of the back end of the vehicle). After several maneuvers, the
SUV rolled over on the road way. During the roll the SUV's roof structure
completely collapsed driving into the head of the man and fracturing his
spine. As with many accidents and injuries there was more than one cause
for this one. In fact, it's been recognized good practice by the auto
industry for more than 2 decades to design cars to deal with pre-crash,
during-crash and post-crash events that could cause injury to the people
who buy their cars. Dennis uncovered the fact that a key safety technology
- Electronic Stability Control or "ESC" - was planned and tested
for inclusion in the SUV by the company's engineers but was never
installed. We worked with a team of engineers to retrofit and test the
same SUV with the company's existing ESC system to show that it was
an inexpensive and easy fix that would have prevented the rollover from
ever occurring, but Dennis did not stop there. He also worked with another
team of engineers to show that the SUV's roof was so weak that it
failed recognized industry strength tests. While the manufacturer argued
that the roof met the minimum government standard, Dennis proved that
it could be made much safer by the addition of steel costing only a few
dollars. The case settled prior to trial for $3.75 million.
Dennis Donnelly, and Abraham Milgraum represented the estate of a young
up and coming fashion model whose life and career came to a tragic end
when the taxi cab she was riding in was struck in the rear and burst into
flames while stalled on the New Jersey Turnpike. Like many of our cases
this case involved several layers of responsibility which lead to the
young woman's death. The manufacturer of the cab designed a defective
vehicle that should not have burst into flames but did. Our investigation
also showed that the taxi cab had stalled more than 8 times that day and
when it stalled for the 9th and last time the driver left the cab with
the young woman in it sitting in the fast lane of the New Jersey Turnpike.
Documents found during the case showed that the vehicle had a history
of problems and testimony revealed that the cab company forced the driver
to take the vehicle out even though it was not operating properly. The
team of lawyers and paralegals working on this case navigated the complex
maze of liability and successfully resolved the matter against all parties
for a total recovery of $3.75 million dollars.
In 1984 caused a previously healthy three year-old to suffer seizures
which left her profoundly retarded and spastic.When Dennis Donnelly began
representing the family of the three year-old in 1991, he undertook years
of investigation, taking depositions and consulting with experts across
the country, to establish the negligence of both the manufacturer and
distributors of Theospan 65.In 1984 the child was a perfectly healthy
Ocean County toddler. The family's doctor prescribed the drug Theospan
65 for treatment of a cold. As a result, she suffered a severe and prolonged
seizure which left her profoundly retarded and spastic. For years her
parents could not understand what had happened. Finally, in February 1991,
the parents saw a program about the dangers of Theospan on ABC's magazine
show "Prime Time Live." This was the first clue they had that
their daughter's condition could have been caused by misuse of Theospan.
Despite warnings in new guidelines issued by the FDA regarding the use
of Theophylline and Theospan in 1982 and 1983, doctors prescribing Theophylline
and its derivatives, commonly used to treat asthma and bronchitis, the
manufacturers and distributors of the drug did not inform doctors about
the dangers of this drug, including warnings that the drug was not safe
for children under five years old. The distributor, Laser, Inc., failed
to update warning literature to doctors. Prior to Donnelly obtaining the
settlement, a trial had been scheduled for June 1996. The $3.5 million
settlement will finally compensate and provide the family with the resources
to give their child, now fourteen years old, with the special care she
will always need. Donnelly continues to monitor cases involving misuse
of Theospan. In 1994, he was named head of the Theophylline Litigation Group.
Our team obtained a verdict in a wrongful death case involving medical
malpractice in the form of a delayed diagnosis of cancer.
Failure to prenatally diagnose a cardiac defect known as Hypoplastic Left
Heart Syndrome Note: $3,000,000 divided between parents and child who
both were represented by different counsel. Senior partner Dennis Donnelly
was lead counsel in this wrongful birth failure in prenatal diagnosis
claim against a radiologist, an ultrasound technician and their group.
The mother had a routine prenatal ultrasound during this pregnancy in
which Dennis showed that the technical performance of the ultrasound by
the technician fell below the standard of care. Additionally, the radiologist
had the ultimate responsibility to review the images he signed off on
and yet failed to recognize the cardiac abnormality and/or recall the
patient for re-scanning. Moreover, if he had any doubts about his own
expertise in cardiac defects, then the standard of care would have called
for him to secure an immediate referral to a fetal echocardiography unit
within a few days. Due to the failures of both defendants, the plaintiffs
did not receive a prenatal diagnosis and lost the option to terminate
the pregnancy. Less than 1 week after birth, the infant underwent complex
cardiac surgery and within a year had the 2nd phase of that cardiac surgery.
Additional medical complications included necrotizing enterocolitis, Gastroesophageal
reflux disease (GERD) with failure to thrive, G-tube placement and other
severe medical complications requiring chronic medical follow-up for the
rest of his life and the risk of developing multiple further complications
associated with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. This case also involved
a potential medical lien of millions of dollars due to the multiple cardiac
surgeries the infant required, however, the employer of the child’s
father agreed to waive the entire lien so that the child could instead
use this settlement for lifetime future care.Finally, the case was notable
because it was referred to Dennis to act as counsel for the parents, while
referring counsel also represented the child. This permits 2 counsel and
equalizes jury challenges with the 2 defense attorneys. Finally, one of
the reasons the case settled was that Dennis was able to compel both the
defendant radiologist and the defendant ultrasound technician to be deposed
a second time and answer questions at deposition about what the images
they had interpreted did or did not show. The settlement exhausted the
policy limits of the radiologist and also included another 1 million dollars
from the ultrasound tech’s coverage.
