- Product Liability
- Medical Malpractice
- Premises Liability
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Class Action
- Other Areas of Practice
Jury awards $10,600,000 Million Dollars to Woman Injured in Ford Explorer Rollover- January 01, 2007
MIDDLESEX COUNTY: A Toms River woman who suffered a paralyzed right arm after her Ford Explorer rolled over was awarded a total of $10,668,799.89 in damages by a Superior Court jury in New Brunswick. Rebekah Zakrocki-Parks, 28, was injured in the morning of November 10, 2000, when the throttle on her 1997 Ford Explorer became stuck while she was on her way to work on the Garden State Parkway. When the gas pedal became unstuck, the vehicle surged forward and rolled over, causing her arm to become crushed and partially amputated when it was ejected through the sunroof during the rollover.
This case was tried by Barry Eichen with the assistance of Jack Sanders of the law firm Eichen, Levinson & Crutchlow in Edison. They claimed that there was a design defect in the throttle of the 1997 Ford Explorer that allowed sludging to accumulate on the throttle plate inside the throttle, which would cause the plate to stick closed while the vehicle was being driven. They sued Ford Motor Company and Freehold Ford, alleging that the automaker and its dealer knew from prior customer complaints that drivers were experiencing surging related to the throttles as early as 1996, and that accidents were occurring when drivers applied extra pressure to their gas pedals to overcome the accumulation of sludging, and that the throttle defect posed an even more significant danger in the Ford Explorer, because SUVs, which have a higher center of gravity than most passenger vehicles, are more prone to rollover in emergency situations.
After the accident, Rebekah was hospitalized at Jersey Shore Medical Center where reconstructive surgery was performed on her arm. In total, over 20 surgeries were performed on her arm and shoulder in order to reattach her arm.
The jury deliberated for two days following a four week trial in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Jamie Happas before announcing its verdict.
$15,000,000 Verdict for Defective Vehicle/Motor Vehicle Accident- January 07, 2002
At the request of the parties involved and in the best interest of our client, the names, dates and facts surrounding this settlement are confidential.
$750,000 Settlement for RSD- January 07, 2002
This was a case where the passenger in the seat in first class in front of the plaintiff leaned back, striking the plaintiff in the knee causing RSD. This condition is a neurological condition whereby the extremities turned colors and the knee and leg becomes weakened and painful. The patient was treated for two years. This case settled the day of trial for $750,000.00, by attorney Barry Eichen.
$2,300,000 Verdict for Fall down Interior Staircase – April, 2013
Plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of a fall down an interior staircase. The Middlesex County jury awarded the Plaintiff a verdict of $2,300,000.
$1,875,000 Settlement For Slip And Fall At Chiropractor’s Office- January 05, 2009
Case involved a fall by a patient at a chiropractor’s office, resulting in paralysis (At the request of the parties involved and in the best interest of our client, the names, dates and facts surrounding this settlement are confidential)
$640,000 awarded by Jury to Fall Victim- June 04, 2007
Kathy Pangborn, a 56-year-old disabled resident of an apartment complex in Middlesex County who fell on a child’s tricycle left outside her door, was awarded $640,000, including interest, by a jury which deliberated for approximately one hour. The complex owners, Middlesex Builders, represented by Charles T. McCook Jr. of Bumgardner, Ellis, McCook & Kingsley of Clark, had permitted residents to keep toys in common areas. Pangborn required surgery and the implantation of screws and a plate in her wrist after her 2003 fall. She now has limited motion and use of her right hand. In the trial in Pangborn v. Yadau before Middlesex County Judge Lorraine Pullen, Pangborn was represented by John H. Sanders II of Eichen, Levinson & Crutchlow in Edison. Her neighbor, Bala Yadav, who owned the tricycle, was a co-defendant represented by Sean M. McDonough of Litvak & Trifiolis of Cedar Knolls.
Jury awards $975,000 to woman for sidewalk fall- October 01, 2005
Home News Tribune Online – 10/1/05
By LONNIE MACK – STAFF WRITER
MIDDLESEX COUNTY: An Edison woman who fell and fractured her ankle outside her place of employment has been awarded $975,000 by a Superior Court jury in New Brunswick. Jeanette Bruno, 44, the mother of two grown children, was injured on June 4, 2003, when she fell on a sidewalk outside the Medical Technology Solutions building, according to her attorney, Barry Eichen of the Edison law firm of Eichen Levinson. Eichen said Bruno was helping students who were enrolled in medical-billing classes enter the facility. He argued the woman slipped and fell because the sidewalk was in disrepair. Bruno filed suit against the owners of the building, Ice Inc. and Saddleback Management Co. of Hackensack, whose insurance company will be liable for the award. Bruno, who was a recreational runner, can no longer run and has limited motion in the ankle, Eichen said. He said the ankle had to be repaired by surgery. A plate and several screws were implanted into the ankle. The jury deliberated for about an hour following a two-day trial in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Lorraine Pullen before announcing its verdict late Wednesday afternoon. Gary McDonald, the attorney for the defendants, could not be reached for comment.
$800,000 Jury Verdict for Closed Head Injury after a Fall on Ice- January 03, 2000
THE STAR LEDGER
A 73 year old Edison man accepted $800,000 yesterday to settle a lawsuit claiming he was severely injured when he slipped on ice and fell outside a bank.
Harold Osborne accepted the sum in state Superior Court in New Brunswick to settle his lawsuit against PNC Bank of Edison and Petty Construction Inc., a snow removal company from the Iselin section of Woodbridge. Barry Eichen an Edison lawyer representing Osborne said his client suffered a severe neck injury when he fell January 16, 1996.
As a result, Osborne, a retired machine operator underwent surgery but continues to suffer pain and uses a cane to walk, the lawyer said. Eichen also said Osborne suffers from lost sensation in his right hand as a result of the injury.
Osborne, who had a part-time job with a florist, was delivering flowers to the bank then the Midlantic Bank on Thornall Street in Edison when he slipped on a ramp leading to the entrance, according to court records. The florist was not identified in court papers and was not named as a defendant.
The bank, which later became PNC Bank, and the snow removal companies were accused in the lawsuit of failing to properly remove ice and snow from the ramp, according to Eichen.
The bank agreed to pay 75 percent of the settlement, and the snow removal company will contribute the remainder under terms of the agreement reached before the case was to be tried before Superior Court Judge Amy Piro Chambers.
Michael Tuzzio, a Tinton Falls attorney representing the bank, declined to comment.
By: Jim O’Neill
Motor Vehicle Accidents
$2.65 Million Jury Verdict in Wrongful Death Motor Vehicle Case where Decedent was Turning Left from a Stop Sign- May 01, 2010
Daryl L. Zaslow obtained a $2,650,000 verdict on behalf of the Estate of a 42 year old man who died in a motor vehicle accident when he was making a left turn at an intersection with a stop sign in his direction. The defendant’s insurer offered only $200,000 to settle the case because the Plaintiff had the stop sign in his direction and was attempting to cross 3 lanes of traffic when the accident occurred, so Mr. Zaslow and his clients proceeded to trial.
Mr. Zaslow argued that the Defendant failed to appreciate he was driving his landscaping truck 14 miles over the speed limit and did not immediately slow down the truck when he first observed the Plaintiff’s car in his in his path of travel. The speed limit in that area of the accident was 45 mph and Zaslow presented an expert accident re-constructionist who determined the Defendant was driving 59.6 mph before he jammed on the brakes of the truck. Additionally, although the State Laboratory results were negative for Diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl) in the defendant’s blood, there was Diphenhydramine in the urinalysis and Zaslow presented expert testimony that the blood test results were unreliable since the blood specimen was taken nearly 5 hours after the accident. The expert toxicologist also testified that the defendant was likely suffering the adverse effects of Diphenhydramine/Benadryl at the time of the accident, which include drowsiness, fatigue and disturbed coordination and that these factors contributed to the accident.
The beneficiaries included a wife and three daughters. The jury awarded $2.2 million to the survivors for their future financial losses due to the death of the decedent, and $450,000 for past losses. It was also determined that the decedent died instantaneously. The $2.65 million award was to be reduced to $1,987,500 as the jury determined that the decedent bore 25% responsibility for the accident. Plaintiffs filed an offer of Judgment under R. 4:58 in the amount $1,000,000, and Plaintiffs were entitled to recover litigation costs, 8% interest and attorneys’ fees in addition to the $1,987,500 net verdict.
$2,650,000 Settlement on Wrongful Death Truck Accident- January 03, 2006
$2.65M Settlement on Wrongful Death Truck Accident
Truck accident involving an interstate trucking company. Plaintiff’s attorney, BARRY R. EICHEN, ESQ., alleged that negligent hiring of a truck driver who was under of narcotics while operating his tractor trailer, crossed the double yellow lines and struck plaintiff’s vehicle head-on, causing his death. The accident occurred in late 2005 and was settled in early 2006.
$2,490,000 Settlement for Tractor-Trailer Accident – December, 2013
In this Middlesex County case, Plaintiff received a settlement of $2,490,000.00 for injuries received in an accident with a tractor trailer.
$2,250,000 Settlement for Bus Accident- January 02, 2001
THE HOME NEWS TRIBUNE
A bus company agreed to pay more than $2 million to a Plainfield woman whose husband died for injuries he received when the bus’ roof was sheered off as it traveled underneath a railroad bridge, an attorney said. Coach USA settled the case yesterday for $2,250,000, said Barry Eichen of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP who represented the plaintiff.
Henry Bresticker, 87, suffered a badly fractured skull, lapsed into a coma about 2 hours after the crash, underwent surgery at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, and died at the hospital nine months later, said Eichen.
He said Bresticker and his wife, Lillian, 77, went to Atlantic City once a month, on average, and played golf three times a week.
On December 14, 1999, they took a trip to Atlantic City. A bus brought their group back to Middlesex Mall in South Plainfield, where a second bus then picked them up to bring them home.
But the bus driver deviated from his usual route, and around 8 p.m. on Clinton Avenue, near South Second Street in the city, he hit a railroad overpass that sheered off the top of the vehicle, said Eichen. The trial had been scheduled to start Monday in Middlesex County. The attorney for the bus company could not be reached for comment.
By Michelle Sahn
$1,200,000 Settlement for Motor Vehicle Accident- January 03, 2005
An off duty Plainfield police officer was stopped at a stop sign on First Avenue in Plainfield, New Jersey, when the driver of a tractor-trailer struck his vehicle. The defendant truck driver alleged he was only traveling 5 mph and that the impact was minimal. The plaintiff had prior neck and back injuries which were aggravated, necessitating a spine surgery. The case was handled by Barry R. Eichen of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP and was settled for $1.2 million prior to trial.
$1,700,000 Settlement for Pedestrian Automobile Accident- January 05, 2004
A passenger struck by a car on the Garden State Parkway after the limousine he was riding in spun out of control accepted $1.475 million from the limo’s insurer on July 25, 2003. Shore limousine of Manasquan picked up Plaintiff, an engineer from Toms River, at Newark Liberty International Airport on July 17, 2001. Once on the Garden State Parkway, the driver lost control of the limo and it came to rest against a center guardrail, partially encroaching on the fast lane. Doe tried to run across the highway but was struck by another car, breaking his legs and fracturing his shoulder, says his lawyer, Barry Eichen, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP in Edison. State Farm Insurance Company the carrier for Anthony Scarangella, the other car’s driver, tendered the full extent of his $100,000.00 policy. Shore Limousine’s insurer, Proformance Insurance Co., in Freehold, offered $1.375 million of a $1.5 million policy.
$1,800,000 Structured Settlement for Motor Vehicle Accident- October 07, 1996
NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
SUITS & DEALS – OCTOBER 7, 1996
Betcher v. Casole: The wife of a Union Beach man who was killed in a car accident with a commercial farm truck that failed to stop at an intersection agreed to a $1.8 million structured settlement last Monday with the truck driver and his mechanic.
Patricia Betcher, the wife of Paul Betcher, 44, who was killed in the accident in Union Beach on Oct. 18, 1994, agreed to settle her wrongful death suit against the driver, Anthony Casole, 38, of Marlboro, and Nitche Sunoco on Rts. 34 and 520 in Marlboro.
The gas station paid half the settlement, according to lawyers on both sides. The accident allegedly was caused when the brakes failed on Casole’s truck and he ran a stop sign. It was later discovered the truck’s brakes were in terrible shape, even though the Sunoco station had inspected the truck two weeks before the accident, and it passed, according to Casole’s attorney, Norman Hobbie, a partner in Middletown’s Giordano Halleran & Ciesla. “The brakes were in such bad shape, how could the truck have passed inspection?” Hobbie asks. “There was no wrongdoing on the part of my client. He did not have to pay any money for punitives or excess damages.”
Betcher’s attorney William Levinson, the Partner in Edison’s Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP, says his client will receive $30,000 a year until she is 74.
Levinson filed suit on Patricia Betcher’s behalf in December 1994. He says his client, who works as a department store check-out clerk, is set for life: “She’ll be able to live without worrying. She’s safe. The settlement doesn’t need to be approved by a court. It’s a done deal.”
Marc Baldwin, a partner in Marlboro’s Parker, Mckay & Criscuolo, who represents one of the insurers in the case, did not return three telephone calls last week.
By Lisa Brennan
Reprinted with permission from the New Jersey Law Journal, October 7, 1996 by American Lawyer Media, L.P.
$1,750,000 Verdict for Motor Vehicle Accident – December, 2008
THE JERSEY JOURNAL
Jersey City man awarded $1.75 million in Route 1&9 crash on Christmas Eve 2008
A Jersey City livery driver who was struck on an icy Route 1&9 in Newark and thrown off the elevated roadway on Christmas Eve 2008 was awarded $1.75 million by a jury in a civil trial in Essex County, his attorney said.
Cesar Tuscano, 44, was thrown 30 to 50 feet in the accident that hospitalized him for more than three weeks. He suffered numerous fractures had a metal rod inserted into his leg and has undergone two knee surgeries, said Edward McElroy, who along with Barry Eichen, represented Tuscano.
The jury deliberated three to four hours after the week-long trial that ended Sept. 11, McElroy said.
According to court testimony, Tuscano, who worked for a Hoboken car service, was driving southbound on Route 1&9 in the early hours of Dec. 24, 2008 when he came upon an overturned Super Shuttle bus blocking the road. McElroy said Tuscano got out of his vehicle to protect his passengers, but he was struck by another livery vehicle and vaulted over the bridge.
The jury found the driver of the car that struck Tuscano, owned by Hoboken First Class car service, was 70 percent responsible for Tuscano’s injuries and the Super Shuttle driver 20 percent responsible. The jury found Tuscano himself 10 percent responsible, McElroy said.
At trial, McElroy and Eichen, partners at Eichen, Crutchlow, Zaslow & McElroy in Edison, argued that the shuttle bus driver was liable because had he controlled his vehicle, none of the subsequent events would have happened; and that the driver of the other livery vehicle was at fault for striking Tuscano.