Dennis Donnelly settled this medical malpractice case for a Hudson County
man who suffered a severe brain injury as a result of medical malpractice
for a total of $2,800,000.Plaintiff, a 50 year-old married man and the
father of two daughters, presented to the emergency room in April of 2007
with complaints of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness. He was diagnosed
with hyponatremia: a metabolic condition in which there is not enough
sodium or salt in the body. That condition, if properly treated, should
result in no long term problems. However, plaintiff's hyponatremia
was negligently treated by over-rapid correction resulting in central
pontine myelinolysis, a severe brain injury resulting in the destruction
of the myelin sheath that covers nerve cells which prevents signals from
being properly transmitted from one nerve to another. That brain injury
initially caused the plaintiff to become comatose, requiring a tracheostomy
and feeding tube. After two lengthy stays in acute rehabilitation facilities,
the tracheostomy and feeding tubes were removed, however, the plaintiff
required then and still requires extensive physical and occupational therapies
and is confined to a wheelchair due to his brain injury. Plaintiff also
suffers from extremely dysarthric speech, similar to a stroke victim,
and has decreased cognitive function, including inappropriate and compulsive
behavior. Plaintiff has been unable to return to work since that April
2007 hospitalization, and continues to require assistance with all activities
of daily living. After retaining multiple experts and conducting all necessary
pre-trial discovery including dozens of depositions, in the fall of 2011
a settlement was reached with the defendant-nephrologist, who was responsible
for the management of plaintiff's sodium correction, for that doctor's
policy limits of $2,000,000 A trial against the remaining defendants commenced
in the late winter of 2012. After several days of testimony, plaintiffs
accepted an additional settlement of $800,000 from his treating gastroenterologist
and an emergency room nurse for improper treatment including improper
hand off procedures.
Dennis M. Donnelly, represented the estate of a 54 year-old woman who
died from intra-operative hemorrhaging during the negligent performance
of a hysterectomy. The woman left surviving, her husband and four children.
The claims included the negligent performance of the surgery by the surgeon
(which settled for $750,000 due to problems with his insurance). The surgery
lasted for 15 hours and the woman lost half of her blood supply before
she died during the procedure. Claims were also made against the hospital
with regard to negligence in the administrative supervision and oversight
by the hospital, in allowing the surgeon to practice after he should have
been suspended for multiple prior problems with aggressive and dangerous
surgical methods. Through comprehensive investigation, Mr. Donnelly determined
that additional claims were warranted against the surgeon's former
employer/hospital and its surgical department's chairman, for failing
to provide extremely negative peer reviews of the surgeon's methods
to the hospital where the plaintiff's surgery was performed. The prior
employing hospital claimed that it was not incumbent upon them to supply
the critically needed information with regard to the shortcomings and
dangerous nature of the surgeon's methods. It was this lack of reasonable
and necessary communication which played a role in the surgeon being permitted
to perform surgery upon the plaintiff, resulting in her death. Mr. Donnelly
settled the claims against the hospital where the procedure was performed
for an additional $2,000,000.
Senior partner Dennis Donnelly settled this wrongful birth failure in
prenatal diagnosis claim against the mother's treating obstetricians.
Routine prenatal blood work including hemoglobin electrophoresis confirmed
that the mother had beta thalassemia, meaning she was a carrier of the
disease. Unfortunately, her less than knowledgeable obstetrician made
the common but unsupported mistake of assuming her blood values only reflected
benign anemia during pregnancy despite the fact that the mother and father
were Italian Americans and the results were instead consistent with the
mother being a thalassemia carrier. Despite continued obstetrical visits,
no further evaluation was performed by the obstetricians, and they did
not recommend that the father be tested to ascertain his carrier status.
Late in the pregnancy, the mother transferred her care to a new obstetrician
who immediately recognized the error, had the father tested and referred
the mother for a maternal fetal medicine consult. Tragically, that came
too late for acting on that advice. Had that procedure been followed by
her first obstetricians, the mother could have proceeded with amniocentesis
and received a diagnosis in time to allow her the option to terminate
the pregnancy. The infant was born with thalassemia major and her chronic
anemia was so severe, at less than 3 months of age she began to receive
blood transfusions every 4 weeks. In addition to transfusions, lifelong
monitoring and medications to prevent iron overload will also be required.
Armed with the knowledge that they were carriers, the parents chose IVF
implantation with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to assure that future
children would not be afflicted with this disease. The settlement was
for just below the policy limits and came despite defense attempts to
argue that the parents could still have terminated in other states or
allegedly even in New Jersey after 24 weeks gestation.
Senior Partner, Dennis M. Donnelly represented clients in a wrongful-birth
case against two obstetrician gynecologists (OB/Gyn), and a radiologist.
An Essex County jury awarded $1.5 million in damages on the claims surrounding
the OB/Gyn care, bringing the plaintiffs' recovery to $2.5 million.
Our clients claimed that her treating OB/Gyns failed to perform a prenatal
alpha-fetoprotein blood test (AFP test) during the prenatal period to
detect spina bifida, (an incomplete closure of the spine). Proper testing
would have found the defect, allowing her to end the pregnancy. Our clients'
daughter, due to this significant birth defect, had back and brain surgery
a week after her birth in 2002. Currently, she is incontinent and wears
orthotics on her ankles and feet. Our client had consented to the AFP
test, but, somehow, because of failures in the doctors' follow-up,
it was not performed. Prior to trial, Mr. Donnelly had settled the claims
against a treating radiologist for $1,000,000 That radiologist failed
to take prenatal ultrasound views which would have shown signs of spina bifida.
Senior Partner Dennis Donnelly represented the estate and family of a
41 year-old electrician who was electrocuted when high voltage current
arched from an electrical substation which he was inspecting. The electrician
subsequently died from his electrical burns after surviving for 52 days.
Despite uncertainty as to the exact circumstances which lead to the arc
which electrocuted the electrician, through years of discovery depositions
and expert evaluation Dennis was able to establish that several defendants
were negligent in failing to shut off power prior to the plaintiff’s
inspection of the substation, and/or in failing to mandate safer inspection
procedures and to provide a safe work platform. The multi-party settlement
was paid by the owner of the substation, the designer of the sub-station
upgrade who failed to provide a safe work platform, the general contractor
who ordered and supervised the inspection, and another contractor who
was involved in an earlier re-routing of power, yet failed to provide
for shut down-lock out procedures thereafter. In order to overcome a vigorous
defense that the Plaintiff electrician must have reached into the cabinet
and caused the arc himself, Dennis used an electrical burn causation specialist
who was able to show that the electrician’s burns were inconsistent
with that defense scenario, and instead occurred when the arc erupted
from the substation and burned him, even though he was inspecting the
station from what would normally be a safe distance.
Dennis Donnelly represented an 18 year-old, a brand new driver who sustained
a permanent brain injury after being struck by a poorly designed and unsafe
airbag, when it deployed from a low-speed collision which she caused.