“Cesar couldn’t be happier,” McElroy said. “It’s been almost four difficult years for him. There was a lot of uncertainty because it was going to a jury. … He could have ended up with nothing.”
McElroy said attorneys for Super Shuttle and Hoboken First Class made settlement offers that totalled $80,000, which were not difficult to reject. “(Tuscano) would have settled for a fair number, but we were so far apart,” McElroy said.
McElroy said that in personal injury cases in New Jersey, it’s up to the jury to decide how much a victim is awarded, but “it’s a gamble.” He added that the jury award in this case was fair.
“It was an appropriate value for the case,” said McElroy, who noted that Tuscano has been unable to work since the accident. “It’s a substantial amount of money. It was a sound verdict by the jury.”
By Ron Zeitlinger
$1,300,000 Jury Verdict for Roadway Maintenance- March 29, 1990
NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
SUITS & DEALS – March 29, 1990
Cerreto v. Cook, et al: A 35 year-old Edison supermarket worker will receive more than $1.3 million in a settlement of an automobile negligence case against the Standard Paper Co. of Somerset.
In January 1987, Giacomo Cerreto was driving on Route 9 in Howell Township when a Standard Paper truck driven by its employee, Stanley Cook, hit the back of Cerreto’s car, pushing it forward and into a garbage truck. Cerreto suffered compound fractures in both legs, which required attaching metal plates to the tibia bones. The plates caused the development of osteomyelitis, an infectious inflammatory bone disease. The disease, once contracted, can recur.
The March 20, settlement follows a ruling by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge James Kennedy granting summary judgment on the issue of liability. Cerreto will receive $260,000 in a lump sum and $850 a month for life under an annuity contract, with a 4 percent increase every year.
Barry Eichen, a solo practitioner in Edison, represented the plaintiff. Morristown’s Colquhoun & Colquhoun, attorneys for PMA Insurance Services, represented defendants.
$1,250,000.00 Settlement for Pedestrian Accident – September 2006 Pedestrian was struck by a vehicle backing up inside of a garbage transfer station. The settlement in this Essex County case included contribution from the owner and operator of the vehicle as well as the transfer facility.
$1,250,000.00 Settlement for Pedestrian Accident – September 2006
Pedestrian was struck by a vehicle backing up inside of a garbage transfer station. The settlement in this Essex County case included contribution from the owner and operator of the vehicle as well as the transfer facility.
$178,000.00 Verdict for Automobile Accident
Jury award of $178,000.00. Plaintiff suffered knee injury in an automobile accident requiring surgery.
$51M Verdict Against a Pharmaceutical Company for Price Manipulation- December 07, 2010
This Practice Resulted in Overpayment by Those Two Agencies.
$27M Verdict Against a Pharmaceutical Company for Price Manipulation- September 07, 2010
This Practice Resulted in Overpayment by Those Two Agencies.
Zetia and Vytorin Ineffectiveness- August 06, 2009
Zetia and Vytorin class action suits were filed in several different states on behalf of patients and medical insurers who paid for the drug which apparently had no positive medical benefits. The lawsuits alleged that the drug makers pursued profits, without concern for whether the drug would have an impact on the health of users. The Zetia and Vytorin class action suits sought reimbursement for the cost of the prescription or for the difference between the cost of the prescription and what the generic would have cost. Barry Eichen, Esq. of Eichen, Crutchlow & McElroy sat on the Vytorin Steering Committee which assisted in the settlement of these cases for $41.5 Million.
See NY Times Article: Schering and Merck Are Settling Vytorin Suits
Class action lawsuit on behalf of New Jersey consumers who purchased automobiles from DCH Auto Group- January 03, 2005
In January of 2005, Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP brought a class action lawsuit on behalf of New Jersey consumers who purchased automobiles from DCH Auto Group. In the class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs maintained that from the dates of April 17, 1997 to and including January 27, 2005, DCH Auto Group provided consumers with vehicle registration, certificate of title, and documentary services for which the group charged and/or allowed fees in excess of the standard amounts charged by the Division of Motor Vehicles without providing consumers with an itemized disclosure that indicated that said fees were in excess of those that would be charged by the Division of Motor Vehicles. A class action settlement was reached with the defendants, which provided members of the consumer class with the following relief.
- A full cash reimbursement of overcharges.
- A discount of ten percent off of the purchase of parts and accessories or a service visit.
- A discount coupon for $150 off the purchase or lease of a new or used vehicle.
- More detailed and itemized disclosures on the defendants’ future transactions with consumers.
$16,000,000 in Settlement for Prescription Drug Litigation (Rezulin)- January 01, 2004
Details for this settlement are unpublished. (Rezulin Class Action)
Fen-Phen awarded National Settlement- January 11, 2002
In September 1997, Fen Phen was withdrawn from the market. The combination of fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine was leading to heart valve injuries that were affecting a high percentage of Fen Phen takers. American Home Products, the drug’s manufacturer, was accused of withholding information that would have warned Fen Phen users of the risks involved so they could continue to sell the popular diet drug. The FDA issued thousands of warning letters informing patients and doctors of possible valvular heart disease in July of 1997, and in September 1997 is when the FDA requested a voluntary withdrawal of Fen Phen by the drug company. Following the initial medical warning reports that linked Fen Phen to serious forms of valvular heart disease, various class actions were filed against American Home Products. After Fen Phen was withdrawn from the market, a nationwide settlement began negotiations. As of January 11, 2002 the Fen Phen Settlement became final. Barry Eichen, Esq. of Eichen, Crutchlow & McElroy sat on the New Jersey Fen-Phen Steering Committee which assisted in the National Settlement for $3.75 Billion.
Estate of Norris v. DYFS: A Monmouth County judge on Nov. 29 approved a $1.25 million settlement of a suit claiming the Division of Youth and Family Services’ mishandled response to reports of abuse led to a Jackson child’s death.
Kedar Norris, then 5, died on March 29, 2004, as the result of blunt force trauma to his abdomen that ruptured his intestines, says his estate’s lawyer, Daryl Zaslow, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy in Edison.
The fatal blows were inflicted by his mother’s boyfriend, Royce Berry, now her husband, who was convicted of reckless manslaughter and child endangerment and is still in prison. The mother, Natesha Smith, pleaded guilty to child endangerment but drew no jail term.
A Dec. 9, 2004, report by the state Office of Child Advocacy faulted DYFS for its handling of two reports it received about Berry physically abusing the boy, in November 2002 and May 2003. DYFS did not check child care records that would have disclosed an earlier concussion, failed to have Kedar interviewed by a sexual abuse expert after the 2003 report and created an in-home case plan that ignored Kedar’s claims of excessive punishment by Berry, the report said.
Zaslow says he deposed the report’s author, Dr. E. Susan Hodgson, and would have sought to use her testimony and the report at trial under the admission against interest exception to the hearsay rule, since she is a state employee.
The settlement was reached at a Sept. 13 conference with Superior Court Judge David Bauman and later approved by Judge Joseph Quinn. The money will be split 70-30 between Jeffrey and Kaleem Norris, the father and brother of Kedar.
Deputy Attorney General Paul Nieves defended DYFS. A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, Lee Moore, confirms the settlement.
$2,000,000.00 Settlement For Fela/Toxic Exposure- January 05, 2009
Settlement with defendant railroad for exposure to materials which lead to mesothelioma. (At the request of the parties involved and in the best interest of our client, the names, dates and facts surrounding this settlement are confidential)
$1,200,000.00 Settlement For Ski Accident in the Northeast- January 05, 2009
$1,000,000 Settlement for Orthopedic Malpractice- January 07, 2008
Settlement with defendant orthopedic doctors as a result of a back surgery and improper placement of hardware. (At the request of the parties involved and in the best interest of our client, the names, dates and facts surrounding this settlement are confidential).
$1,100,000 Settlement for Failure to Provide Mall Security- January 07, 2008
Settlement with defendant shopping mall for failure to provide proper security resulting in the sexual assault and wrongful death of plaintiff. (At the request of the parties involved and in the best interest of our client, the names, dates and facts surrounding this settlement are confidential).
Federal Court awards $2.5 Million Dollars for Illegal Shooting by Newark Police Officer- June 01, 2007
NEWARK, NJ: A Newark man who suffered severe injuries after he was wrongfully shot in the stomach with a hollow point bullet by a Newark Police Officer was awarded a total of $2,589,327.38 in damages by a Federal Court in Newark.
Paul Godley, a lifelong Newark resident, was shot by the Newark Police Officer using his service revolver and Department issued hollow point bullet. The officer had claimed that he believed Mr. Godley was armed.
This case was tried by William Crutchlow and John H. Sanders II of the law firm Eichen, Levinson & Crutchlow in Edison. They claimed that the officer wrongfully shot Godley and that he was surrendering to the officer. Also that the damage caused by the bullet fragments caused Mr. Godley to suffer massive internal injuries and bleeding.
The emergency room doctor who performed lifesaving surgery to Mr. Godley testified that, by the time surgery could finally be performed, Godley had lost over 40% of his blood and had a blood pressure level that dropped to near terminal levels. Over 10 surgeries and several weeks of coma-like sedation were necessary to keep Godley alive. A neurologist, Dr. John Greenberg, testified that Godley suffered permanent damage to his nervous system and brain as a result of the extreme blood loss.
After an agreement was reached regarding during trial as to liability, the damages portion of the trial was tried for one week to Federal Court Judge Stanley Chesler, who announced the verdict.
Widow of New Jersey Transit worker awarded $19,100,000.00- November 15, 2005
HOME NEWS TRIBUNE
MIDDLESEX COUNTY: The wife of an New Jersey Transit employee who died in 2002 of a job-related lung disease was awarded $19.2 million yesterday by a Superior Court jury in New Brunswick.
Catherine Fuccilli of Freehold, the widow of Roger Fuccilli, will receive the compensation from New Jersey Transit, Central Railroad of New Jersey and Consolidated Rail Inc., according to William Levinson and Barry R. Eichen of the Edison law firm of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP.
Roger Fuccilli was a railroad car repairman for New Jersey Transit for 18 years. Before that, he was employed by Central Railroad of New Jersey for about 18 months.
In the course of his duties, his attorneys said, he engaged in welding, sanding, painting and repairing brakes using asbestos and silica products in addition to breathing metal dust and welding fumes exposing him to materials that caused him to be diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in June 2000.
Roger Fuccilli, the father of four grown children including a 23-year-old son who is autistic, died in 2002 of pulmonary fibrosis, which Levinson said has a strangulation effect.
During the last two years of his life, Roger Fuccilli had to be put on an oxygen supply and during his last six months he was in the hospital on a respirator, Eichen said.
The award followed a five-week trial in the courtroom of Ann McCormick and seven and a half hours of deliberations that started on Tuesday.
The jury, the attorneys said, awarded $4.1 million for the pain and suffering Roger Fuccilli endured before he died and another $15.1 million for his wrongful death.
The panel found New Jersey Transit responsible for 50 percent of the award, Central Railroad of New Jersey for 7 percent and Roger Fuccilli for 8 percent.
The jury found Consolidated Rail Inc. was 35 percent responsible, however, that company settled for an undisclosed amount before the trial, and will compensate Catherine Fuccilli based on that confidential settlement, according to Levinson and Eichen.
The attorneys for New Jersey Transit and Central Railroad of New Jersey were not available for comment.
Copyright (c) Home News Tribune. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.
$891,000 Jury Verdict for Psychological Injuries to Bridgewater Man- July 31, 2002
Published in the Home News Tribune 7/31/02
By JONATHAN TAMARI – STAFF WRITER
A jury awarded a Bridgewater man $891,000 in connection with an accident in which a United Parcel Service truck crashed into his living room Craig Hodgkiss was unhurt in the accident, but his lawyer said he suffered from post-traumatic-stress disorder and has to take medicine daily to cope.
A Somerset County jury awarded Hodgkiss $750,000 in compensation, which, with interest added, will result in an $891,000 payout from UPS, said Hodgkiss’ lawyer, Daniel Epstein of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP, an Edison trial law firm.
He expects UPS to appeal. Mario Colitti, an attorney who represented UPS in the case, did not return a phone call yesterday seeking comment.
The verdict was handed down Friday after a five-day trial before Superior Court Judge Frank Gasiorowski in Somerville, Epstein said.
The suit stemmed from an Oct. 19, 1998, incident in which a UPS truck jumped a curb near Hodgkiss’ home and crashed into the living room of his condominium, Epstein said.
At the time, Hodgkiss’ wife was holding the couple’s 10-month-old baby in the rear of the unit and witnessed the accident. Hodgkiss, who did not see the crash but heard it, ushered them and a downstairs neighbor to safety, according to Epstein.
The incident, the lawyer said, caused his client permanent psychological damage.
“Many people devalue psychiatric injuries,” Epstein said. “Under recent New Jersey case law, a psychiatric injury must cause significant sickness and be caused by a significant stimulus to be a viable claim. Both factors were present here.”
Woman receives $800,000 settlement for injuries she suffered at work- January 08, 2001
MIDDLESEX COUNTY: A woman has received an $800,000 settlement for injuries she suffered at work when part of her scalp was ripped off because her hair got caught in the gears of a conveyor belt at a Cranbury Plant, her attorney said.
Nina Patel, 53, of North Brunswick settled her case against the installers of the belt and the electrician who installed the shut-off switch, said Barry Eichen of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP.
Patel packed teddy bears at Russ Berrie and Company Inc., he said. She put them on a gravity conveyor belt, then pushed them over to a motorized belt. But on August 23, 1999, the boxes started to pile up and her supervisor asked her to go under the conveyor belt and turn it of using a shut-off switch, said Eichen.
He said guards underneath the belt had been removed by maintenance workers and were never re-installed.
So, when she went underneath the belt, her hair got caught in the gears and part of her scalp was ripped off, said Eichen, adding that Patel had to have a skin graft because of her injuries.
Eichen also said Patel could have shut the belt off by pulling a line cord, instead of crawling under belt, but that line cord would have stopped the entire system, and her supervisor just wanted a portion of the belt turned off.
Eichen said he initially filed suit against Russ Berrie as well, but the court dismissed that portion, citing workman’s compensation rules.
The settlement was reached on Tuesday just before jury selection began before Judge Bryan Garruto in state Superior Court, New Brunswick. Eichen said he planned to argue that the installer, W.S. Marshall Inc. in Cliffwood, and the electrician, Access Electric in Perth Amboy, should not have put the shut off button underneath the belt. But James D. Butler, the Jersey City based attorney who represented Access said his client, as well as W. S. Marshall, planned to argue that they were not responsible for the accident.
He said the decision to settle the case was a business decision.
“We maintained all along, and also maintained, at the time of the settlement, there was no culpability, but unfortunately the cost of litigation is so high that it was (an) economic (decision),” he said.
Access agreed to pay $75,000 of the settlement, while W.S. Marshall agreed to pay the rest.