Cars can be unsafe, at any speed, and thus legally uncrashworthy, when
poorly designed safety devices cause rather than prevent death and brain
damage in low-speed accidents. Dennis has handled such claims for many
years, and were able to prove after years of complex and expensive discovery
and expert analysis, that a defective airbag on her first car will cause
a high school "Miss Congeniality" winner to battle the aftermath
of a closed head brain injury for the rest of her life. Their client was
seat belted, and the police were shocked to find her in a coma after a
15 mile per hour impact. It was only after years of investigation and
expert analysis that Dennis was able to prove that the airbag that was
supposed to save her, actually caused her brain injury. Through extensive
work with 3 different automotive airbag design and performance experts,
Dennis was also able to discover that the manufacturer of the vehicle
experimented with an oversimplified airbag sensor design in an effort
to save money; even though that same manufacturer used a better design
in its other vehicles that would have prevented this young woman's
injury, by not firing the airbag upon impact at such a slow rate of speed.
Mr. Donnelly settled this case for $2,300,000.
Senior partner Dennis Donnelly settled this failure in prenatal diagnosis
claim on behalf of the mother and her infant daughter. During her pregnancy
in 2007- 2008, the mother underwent an ultrasound known as a second trimester
anatomical survey which was improperly read as normal. The defendant maternal
fetal medicine specialist failed to appreciate abnormal anatomy on the
mother's prenatal ultrasound which would have led to further testing
and a prenatal diagnosis of Treacher Collins Syndrome, a devastating craniofacial
birth defect. Her daughter was born with multiple abnormalities including
abnormal ear placement and deafness, micrognathia or extremely small jaw,
cleft palate and other facial deformities. The child has undergone multiple
corrective surgeries including tracheostomy and a feeding tube, and will
require additional surgeries in the future. As a result of the defendants'
failures, the plaintiff was deprived of a prenatal diagnosis and choice
to terminate the pregnancy. Mr. Donnelly further assisted the mother after
the settlement in obtaining an annuity and setting up a Special Needs
Trust to help the mother pay for her daughter's lifetime medical costs.
Senior Partner, Dennis Donnelly, won a 2.25 million dollar verdict on
behalf of a year old boy born with Erb's Palsy. The plaintiff's
mother was a 35 year old woman who had two prior miscarriages and became
pregnant late in 1997 by in vitro fertilization. This pregnancy was complicated
by severe gestational diabetes and the risk of preecclampsia. Therefore,
she was referred to a high risk perinatologist who practices in a group
of regular OB-GYNs. Dr. David Hollander was the perinatologist, an obstetrician
with additional training in high risk pregnancies, who skillfully and
carefully managed Diana's first full term pregnancy. At 17 weeks,
he took a baseline ultrasound that showed normal growth, with the baby's
head and stomach showing equal symmetrical growth. After that, in January,
he and his group managed the mom's diabetes, which went out of control,
requiring a one month hospitalization and thereafter IV insulin for better
control. Although he did not recall it, the target defendant, Dr. Theodore
Cohen, who was the group covering doctor who delivered her baby when her
membranes ruptured early at 36 weeks on March 13, 1998, had seen Diana
once during her diabetes hospitalization. Therefore, he was aware of her
diabetic status. Thereafter, in February and early March of 1998, one
other member of the group and the primary managing perinatologist, Dr.
Hollander, noticed the beginning of disproportionate growth of the baby.
They carefully documented in an ultrasound report and ultrasound polaroids
capturing measurements of the head ( head circumference ) and the stomach
(abdominal circumference ), the disproportionate growth of the baby's
trunk in comparison to it's head. Such disproportionate growth is
a recognized risk of diabetes and insulin treatment of the mom during
pregnancy. When it occurs, there is a substantially increased risk of
injury during delivery to nerves in the the baby's shoulder and neck
which allow normal, full use of the hand on that side. That injury, commonly
known as Erb's Palsy, is caused by traction and tearing if nerves
as the delivering doctor exerts force to free the stuck shoulder and pull
the baby's trunk out after the mother has delivered the head . Shoulder
Dystocia, a shoulder impacted and stuck behind the mom's symphysis
pubis can occur with smaller, proportionally grown babies, for unknown
reasons, and in those cases the primary issue is whether the obstetrician
used excessive force or panicked in the emergency created when the shoulders
couldn't be delivered naturally, and caused the injury that way. However,
here, the primary issue was the covering doctor's failure to appreciate
the advanced warning of this risk and deliver the baby by c-section. The
plaintiff maintained that Dr. Cohen allowed her to first sit in the hospital
for 10 hours after she experienced PROM, premature rupture of the membranes,
and then talked her into a trial of labor for 14-16 hours the next day
on March 14, and that he did that without ever reviewing her prenatal
chart and appreciating all the ultrasound and clinical evidence of an
enormous disproportion in the growth of the baby's trunk which substantially
increased the risk that did materialize in this delivery: Shoulder Dystocia
and an Erb's Palsy when he forced the baby's upper trunk out of
the pelvis after it had been stuck at the shoulders. The infant plaintiff
has undergone 3 major surgeries at the three most prominent centers for
surgical attempts to improve arm function despite or after an Erb's
Palsy birth injury. At approximately age 1 he underwent extensive nerve
transfer surgery at the Children's Hospital in Miami by Dr. Grossman.
At age 2½ he underwent extensive muscle transfer in Texas from
Dr. Nath. Thereafter at age 4 he underwent extensive bone repair of the
misalignment of his humerus and shoulder joint, which was a natural progression
of his birth injury, performed by Dr. Waters in Boston.
Senior partner Dennis Donnelly has successfully settled the claims of
a surviving husband and 4 children that negligent administrative supervision
and oversight by a hospital of an oncological gynecology surgeon allowed
him to practice after he should have been suspended for multiple prior
problems, and, that such failure led to the death of their 52 year-old
wife/mother during surgery. The claim was also settled against the estate
of the surgeon, who later died from unrelated causes for an additional
confidential amount. The claim currently continues against another hospital
which previously employed the same surgeon, and, failed to disclose even
earlier similar problems with the same surgeon to his subsequent employers,
and, instead, gave him a positive letter of recommendation.
Senior partner, Dennis Donnelly, represented the estate and family of
a young father who was traveling in his 1993 minivan with his wife and
two children. He was killed in a crash in which he should have survived,
after being trapped by his steering wheel. He and his wife bought that
particular minivan based upon the manufacturer’s representations
that it was safer than other minivans available. Unfortunately, in this
offset crash, at clearly survivable speeds, this particular model of minivan
experienced massive failure of its occupant compartment or survival space.