By Michelle Sahn
$1,050,000 Settlement for Failure to Supervise Elderly- February 28, 2000
NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
SUITS & DEALS
Borsai v. Somerset County Department of Transportation: The Somerset County Department of Transportation agreed to a $1.05 million settlement of a suit by an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who was left on a bus in sweltering heat for three hours.
On June 29, 1999, Michael Borsai, now 72, was one of a number of elderly residents being transported home from the All Day Care Center in Bedminster Township. The driver, James Wilson, did not see that Borsai was still seated in the rear of the bus when he drove to the department’s parking lot at about 3 p.m. By that time, the outdoor temperature had exceeded 90 degrees and it was very humid.
Wilson left the bus, but Borsai, because of the advanced state of his Alzheimer’s condition, was unable to leave the bus by himself, says his lawyer, Barry Eichen, a partner at Edison’s Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP. Another Department employee spotted Borsai in the bus about three hours later.
Borsai was taken to St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick where doctors discovered that his existing vascular problems had been exacerbated by the heat and that he had developed a blood clot in a thigh. He spent three weeks in the hospital.
Wilson was fired shortly thereafter. The settlement was reached on November 30, 2001. A trial had been scheduled to begin last Monday before Somerset County Superior Court Judge Helen Hoens.
The transportation department was represented by Scott Rodgers, a partner at Somerville’s Miller Robertson and Rodgers. He did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
By: Michael Booth
$1,000,000 Recovery in Wrongful Death Drowning Case- January 01, 2000
Daryl L. Zaslow represented the Estate of a 43 year old man who drowned during a scuba diving lesson. The decedent was taking an open water scuba diving class to obtain his diving certification when he was separated from his partner and dive instructors. After the decedent was discovered and pulled from the water his diving equipment was subjected to extensive forensic investigation and testing and the results confirmed that the scuba equipment did not malfunction. An autopsy revealed only that the death was a result of drowning and there were no medical events such as a cardiac arrest or stroke that may have caused the tragedy. Although there were no witnesses to say exactly what happened to have caused the death, Mr. Zaslow retained a leading expert in scuba diving accidents who was critical of the diving instructors for losing sight of the decedent. The expert further opined that if the visibility was too poor to see all the diving students, it was incumbent on the diving instructors to cancel the lesson. Mr. Zaslow obtained the full insurance policy limits of $1,000,000 for the Estate.
$425,000.00 Settlement for Employment Discrimination- March 30, 1999
Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 9, 2002
Contact: Barry R. Eichen, Esq. 732-777-0100
Barry R. Eichen of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP on behalf of plaintiffs Greg Montano and David Orban agreed to a settlement of $425,000 with Defendants Handex Environmental. Mr. Montano of Union County and Mr. Orban of Essex County were the victims of age discrimination by their employer Handex Environmental located in Marlboro, New Jersey. Discrimination can not be tolerated in this day and age, no matter what form it takes, no matter against whom it is designed to hurt. Eichen said.
Their were 12 laborers performing an environmental clean-up with Handex. Montano and Orban were two of three workers over the age of 50 who were terminated as of March 30, 1999. The company alleged that the termination was a result of decreased profits/revenues.
Through a deposition of the CFO of Handex, it was discovered that the holding company’s revenues increased from 1997 until 2001. Plaintiffs contended that the lack of revenues was a pre-textual explanation to disguise the age discrimination.
Plaintiffs’ experts included a forensic accountant and a human resources expert. The case was settled after mediation with former Appellate Judge John E. Keefe.
About Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP
Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP is a full service trial law firm offering personal attention and aggressive advocacy in all cases. Their lawyers have recovered over 100 million dollars in settlements and jury verdicts for the benefit of their clients over the last ten years.
Judge Awards $9.3M for Diving Injuries in Mexico- March 02, 1998
THE NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
SUITS & DEALS – March 1998
Marazo v. Hotel Oasis Cancun: A federal judge awarded a Somerville man $9.375 million on March 11 for injuries that left him paralyzed after diving into a hotel’s pool in Cancun, according to the Judge’s chambers.
U.S. District Chief Judge Anne Thompson in Trenton entered a default judgment ordering Hotel Oasis Cancun and its parent company, Hotel Oasis International, to pay Richard Marazo $9.375 million. Thompson found damages in the amount of $12.5 million, but decreased the award by 25 percent because Marazo also was negligent. “Considering that this is a hotel, we’re very hopeful that we’ll be able to collect the award,” says Jeffrey Nichols, a partner with Manhattan’s Brightner & Hoffman, who represents Marazo.
Marazo, who is 28, was vacationing in Mexico in April 1994 when the accident occurred. Marazo dove into the hotel’s pool and struck his head on the concrete bottom. When he surfaced, he swam to the in-pool bar for help. The pool’s bartender, who was not identified in the suit, saw Marazo was bleeding and pushed him away. Nichols says the bartender’s actions contributed to his client’s paralysis.
Marazo, who was a state corrections officer in Middlesex County before the injury, has undergone surgery and rehabilitation but will not fully recover from injuries. Barry Eichen of Eichen & Cahn, served as Marazo’s local counsel.
The local counsel for the hotel, Lawrence Engrissei, an associate with Mount Laurel’s Thomas Dempster, did not return a telephone call last week. By: Matt Ackerman
$1,785,510 Total Value of Settlement In Shoulder Dystocia or Brachial Plexus Injury Case
Daryl L. Zaslow, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained the defendant’s policy limits of $1,000,000 as a settlement on behalf of 6 year old girl with a permanent brachial plexus injury she sustained during her birth. A portion of the settlement is being used to purchase an annuity which will result in total payments to the child of $1.4 million, making the total value of the recovery $1,785,510.
The Plaintiff was born on February 12, 2007 at Virtua Memorial Hospital and the delivering obstetrician recognized that the delivery was complicated by shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia is an obstetrical emergency which occurs when a baby’s shoulder gets trapped behind the mother’s pubic bone during delivery. In these circumstances the physician is required to use certain maneuvers to free the impacted shoulder without causing injury. To prevent injury to the brachial plexus nerves running from the neck through the shoulder/arm, the standard of care requires that the delivering physician not exert excessive force in attempts to deliver the child.
In this delivery, Mr. Zaslow argued that the defendant applied excessive traction as she attempted to free the shoulder, resulting in a permanent brachial plexus injury, and, limited function of the shoulder, arm and hand known as Erb’s Palsy. Although the injured child has had surgery, the injury remains permanent.
$6.74 Million Total Value of Recovery In 19 Year Old Cerebral Palsy Case
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $4.15 million settlement on behalf of a 19 year old who sustained hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and cerebral palsy at birth. A portion of the settlement is being used to purchase annuities, which will result in total payments to the Plaintiffs of at least $4,977,275 making the total value of the settlement over $6,274,000.
The facts which gave rise to the lawsuit occurred nearly 20 years ago. The pregnant patient arrived at the Labor and Delivery Department of the Defendant Hospital on November 10, 1993 at approximately 12:30 p.m. Pursuant to the hospital’s policies and procedures, she was hooked up to fetal monitoring, however, no baseline fetal heart rate was recorded in the records. Although the parties vociferously dispute exactly what happened next, Plaintiffs testified that at approximately 1 p.m. they were told by a nurse they could leave the hospital and Defendants contend that patient removed herself from the fetal heart monitoring and essentially left the hospital against medical advice (“AMA”).
Plaintiffs returned to the Hospital at approximately 4 p.m. where they were seen by the Defendant obstetrician, who was Plaintiff’s treating obstetrician. Plaintiffs= experts maintained that over the course of the next several hours the defendant obstetrician failed to appreciate evidence of a hostile uterine environment and fetal distress on the electronic fetal monitoring which should have prompted him to order an emergency cesarean section earlier than he did. Tragically, a cesarean section was not performed until 6:06 p.m., at which time Plaintiff was born with significant problems. Plaintiffs= experts opined that the delay in calling for an emergency cesarean section resulted in the infant sustaining an acute asphyxic event in the minutes before his birth which left him with significant brain damage.
The Plaintiffs’ experts were also critical of the labor and delivery nurse who they allege was responsible for prematurely discharging Plaintiffs from the hospital when they first presented to the hospital at 12:30 p.m.
Tycey and Darren Jackson claimed that Dr. Charles Haddad allegedly used too much traction to dislodge their daughter Autumn’s shoulder during her birth at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood on May 9, 2006. The shoulder had become stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone, a condition known as shoulder dystocia.
As a result of excessive force, the girl was born with Erb’s palsy, a permanent paralyzing injury to the brachial plexus that limits use of her left shoulder, arm and hand, says the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Daryl Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy in Edison. Autumn might need surgery as she grows, he adds.
The settlement was reached on Sept. 20 and Superior Court Judge Robert Polifroni approved it after a friendly hearing. Part of the money will buy two annuities and about $104,000 will be held by the court until Autumn is 18, to pay for uncovered medical costs, Zaslow says.
$1.9 Million Recovery in Cerebral Palsy Mid-Wife Case Involving a Home Birth- July 01, 2011
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $1.9 million settlement on behalf of a 5 year old boy with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and cerebral palsy. The case arose out of a planned home birth performed by a certified mid-wife. Plaintiffs’ experts maintained that the Defendant mid-wife failed to appreciate a prolonged second stage of labor and that the mother needed to be transferred the nearest hospital once her second stage of labor approached 2 hours. Long second stages of labor are associated with increased fetal and maternal morbidity and mortality because fetal reserves may become low from the stress of prolonged labor and pushing. Plaintiffs maintained that long second stages of labor may be indicative of impending problems and the Defendant mid-wife failed to appreciate or react to the length of the second stage which was at minimum 2 hours and 47 minutes.
Plaintiffs’ experts opined that the delay in transferring the mother to the nearest hospital where an emergency cesarean section would have been performed resulted in the infant sustaining an acute asphyxic event in the minutes before his birth which left him with significant brain damage.
The parents signed a detailed Home Birth Consent Form which advised them that certain emergencies may occur during a home birth and that the level and type of care they receive at a home birth would be different and less than they would receive if the delivery was performed at a hospital.
The multiple defense experts opined that the second stage of labor was not too long and did not necessitate that she be transferred to the nearest hospital. A neuro-radiologist expert for the defense also maintained that the child’s neurological insult occurred several days before the birth. Finally, the defendant’s obstetrical expert testified that because the home birth did not include the use of electronic fetal monitoring it was impossible to know whether the baby was in a hostile intra-uterine environment and required an emergency cesarean section.
$1.8M Settlement in Shoulder Dystocia / Erb’s Palsy Case- July 07, 2011
$3.8 – $7.1Million Recovery in Wrongful Birth, Cystic Fibrosis Case- November 01, 2010
Daryl L. Zaslow obtained a $2.0 million recovery on behalf of a 4 year old boy with Cystic Fibrosis and his parents. A portion of the settlement is being used to purchase an annuity which will result in total payments to the child between $3.8 – $7.1 million, depending on how long the child lives. The settlement also allocates $468,000 to be split by the parents.
The child’s mother maintained that she was offered an elective screening test for Cystic Fibrosis carrier status at her first prenatal visit and she wanted to be screened. The mother testified that immediately after she left the obstetricians’ office with multiple requisition forms for laboratory tests, including the test for Cystic Fibrosis, which she took to them to a national laboratory. Notwithstanding this testimony, the laboratory maintained that they never received a request to screen the mother for Cystic Fibrosis and, since this is not a routine test, the mother’s blood was not screened for carrier status.
Although all of the mother’s prenatal blood tests were normal, the defendant physicians failed realize they had not received Cystic Fibrosis test results until after the child was born and diagnosed with this condition.
The gene causing Cystic Fibrosis was identified in 1989 and screening for Cystic Fibrosis has been offered to pregnant patients since the mid-1990s. Cystic Fibrosis is inherited in a recessive fashion meaning that both parents have to be carriers for a child to be born with the disorder. The initial screening test for carrier status is simply a blood test and if both parents are carriers, then the baby has a 25% chance of being born with the defect. After parents both test positive for carrier status, they may then choose to undergo an invasive amniocentesis or chronic villus sampling which will determine whether the baby has Cystic Fibrosis.
Mr. Zaslow argued that had the mother’s request to be screen been fulfilled, she would have learned she was a carrier, the father would have also undergone screening which would have been positive and the they would have elected to undergo an amniocentesis. Had an amniocentesis been performed it would have diagnosed Cystic Fibrosis and plaintiff’s mother would have terminated the pregnancy, thereby avoiding the mental anguish and extraordinary costs associated with raising and caring for a person with Cystic Fibrosis.
Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disorder affecting multiple organ systems including the digestive system, pancreas, liver, intestines, sinuses and respiratory system. The defective gene resulting in Cystic Fibrosis causes the mucus to become perniciously thick and sticky. In terms of digestive problems this thick, sticky mucus blocks pancreatic ducts. As a result, digestive enzymes that are produced by the pancreas cannot reach the small intestine.
The respiratory system is the most serious problem for people with Cystic Fibrosis. The thick mucus builds up in the lungs and blocks the airways. This allows bacteria to grow in the lungs and results in serious lung infections, lung damage and ultimately respiratory failure. Today, the average life expectancy of people with Cystic Fibrosis is 37 however, just ten years ago, the life expectancy was 18 years of age.
The defendant physicians argued that the mother decided she did not want to be screened for carrier status and after the child was born advised the physicians she would not have terminated the pregnancy even if she was told the baby had Cystic Fibrosis. The laboratory also maintained they ran the tests that were ordered by the physicians.
$3,715,000 – $9,625,000 Total Value of Recovery in Cerebral Palsy Case- August 01, 2010
Daryl L. Zaslow obtained a multi-million settlement on behalf of a 6 year old boy with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and cerebral palsy. A portion of the settlement is being used to purchase an annuity which will make the total value of the settlement $3,715,000 – $9,625,000.
The child’s mother, who had recently come to the United States from Mexico, presented to CentraState Medical Center in labor on May 5, 2004. The defendant obstetrician ordered Pitocin to augment the labor and the delivery of the baby. Plaintiffs’ experts maintained that over the course of several hours, the obstetrician failed to appreciate evidence of a hostile uterine environment and fetal distress on the electronic fetal monitoring which should have prompted her physician to discontinue the Pitocin and call for an immediate emergency cesarean section earlier than she did. Plaintiffs’ experts opined that the delay in calling for an emergency cesarean section resulted in the infant sustaining an acute asphyxic event in the minutes before his birth which left him with significant brain damage.
The Plaintiffs’ experts were also critical of the labor and delivery nurse for not having appreciated the signs of fetal distress and for not having invoked the hospital’s “chain of command” policy. Plaintiffs claimed that the Nurse should have exercised the “chain of command” and circumvented the obstetrician’s authority as the attending physician when the obstetrician failed to appreciate or react to signs of fetal distress.
The multiple defense experts for opined that the obstetrician’s interpretation of the fetal heart monitoring was consistent with the ACOG guidelines and that the cesarean section was called at an appropriate time. A neonatology expert for the defense also argued that the Plaintiff’s neurological injuries were not caused by an acute asphyxic event, as the Plaintiffs’ experts maintained, but by prolonged exposure to maternal chorioamnionitis, an infection of the placenta. The nurse’s experts stressed that the obstetrician was constantly monitoring the patient throughout her labor and it was not the nurse’s decision whether to call for a cesarean section.