Since the late 1960's motor vehicle manufacturers have accepted that
every vehicle is built around a “safety cage” which forms
the backbone of every vehicle’s safety system. That safety cage,
which is also referred to as a non-encroachment zone or survival space,
is the last line of defense for passengers in a crash. Nevertheless, car
manufacturers have continued to take shortcuts in vehicle development
and testing; shortcuts which have left many cars with serious weaknesses
in the safety cage structure which are not discovered until someone is
injured or killed. While many manufacturers comprehensively test their
vehicle structures, some companies only do the smallest amount of testing
required to pass minimum federal safety standards requirements. The result
is that some vehicles can perform very well in common accident scenarios,
while others do very poorly because they were never tested to see how
they would perform in some of the most common types of accidents.
An Essex County jury awarded $1.575 million on Feb. 14 in a wrongful death-medical
malpractice case. An additional $200,000 from a high-low agreement brings
the recovery to $1.775 million. Richard Tarallo of Nutley died on Aug.
12, 2006, at age 39 from an aortic tear. He started having chest pains
in May of that year and on July 30, after collapsing, went to Clara Maass
Hospital in Belleville and was admitted for three days. During this time,
radiologist Jeffrey Naiman administered a CT-angiogram, which found blood
in the pericardium near the aorta but no rupture or hole, says the family's
lawyer, Dennis Donnelly, of Senior Fried Forte Zerres & Molinari in
Chatham. He says Naiman did the test with contrast and might have found
the bleeding cause through a test without contrast, while cardiologist
Fadi Chaaban should have ordered more tests or sent Tarallo to St. Barnabas,
which was better equipped to handle aortic problems. Donnelly adds that
Chaaban should not have sent Tarallo home without making sure there was
no aortic hole or rupture. Tarallo went back to the hospital with chest
pains on Aug. 5 and was later released. The jury found Chaaban 80 percent
liable and Naiman 20 percent, awarding $1.25 million in lost wages and
$225,000 on Tarallo's wife's per quod claim, plus $100,000 for
pain and suffering. Two doctors were no-caused: cardiothoracic surgeon
Michael Pontoriero and emergency room doctor Joe Dib. He will pay $200,000
under a $2 million-$200,000 high-low agreement reached during trial before
Superior Court Judge James Rothschild Jr. Craig Combs of Giblin &
Combs in Morristown, for Pontoriero, confirms the verdict. Jeremy Cooley
of Lenox, Socey, Formidoni, Giordano, Cooley, Lang & Casey in Lawrenceville,
Chaaban's attorney, could not be reached. James Sharp of Cedar Knolls,
for Naiman, and Evelyn Farkas of Farkas & Donohue in Florham Park,
for Dib, did not return calls.
TMJ After her nose was fractured by a falling refrigerator door, a 39
year Hackensack woman had nasal surgery. Six months later, she sought
treatment for pain in her jaw from the surgeon who initially performed
nasal surgery. He then recommended and performed temporomandibular joint
surgery which worsened her condition. Senior Partner Dennis Donnelly argued
that this surgery is normally recommended as a last resort. This unnecessary
surgery causes the woman to suffer ongoing facial pain. The jury awarded
$1.5 million, as well as $250,000 to her husband for loss of marital companionship.
Senior Partner, Dennis M. Donnelly, settled this wrongful birth case involving
a failure by radiologist to image the back of the fetal brain during a
prenatal screening ultrasound in 1995. This deficiency in the ultrasound
screening deprived the child's mother of knowledge that her daughter
would be born with severe hydrocephalus and spina bifida, which would
cause severe brain damage and paralysis. Though there was some dispute
whether imaging the back of the brain was a required view for 2nd trimester
ultrasounds as of 1995, all experts agreed that such images would have
shown the changes in the back of the brain caused by spina bifida. Partner
Dennis Donnelly was also able to show that the American Institute of Ultrasound
in Medicine had recognized that complete views of the fetal brain, including
the posterior fossa or back section, should be done in all prenatal anatomical
surveys during the 2nd trimester of pregnancy. In addition, that the defendant
radiologist's report told this mother and her obstetricians that he
had imaged the brain represented that he had viewed all parts of the brain
and found them normal. However, when the images were reviewed all sides
agreed that they contained no images of the back of the brain.
Dennis Donnelly represented the estate and wife of a 55 year old oncologist.
The couple, who were leaving on vacation in March 2002, intended to stay
at a hotel near the airport the evening before their early flight out
of Newark International. After checking in, the doctor parked his car
in the hotel parking lot while his wife waited in the hotel. In the parking
lot, the doctor was robbed, shot in the head, and died. Dennis established
that the hotel failed to provide adequate security on the hotel premises,
and that the hotel's general manger had ignored the recommendations
of its own on-site director of security. Dennis settled this case for
$1,700,000 after jury selection.
An emergency room doctor will pay $1 million under a high-low agreement
in a suit over a 40-year-old man's death from an allergic reaction
to multiple bee stings. The Morris County suit, handled by Senior Partner,
Dennis Donnelly, alleged that the decedent might still be alive if doctors
who treated him at St. Clare's Hospital in Denville diagnosed his
bee-sting allergy and gave him the proper medication. In July 2005, the
man was rushed to the hospital after a neighbor found him unconscious
near his lawnmower and a swarm of bees. She claimed she told the emergency
room doctor and a nurse that she thought her neighbor had been stung.
The doctor did not remember being told but the nurse did. The information
was not noted in the decedent's medical records. The internist who
treated the man in the intensive care unit, allegedly told his wife that
the bee stings had been ruled out when she asked whether there was any
sign of them. The doctor also allegedly told her that heat stroke caused
her husband's collapse, and that he thought her husband had a seizure
disorder. The man was sent home when EEG and CT tests for a seizure disorder
were negative. On Aug. 30, 2005, the man's wife allegedly saw him
stung again. Though he was rushed to the hospital, he died. The doctors
should have provided the decedent with an EpiPen that can slow swelling
and allow enough time to reach an emergency room. A $1 million/$700,000
high-low agreement was reached with the emergency room defendant doctor
during jury deliberations. The internist settled for a confidential amount
during the trial. The jury found damages of $850,000 for lost wages, $810,000
for loss of care and companionship and $5,000 for pain and suffering,
totaling $1.665 million. It allocated 52.5 percent of the liability to
the emergency room doctor and 47.5 percent to the ICU internist. The result
was an $874,125 verdict against the emergency room doctor, which climbed
to $1.058 million with interest, triggering the high-low agreement.
Failure to Diagnose
A mother of two went to her primary medical group with complaints of ulcer-like
symptoms. Her doctors missed evidence on earlier G.I. studies which showed
cancerous growth. An 18-month-delay in the diagnosis of the stomach cancer
resulted in her death. $1.6 Million Settlement to Estates of Worker Killed
by Toxic Gases, and Co-worker Who Tried to Rescue Him When a 34-year-old
man attempted to rescue a co-worker who was overcome by toxic fumes inside
a tank truck, he was also poisoned by the fumes and died. On behalf of
both plaintiffs, Dennis Donnelly filed suit against a separate corporate
division of the plaintiffs' employer so as to avoid the workers'
compensation bar. After his motions were decided favorably to the clients,
the case was assigned to trial. The sole feasible claim for both plaintiffs
was a violation of confined space hazard identification and safety procedures
which, on behalf of the plaintiffs, Mr. Donnelly alleged would have prevented
both deaths. After two days of trial, Mr. Donnelly obtained $1,250,000
for the estate of the first worker overcome by fumes, and an award of
$350,000 for the estate of the second worker who died trying to save his
Senior Partner Dennis Donnelly represented a young woman who was severely
injured when the car seat she was riding in completely tore off its mountings
during an accident. The young woman was wearing her seatbelt when the
accident occurred but that life saving device ended up ripping though
her lower abdomen because her seat failed. The other passengers of the
car whose seats didn't fail walked away with minor injuries. Dennis
discovered that the manufacturer of the vehicle used flimsy plastic mounts
to secure the rear seats to the frame of the car. The manufacturer argued
that the car's seats met the minimum federal standards but documents
showed that the manufacturer was aware that its seats were far too weak
and would fail in normal speed accidents. More importantly, Dennis was
able to use their detailed knowledge of the car industry to show that
many other manufacturers designed, tested and sold much stronger seats
that would have prevented the young woman's injury. The manufacturer
settled the case for $1.51 million.
Senior Partner, Dennis Donnelly, represented the estate and family of
a 62 year old man who died in a bus accident. The decedent, a doorman
and low wage earner, was a passenger on a bus to Atlantic City. The negligent
bus driver, who was driving recklessly under snowy conditions, overturned
the bus. Although the bus driver was found not guilty of criminal charges
in the earlier criminal case tried by a state prosecutor, Mr. Donnelly
was able to convince the civil jury that his conduct was reckless, which
was a higher burden to prove than simple negligence. In addition, using
a pathologist expert to prove his pain and suffering, Mr. Donnelly was
able to recover a substantial additional amount for pain and suffering,
which pushed the verdict over 1 million dollars. Finally, although the
punitive (punishment) damages award allowed only against the bus driver
personally was small because he had no assets, it resulted in the entire
judgment being paid without an appeal. The technology used to recreate
the crash included a smart digital board, which allowed the reconstruction
expert to blow up and mark aerial scene photographs to better orient the
jury to the aggravated circumstances of the defendant’s reckless
driving in snowy conditions with a bus load full of passengers. After
seven days of trial, the jury returned a gross verdict of $1,240,000 comprised
of $640,000 for pecuniary loss and $600,000 for conscious pain and suffering.
In addition, there was prejudgment interest of $265,665.75, bringing the
total to $1,505,665.75.
Dennis Donnelly reached a settlement in this failure in prenatal diagnosis
claim against the defendant-obstetricians and the ultrasound technician
in their office for failure to diagnose a baby with Down Syndrome and
a cardiac defect. Instead of referring their patients to a radiologist
with specialized expertise in performing and interpreting prenatal ultrasounds,
the obstetricians choose to perform and interpret ultrasounds themselves
in their office. During the first trimester screening, the ultrasounds
were incorrectly performed by the ultrasound technician and incorrectly
interpreted by the obstetrician so that the nuchal translucency measurement
given to the laboratory, allowed the lab to conclude that the mother was
at a lower risk for having a child with Down Syndrome than she actually
was. That same ultrasound also failed to include adequate images of the
nasal bone, a "soft marker" for Down Syndrome. Another opportunity
for diagnosis was missed by a different obstetrician in the same practice
who interpreted a later ultrasound. If adequate 4 chambers heart views
were obtained and properly interpreted, they would have revealed an AV
canal heart defect which is common in children with Down Syndrome, and
immediate referral for fetal echocardiogram should have been made. All
of these failures deprived the mother of the knowledge that her infant
would be born with Down Syndrome, a heart defect and the opportunity to
terminate the pregnancy. This case also overcame what has become a common
defense to failed prenatal diagnosis cases: an assertion in the notes
that the mother admitted after the birth, when grilled by her obstetrician,
that "she would not have terminated anyway." The recovery was
also made in excess of the obstetricians’ insurance policy due to
the distinct failure by the ultrasound technician. At 3 months of age,
the infant required surgery to repair her heart defect. In addition, she
has neurological and neurodevelopmental disabilities typical of this genetically
determined disorder, requiring medical care and multiple therapies. Since
she will be unable to live independently, lifelong supervision will be required.
Senior Partner, Dennis M. Donnelly represented a truck driver who sustained
serious injuries when he struck another larger truck which was illegally
parked on the shoulder of a highway. The illegally parked trucker failed
to turn on his parking lights; nor did he use flares or warning triangle
signs on the road to warn of his presence on the shoulder. Our client
drifted off the road and rear ended the illegally parked 18 wheeler, causing
our client catastrophic injuries. Mr. Donnelly recreated the poor lighting
conditions in a video shot on the roadway in the early morning. He used
models, and illustrated how the placement of flares, warning triangles
and use of parking lights (as mandated by Federal motor carrier safety
standards), would have made our client aware of the parked trucks presence,
and would have allowed our client to avoid running into the rear of the
parked truck. Mr. Donnelly settled this case after mediation for $1,500,000.