$9,600,000 Settlement on Obstetrical Malpractice Concerning a Monochorionic Pregnancy- June 01, 2010
$9,600,000 settlement on Obstetrical Malpractice concerning a monochorionic pregnancy in which the demise of twin B and a delay in the delivery of twin A resulted in severe brain damage to the surviving twin.
$950,000 Settlement In Shoulder Dystocia or Brachial Plexus Injury Case- March 01, 2010
Daryl L. Zaslow obtained a $950,000 recovery on behalf of young girl with a permanent brachial plexus injury she sustained during her birth which was complicated by shoulder dystocia. “Shoulder dystocia” occurs when a baby’s shoulder gets trapped behind the mother’s pubic bone during delivery. In these circumstances the physician is required to use certain maneuvers to free the stuck shoulder without causing injury. To prevent injury to the brachial plexus nerves running from the neck through the shoulder/arm, the standard of care requires that the delivering physician not exert excessive force in attempts to deliver the child. In this delivery, Mr. Zaslow argued the obstetrician applied too much traction or pulling during delivery, and failed to utilize accepted maneuvers to deliver the child, resulting in a permanent brachial plexus injury, manifested by physical deformity, and, limited function of the shoulder, arm and hand (Erb’s and/or Klumpke’s Palsy). Although the injured child has a permanently injured arm, a tendon transfer surgery was successful in limiting the extent of the injury.
Failure to Make Prenatal Diagnosis of Hypoplastic Left Heart Results in Confidential Settlement for Insurance Limits- February 01, 2010
Daryl L. Zaslow represented a teenage boy who went into congestive heart failure and ductal shock when he was just 9 days old. It was later learned that the heart failure was a result of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome which went undiagnosed in utero during his mother’s prenatal care. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome occurs when parts of the left side of the heart (mitral valve, left ventricle aortic valve, and aorta) do not develop completely. Mr. Zaslow argued that the radiologist and technician who were involved in the interpretation and performance of the mother’s prenatal ultrasound at 18 weeks gestation failed to appreciate and report an abnormal four chamber view of the fetal heart.
Mr. Zaslow retained experts who opined that the failure of the radiologist to report an abnormal fetal heart contributed to the long term cardiac and renal problems the boy suffers today. According to the Plaintiff’s experts, had the prenatal diagnosis of a Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome been made, the baby would have been given timely interventions including the administration of Prostaglandin to maintain circulation and this would have resulted into a better prognosis.
Although the specific monetary terms of the settlement are subject to a confidentiality agreement, Mr. Zaslow was able to get separate insurance coverage for the radiologist, the ultrasonographer and the radiology group and that the amount of the settlement was for their maximum insurance coverage in the case.
$850K Failure to Diagnose Lung Cancer- January 13, 2010
Plaintiff was an avid tennis player in his mid 60′s who suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder. Plaintiff required an x-ray prior to surgical repair which revealed a tumor in his right upper lobe. Upon request of plaintiff’s physician for prior films, defendant advised that prior films were either given to plaintiff or misplaced. Defendant also claimed that based on the report of the prior missing films, there was no lung mass present. Defendant doctor settled this claim prior to trial for $850,000.
$850,000 Settlement Anesthesiology Malpractice Wrongful Death Case- August 01, 2009
Daryl L. Zaslow obtained an $850,000 settlement on behalf of the Estate of 63 year old man who died from anesthesiology events following cardiac surgery. The decedent had a history of cardiac failure and diabetes and had been on disability since he was 51 years old. In 2003, the decedent underwent a procedure to remove infected defibrillator wires. There were complications incurred pre-operatively in attempting to intubate the patient due to rotund and thick airway. At the end of the surgery, a pulmonologist was called to perform a consultation due to concerns about the patient’s post-operative airway. Ultimately the anesthesiologist and pulmonologist extubated the patient, he went into respiratory and then cardiac arrest and died. The defense experts opined that the decedent died as a result of cardiac failure unrelated to the anesthesiology complications and extubation. Mr. Zaslow’s theory was that the Plaintiff sustained an upper airway obstruction due to traumatic attempts at intubation and premature extubation by the defendants. As a result, the decedent sustained respiratory failure which caused his cardiac arrest and death. Mr. Zaslow retained experts in the fields of anesthesiology, pulmonology, cardiology and internal medicine who supported this theory.
$4,850,000.00 Settlement for Obstetrical Malpractice- January 05, 2009
Settlement with defendant doctor for delay in delivery of infant resulting in learning disabilities – (At the request of the parties involved and in the best interest of our client, the names, dates and facts surrounding this settlement are confidential).
$4,400,000.00 Settlement For Failure To Diagnose Cancer- January 05, 2009
Settlement with defendant doctor for delay in diagnosing nasopharyngeal cancer-(At the request of the parties involved and in the best interest of our client, the names, dates and facts surrounding this settlement are confidential).
$8.225 Million Verdict in Wrongful Birth/Down Syndrome Trial- August 01, 2008
After more than 4 weeks of trial Daryl L. Zaslow obtained an $8,225,000 verdict on behalf of a 4 year old boy with Down syndrome and his parents. Mr. Zaslow argued that due to the mother’s advanced maternal age of 42 years she was at an increased risk of having a child with Down syndrome and required a specialized prenatal screening test called a targeted ultrasound, which is performed during 16-18 weeks of gestation. A targeted ultrasound focuses, or targets, the fetal anatomical markers known to be associated with Down Syndrome. One of the Defendants in the suit was Plaintiff’s obstetrician who did not order a targeted ultrasound, but rather, sent the mother for a standard obstetrical ultrasound. Unlike the targeted ultrasound, a standard obstetrical ultrasound is general prenatal screening test performed on pregnant patients who are not already identified as high risk and while it may detect the presence of markers for birth defects, its primary purpose is to confirm fetal growth and gestational age.
Although the standard obstetrical ultrasound was interpreted as normal by the defendant radiologist Plaintiff’s expert maintained that the ultrasound was misinterpreted by the radiologist and in fact showed a thickened nuchal fold which is a major marker or sign of Down syndrome. Mr. Zaslow argued that this finding necessitated that the mother be sent for further prenatal screening tests including a targeted ultrasound and ultimately an amniocentesis. Had an amniocentesis been performed it would have diagnosed Down syndrome and plaintiff’s mother would have terminated the pregnancy, thereby avoiding the extraordinary costs and mental anguish associated with raising and caring for a person with Down Syndrome.
Within moments of the plaintiff’s birth it was apparent that the infant had physical characteristics of Down syndrome or Trisomy 21. Chromosomal tests confirmed the diagnosis which results in mental retardation, facial and other physical stigmas and a shortened life expectancy.
$800,000 Settlement for Failure to Diagnose Appendicitis- January 07, 2008
Settlement with defendant doctor for failure to properly diagnose appendicitis of infant plaintiff. (At the request of the parties involved and in the best interest of our client, the names, dates and facts surrounding this settlement are confidential).
$5,250,000 Jury Verdict for Medical Malpractice- October 05, 2007
MONMOUTH COUNTY: On October 5, 2007 a Monmouth County jury returned a verdict of $5,250,000 in favor of a man who had been misled into undergoing an experimental procedure aimed at shrinking his prostate. On February 29, 2000 62 year old AR underwent the procedure known as alcohol ablation at the hands of defendant Roseland urologist Joseph DiTrolio, M.D. AR was not advised of the true risks of the procedure prior to the operation and, instead, was misled through written information presented by the defendant which described the operation as easy, risk free and pain free. The consent form detailing the true risks, including that the procedure was experimental, that it was riskier than current approved therapies and that it carried unknown risks, was not signed until several days after the procedure was completed. AR went on to require corrective surgery and was left with permanent, intermittent urinary incontinence.