Senior partner, Dennis M. Donnelly, represented a 47 year old paralegal
who was involved in a motor vehicle accident with a truck. On July 21,
2003, our client was driving a sedan on Route 46 in Independence Township,
N.J. She collided head-on with a dump truck being driven in the course
of its paving job. The Plaintiff’s claims included vehicular negligence,
and alleged that the truck driver crossed the center divider line. In
addition, the paving company was joined into the suit, with the plaintiff
alleging that they were responsible for the careless and negligent acts
and/or omissions of their employees (respondeat superior). The defense
contended that the plaintiff was comparatively, if not entirely, negligent,
and caused the accident. The defense argued that local police investigated
the accident and determined that both drivers both crossed over the line
and issued both drivers tickets. Mr. Donnelly gathered evidence contrary
to the assertion that our client ever crossed the center line, including
that the final resting place of the vehicles and that most of the debris
was on the plaintiff's side of the road, indicating that the plaintiff
never crossed over. Mr. Donnelly also argued that the outward curve in
the road where the defendant was driving made it more probable that he
was the one who crossed over the center line. Our client suffered pelvic
fractures, a broken right wrist (of her dominant hand), broken leg bones,
a collapsed lung and nerve damage that caused a drop foot on her right
side (requiring her to wear a brace and to use a cane). She required multiple
surgeries due to her fractures, and over a year of aggressive physical
therapy. The claims included reimbursement for unreimbursed medical expenses
of $320,505. In addition, after 101 days of hospitalization and rehabilitation,
our client returned to work in early 2004. She sought past lost wages
of $61,316, and unspecified damages for pain and suffering. Mr. Donnelly
settled the matter for $1.475 million, just after a jury was picked.
Dennis Donnelly obtained a 1.25 million dollar settlement, during trial,
on behalf of the family of a 4 year-old girl who was born with Canavan
Disease. The girl's parents, both of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, were
at risk of having a child with this disease, but the mother's obstetrician
failed to perform any testing for the condition during her pregnancy,
despite recommendations to do so by the American College of Medical Genetics.
Canavan disease is a progressive neurologic disease characterized by increased
head circumference, decreasing muscle tone and motor activity, progressive
loss of visual responsiveness, and mental retardation. $1.25 Million Medical
Malpractice in Back Surgery Senior Partner Dennis Donnelly settled for
$1.25 Million the case of a 47-year-old man who had prior injuries and
lawsuits. Following a third minor auto accident, the plaintiff underwent
two levels of back surgery. Mr. Donnelly pinpointed the negligence in
this surgery and obtained a $1.25 million settlement.
Mr. Donnelly obtained a partial settlement of $1.225 million for a 25-year-old
woman seriously injured when her brand-new Ford sport utility vehicle
rolled over in an accident. Her Ford Explorer was hit from the side by
a Ford Taurus driven by a retired professional. When her SUV slid and
overturned, she was ejected. She is paralyzed below the waist and confined
to a wheel chair. $1.225 Million Settlement for Child with Fragile X Syndrome
- Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Birth, Failure to Diagnose, Fragile X
Syndrome Fragile X syndrome, a condition which can be diagnosed prenatally,
is the most common cause of inherited mental retardation, seen in approximately
one in 1,200 males and one in 2,500 females. In this case, Senior partner,
Dennis Donnelly, recovered a settlement of 1.225 million dollars for a
4 year-old boy born with Fragile X Syndrome, where the mother's doctors
failed to perform proper testing to screen for this condition.
A child who was born with a Fragile X Syndrome will receive 1.2 million
dollars as part of a settlement obtained by Dennis Donnelly. Given a history
of mental retardation and autism in the mother's family, the obstetricians
providing prenatal care for the mother failed to order a screening blood
test, recommended by the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology,
which would have been able to detect the fragile X birth defect. The boy,
who is now six, suffers from developmental delays and autism, and, requires
lifetime care and supervision.
This lawsuit involved the controversial issue of a Mother's "right
to terminate a pregnancy" when she learns that she will give birth
to a child with birth defects - in this case, a child born with Down Syndrome
in 1990. Senior Partner Dennis Donnelly characterized the case as a "wrongful
birth lawsuit". Medical negligence deprived the parents of exercising
all the options available to them regarding the extra-ordinary medical
therapy and emotional distress of a Down Syndrome child. The Mother's
OB/GYN forgot to recommend pre-natal screening tests during the time when
the tests would have detected the birth defect. The child's Mother
asked for the tests, but the Doctor did not recommend the standard Alpha
Feta Protein (AFP) test at the appropriate time. In addition to the parents'
emotional suffering, the future holds many therapeutic expenses, possibly
institutionalizing the child and the fact that Down Syndrome children
also have a propensity to develop childhood Leukemia. Donnelly settled
the case for $1 million.
Senior Partner, Dennis Donnelly, represented the estate of a 39 year old
mother and wife in a case involving her death caused when her SUV rolled
over after she lost control of the vehicle. The roof of the SUV was severely
crushed during the rollover, leading to the seat belted woman's partial
ejection from the vehicle. Mr. Donnelly demonstrated that there was already
available technology and reasonable alternative designs for the SUV which
would have prevented the woman's injuries, including a stronger roof,
better seat belts, laminated side glass and several alternative designs
that could have cured the SUV's stability problems. Senior's expert
witnesses ran tests on the SUV that showed its roof was likely to excessively
crush during foreseeable speed rollover accidents. The SUV's manufacturer
knew that the SUV had critical stability problems even during the design
and testing phase of the vehicle. It also knew since the 1960's that
SUVs and pickup trucks were rolling over at a rate more than 3 times the
amount experienced by regular passenger vehicles. By the time the car
manufacturer entered the small SUV market with this particular model SUV,
federal government funded studies showed that short wheelbase SUV vehicles,
like the one driven by the plaintiff's decedent, were far more likely
to roll over and cause injury, but the manufacturer did surprisingly little
to ensure that drivers of this model SUV would be safe from rollover related
injuries. Other SUV manufacturers also ignored the safety risks posed
by SUVs. The result is that many SUVs on the road today have roofs that
would not offer passengers the level of safety that is, and was, easily
achievable through the use of better quality steel and roof designs. Many
of the problems with SUV roofs could have been cured through the use of
simple “off the shelf” technology at a surprisingly low cost.
A 56-year-old husband and father of three was being monitored by his elderly
osteopath for many years because he suffered from both hepatitis C and
cirrhosis of the liver. That combination of those conditions makes the
risk of getting liver cancer much greater. Despite that fact, the osteopath
ignored an ultrasound report of a liver mass and only acted on its other
recommendation for gall bladder surgery. The general surgeon made the
same mistake. Those errors resulted in a delay of more than one year in
the diagnosis of liver cancer, which by then was terminal and lead to
the patient's death within months. The surgeon claimed it was only
his job to deal with the gallbladder. Both doctors tried to excuse their
failures or minimize the damage from those failures by claiming that the
ultrasound findings were inconclusive and liver cancer could have killed
the patient anyway, even with an earlier diagnosis. After 3 years of litigation
and supporting opinions from both a surgeon with specialized liver cancer
experience and a same specialty osteopath, and with a scheduled trial
date, the defendants finally agreed to a fair settlement.
A father/son surgical team will pay a $1,000,000 settlement to the surviving
husband and two adult children of a 65-year-old Essex County woman. This
suit handled by Senior Partner Dennis Donnelly alleged that the decedent
would have survived had the surgical team promptly diagnosed and repaired
a splenic artery aneurysm when the plaintiff first was admitted to the
hospital. In September of 2008, the plaintiff-decent was transported by
ambulance to the hospital with complaints of fainting, and chest pain
radiating to the abdomen. A CT Scan of the abdomen and pelvis was performed
which revealed blood in her abdomen and either a large splenic artery
aneurysm or perhaps a pseudocyst. At the time of the initial surgery,
the team discovered "free blood throughout the entire abdomen"
and encountered a "large mass approximately 4x6 inches" but
they claimed it was a pancreatic pseudocyst, which was oozing blood from
its walls. Although they also identified a splenic artery aneurysm, which
they stated was intact, they failed to evaluate the likely source of all
the blood, the large size of the splenic aneurysm or the urgent need to
address it at that time. Instead, since it was the middle of the night,
the defendant-surgeons choose to wait until the morning to address it
further, and they packed up and closed the surgical area. However, in
the recovery room, the plaintiff became hypertensive and went into ventricular
fibrillation. CPR was initiated and was successful in restoring a normal
rhythm. The plaintiff was brought back into surgery where the defendant
surgeons discovered several liters of blood and that the mass was now
completely compressed and actively bleeding. At this time, a splenectomy
and distal pancreatectomy were performed, as well as ligation of the splenic
artery aneurysm. Had those procedures been done at the initial surgery
as plaintiff's experts opined, the patient would have survived. Unfortunately,
after the second surgery, the plaintiff went into cardiac arrest and could
not be resuscitated.
Abe represented a man who sustained serious injuries when he slipped and
fell on ice. Liability was disputed as there was a storm for many hours
prior to the incident. Abe was able to establish that the snow removal
contractor did not properly remove ice on the walkway of the building
causing the fall. The case settled for $620,000.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
In a recent case, Abe represented an undocumented 40 year old man who sustained
injuries resulting from a fall from scaffolding which allegedly tipped
while in use causing the client to fall 12 feet. A few days prior to the
incident, the client had offered himself to perform day jobs for contractors
in order to be able to support his family. Abe was retained months after
the fall occurred and the client did not even know where the fall occurred
or the company that hired him to perform work that day. Abe requested
the records from the Hospital that the plaintiff was taken to after the
fall and was able to identify the EMS outfit that picked up the client
from the location of the fall. The EMS report was secured and had the
address where the fall occurred. By the time that Abe was retained, however,
the construction project was finished and no evidence of the condition
of the scaffolding remained. Abe secured local municipal permit application
documents which identified a General Contractor who applied to perform
work at the subject home. After additional digging which included hiring
a private investigator, Abe was able to identify some of the other individuals
working at the subject work site the day of the fall. The fact that there
were no pictures of the scaffolding and that the scaffolding was long
removed prior to Abe being retained proved very challenging. Abe was faced
with the difficulty of demonstrating that the scaffold was not set up
safely but had to do so through the individuals that set up and used the
scaffold but those individuals did not have experience with setting up
or using scaffoldings and did not speak English as well. The General Contractor
who spoke English perfectly said, rather incredibly, that he didn’t
know his workers were using scaffolding and therefore could not have seen
the scaffolding to describe its setup condition. Numerous depositions
with translators demonstrated that the scaffold was set up on uneven wood
planks as its base which was alleged to have been a substantial cause
of the scaffolding shifting and causing the plaintiff to fall. It was
also alleged that harnesses were not available which would have been required
pursuant to OSHA standards for the work being done when the fall occurred.
The case resolved at mediation for $490,000.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
Abe represented a woman seeking to collect "Accidental Death and
Dismemberment" benefits on her husband's life insurance policy.
The insurance company denied the claim alleging that the premiums were
not paid for the double indemnity portion of the policy. Abe contended
that the policy had a premium waiver during disability which applied to
this policy. Abe filed a complaint alleging claims in contract and in
insurance malpractice. After suit was filed the case settled for $450,000.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
?Abe represented the estate of a young woman who was killed by a drunk
driver. After proving that the defendant consumed alcohol in two established
and was served while he was visibly intoxicated the case settled for $400,000
prior to trial.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
Mr. Milgraum represented a man who sustained a finger amputation from
a machine. Abe was successful in settling this product liability claim
for $350,000 against the product manufacturer and the factory where the
client worked through a temp agency. $350,000 Medical Malpractice A dental
malpractice case was filed for a client who had received dental treatment
from a dentist for many years and had teeth requiring some dental implants.
It was alleged that the crowns that were put on by the dentist were not
put on properly causing decay underneath the crowns. Abe was successful
in obtaining a settlement of $325,000.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
For large construction jobs, it is common for large corporate entities
to seek bidders to bid to perform the work. Looking to save costs is not
a bad practice if it does not come at the expense of quality and safety.
Abe recently represented a 50 year old woman, who was overweight and went
to a local hospital for a sleep study because of sleep apnea issues. Because
of her weight, she was provided the handicap room and attached bathroom
to use for the study which was supposed to be constructed to accommodate
those who are disabled and/or overweight. When she awoke in the morning
after the study, she was offered to take a shower in the handicap bathroom
to clean off the gel used in her hair to facilitate the sleep study. The
client sat on the shower bench which collapsed resulting in a serious
leg hematoma which needed to be evacuated. The resulting opening in the
skin did not close for many months requiring extensive wound care and
leading to other complications. Approximately 8 years earlier, the hospital
bid out the sleep center project to a number of construction companies.
The Hospital selected the lowest bidder which was a company that had just
been formed and was primarily formed for the subject job. The contractor
came with no references and did not even execute a formal contract with
the Hospital. The contractor installed the subject bench into the sheetrock
and did not install the required blocking or backing necessary to hold
the weight expected for those that use a handicap bathroom. This defect
was the direct cause of the subject incident. Within a few months, the
contractor went bankrupt and did not pay numerous subcontractors. The
injury occurred 8 years after the installation and the contractor did
not exist anymore and had numerous Federal existing tax lien already in
place against the prior entity. Abe pursued the Hospital on a non-delegable
duty theory and on a direct liability theory for lack of oversight by
the hospital administrator in charge of overseeing the project. Abe also
pursued a case against an architect who was performing walkthroughs as
the construction was ongoing and should have noticed the obvious negligence
committed by the contractor. The case settled for $350,000 at mediation.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
Abe represented a young man with a long history of an alcohol and drug
addiction disability. He was admitted to a hospital because of withdrawal
symptoms. Unfortunately, protocols for patients with addiction were not
followed with this young man. He was ultimately placed under the care
of a nurse who was notified of dangerous vital signs but did nothing for
this young man for over an hour at which time he passed away. The case
presented numerous causation and other challenges but Abe was able to
secure a settlement for $325,000.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
Abe represented a 50 year old man who sustained soft tissue injuries as
a result of an auto accident. He had preexisting degenerative disk disease
but alleged that the auto accident aggravated his condition and ultimately
led to the need for surgery. The defense alleged that the entire condition
and surgery was only the result of preexisting conditions. The case settled
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
Mr. Milgraum represented a man who was walking on a sidewalk at his place
of employment when a car immediately and without warning, left the street,
jumped the sidewalk and struck our client. The defendant driver claimed
that she was not responsible for the accident because she had a heart
attack right before the accident. Under these circumstances, the defendant
alleged that she was not negligent as this was a "sudden emergency,"
which New Jersey law recognizes as a defense to an allegation of negligence.
Abe obtained all of the defendant's medical records and, in fact,
the defendant did have a cardiac event prior to the incident. Abe had
the case reviewed by an interventional cardiologist who opined that the
defendant had notice of her cardiac condition for some time prior to the
event and that it was negligent for her to be driving under those conditions.
The case resolved before trial for almost the entire remaining insurance
limits; settling for $247,500.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
Abe represented a middle aged man who was involved in a motor vehicle
accident with another car. Abe was successful in resolving the case for
$235,000 and was also able to significantly compromise a large lien on
the client’s case even though the lien holder was a public entity.
As a result, the client was able to net a significant recovery.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
Abe was contacted shortly before the Statute of Limitations was due to
expire on an automobile case. The client’s prior lawyer recommended
that she accept the $10,000 being offered by the insurance company to
settle her case. Abe filed suit and started the case from scratch and
retained numerous experts and ultimately resolved the case for more than
$210,000 shortly before trial.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
Abe represented a woman who sustained serious injuries when a cab she
was entering moved before she was fully in the vehicle. Abe was successful
in settling the case for the full policy limits of $200,000.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
?Abe represented an 86 year old woman who was in a car accident and shortly
thereafter had surgery for a displaced disk. The defense argued that the
woman would have needed surgery regardless as the subject disk was already
in a compromised position prior to the accident. Abe retained top of the
line experts who opined that without the subject accident the plaintiff
would not have needed surgery. The case settled for $190,000.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
Abe secured a settlement of $180,000 for a young man who sustained an
injury to his finger while operating a bandsaw machine at a butcher department
in a supermarket. The supermarket did not have a contract with an equipment
maintenance company but would call a specific maintenance company whenever
any machine in the supermarket had an issue. The subject machine was fixed
for reasons unrelated to the subject incident a few times in the 10 months
prior to the incident. It was alleged that the incident occurred when
the saw jumped forward and out of its regular route as a result of blade
guides on the machine which were completely worn down. According to the
product manual, the guides should have been changed every few months.
The guides were not changed during the visits that the maintenance company
performed leading up to the incident. The defense asserted that it did
not have a contract with the supermarket for maintenance and that it was
not required to change the blade guides unless called for an issue related
to knife stability or the blade guides. Numerous depositions however revealed
that the supermarket expected the maintenance company to perform routine
maintenance for the dozens of machines that the company would be called
to fix for the supermarket. The maintenance worker technicians also confirmed
that they would perform an overall review of each machine it would service
and perform the regular maintenance as needed even though the company
management alleged that this was not their responsibility. Under these
facts, Abe alleged that an implied contract existed for the regular maintenance
of these machines when they would be serviced for different and unrelated
problem. The case settled favorably as a result.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
?Mr. Milgraum represented a middle-aged woman who slipped and fell on
snow in a parking lot. The governor had declared a state of emergency
for the subject storm but Abe was able to establish that the snow contracted
who came to remedy the subject parking lot did not clear the entire lot
and left a portion of the lot in a dangerous condition. Abe was successful
in resolving the case for $150,000.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
?Abe represented a worker who sustained injuries on one of the doors of
a gravel crusher. Through discovery, Abe was able to establish that earlier
models of the machine had technology which would prevent the subject door
from closing unexpectedly and that the later models did not employ this
fail safe technology. The case settled for $130,000.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
?Abe settled an automobile case for the entire policy limits of $100,000.
The defense alleged that the soft tissue condition was preexisting. Abe
secured all available insurance coverage for the benefit of the client.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.
?After proving that a wedding hall did not have janitorial staff present
for the four hours while the wedding was ongoing, Abe resolved a case
for $90,000 for a woman who slipped and fell on some water by the sinks
in a bathroom. The wedding would have the bathrooms cleaned before and
after an event but would not make periodic checks throughout the duration
of an event even though hundreds of people could be using the bathrooms
during the event. Able established that such conduct was unreasonable
and the case resolved favorably.??Abe represented a man who had a very
good recovery following a ligament tear in his hand sustained as a result
of an automobile accident. Abe resolved the case for $82,500 before trial.
- Abraham N. Milgraum, Esq.