$5.5 Million Verdict in Erb’s Palsy, Shoulder Dystocia Trial- April 01, 2007
Daryl L. Zaslow obtained a $5,516,150 verdict on behalf of a 5 year old girl with a brachial plexus injury. The delivery was complicated by shoulder dystocia. Plaintiff’s experts maintained that the permanent injury was caused by the doctor applying excessive lateral traction on the baby’s head after her shoulder was impacted on her mother’s pubic bone. Plaintiff underwent surgery to improve her condition and her pediatric neurologist testified that although she made significant improvement following the surgery, she still has permanent limitations and he could not rule out the need for another surgery.
The Defendant maintained that she never applied excessive traction on the baby’s head and that after properly diagnosing the shoulder dystocia, she easily freed the impacted shoulder by applying 2 appropriate maneuvers, McRoberts and Suprapubic pressure. The defendant’s expert opined that there are several causes for brachial plexus injuries other than excessive traction by the doctor and that the defendant did not deviate from accepted standards of care.
After deliberating for nearly 3 hours, the Essex County jury awarded the plaintiff $5,158,910 for disability, impairment, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering, $225,000 for future lost wages and $132,240 for future medical expenses.
$2.0 Million Recovery in Wrongful Birth Down Syndrome Case- February 01, 2007
After 3 weeks of trial Daryl L. Zaslow obtained a $2,070,000 recovery on behalf of an 11 year old boy with Down Syndrome. Within moments of the Plaintiff’s birth it was apparent that the infant had physical characteristics of Down syndrome or Trisomy 21. Chromosomal tests confirmed the diagnosis which results in mental retardation, facial and other physical stigmas and a shortened life expectancy. Plaintiff’s experts maintained that a prenatal fetal survey ultrasound done at 16 weeks of pregnancy showed a thickened nuchal fold which is a sign or marker that the fetus is at an increased risk of having Down syndrome. Plaintiff’s experts maintained that this finding necessitated that the mother be sent for further prenatal screening tests including a targeted ultrasound and ultimately an amniocentesis. Had an amniocentesis been performed it would have diagnosed Down syndrome and Plaintiff’s mother would have terminated the pregnancy, thereby avoiding the extraordinary costs of raising and caring for a person with Down Syndrome.
$18,500,000 Jury Verdict for Chemotherapy Caused Paraplegia- March 22, 2006
Anton Weck was permanently paralyzed from the waist down as a consequence of a mistake in the preparation of a drug administered on May 15, 2001 at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. He is wheel chaired bound, incontinent, sexually impotent and dependent on others. Anton is 25 years old and will remain in this condition for the rest of his life.
May 15, 2001 was meant to be one of the happiest in Anton’s life. He went to Saint Peter’s University Hospital on this date for his final dose of Chemotherapy utilized to conquer Leukemia. He was to receive a standard dose of methotrexate injected into a intrathecally (into the spinal canal). Among other chemotherapeutic agents administered through other roots. He had undergone this exact procedure over 25 times in the past without any adverse affect or complication. As he walked into the hospital, he was healthy and neurologically sound.
Anton’s medications were prepared at Saint Peter’s on May 15, 2001 by a probationary pharmacist, defendant Jhun. Ms. Jhun had essentially no experience in preparing chemotherapeutic agents and was one of if not the most junior pharmacist on staff. She was on 3 months probation as a consequence of inadequacies identified during her training which had ended just a few weeks earlier. By her admission, defendant Jhun committed pharmacy malpractice.
Defendant Jhun collected all the chemotherapeutic agents that she would be preparing for each of the patient receiving chemotherapy at Saint Peter’s on May 15, 2001 in a single bin. She carried the bin into the mixing room where she proceeded to mix chemotherapy for each patient consecutively. She described in her deposition that she mixed various chemotherapies (Vincristine and Methotrexate) that Anton Weck would be receiving “at the same time”. It is undisputed that this conduct fall below accepted practices and that it sets the stage for medication errors such as cause contamination and overdose. Jhun DiMatteo, the Director of Pharmacy in May of 2001 at Saint Peter’s, has clearly testified that this conduct was against both good pharmacy practice and the policies and procedures of the pharmacy at Saint Peter’s. Plaintiff’s expert, Mark Holdsworth, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacy in pediatrics at the University of New Mexico will testify that this conduct fall below any threshold of acceptable pharmacy practice. Indeed, no expert in the field of pharmacy practice testified on behalf of Ms. Jhun.
Incredibly, much of the critical documentation which would confirm exactly what defendant Jhun did the pharmacy on May 15, 2001 is missing. It had been either intentionally or negligently misplaced or destroyed by those acting on behalf of Saint Peter’s University Hospital. These documents include a detailed flow sheet which will memorialize exactly the steps taken by defendant Jhun, the type and volume of medications mixed and the cross checking procedures she followed; a pharmacy log that would memorialize similar information; and the actual order pursuant to which this pharmacist prepared the medications. Further, a twenty page evaluation form filled out over the course of her training at the Saint Peter’s pharmacy is missing. The testimony of the pharmacy supervisor has confirmed that this document would contain a detailed rendition of the actual training encountered by Ms. Jhun her performance during this training, the inadequacies that she manifested and the specific reasons why she was placed on the maximum probationary period after completing her training in late April, 2001.
On August 1st, (2 weeks after that treatment) Anton was readmitted to St. Peters. He was paralyzed. Evidence which came out for the first time at trial revealed that, on June 7, the head of the pharmacy met with Ms. Jhun and discussed the Anton Weck case. Thereafter, she was disciplined and placed on an additional 3 months probation. Neither she nor the hospital ever admitted the reason for the discipline and probation. But the jury understood the significance in light of the obvious timing. The key documents went missing between June 1, 2001 and August 15 2001, when the hospital served with a Notice of Claim. Thereafter, the documents could not be found. Thus it established that the pharmacy department was aware of the possible involvement of the intrathecal medication in causing Anton’s injuries on or before June 1, 2001.
Professor Holdsworth, Pharm. D. testified that defendant Jhun deviated from accepted pharmacy practices. This is undisputed. He testified that the way that defendant Jhun prepared the chemotherapy created the significant risk of cross contamination, which, with overwhelming probability, is what occurred in this case. He testified that the type and progression of neurological injury sustained by Anton is what one would expect with cross contamination of the intrathecal Methotexate with Vincristine. He will testified that no other, non-negligent, course of events would lead to this situation developing. Accordingly, the Court charged res ipsa loquitor.
On March 22, 2006, the jury returned its verdict in the amount of approximately $18,500,000.00.
$5,400,000 Jury Verdict for Medical Malpractice- November 04, 2005
HOME NEWS TRIBUNE – Friday, November 4, 2005
MIDDLESEX COUNTY: A North Brunswick man who suffered a massive stroke in 1999 has been awarded more than $5 million by a Superior Court jury.
After a seven-day trial in courtroom of Judge Mathias Rodriguez and two-and a-half hours of deliberations on Wednesday, the jury found that 49-year-old Mark Hoffman received improper medical treatment after he passed out at work in October of 1998.
Hoffman through his attorney William Crutchlow of the Edison law firm Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP, filed suit against his cardiologist Alexander Karpenos of Edison in January 2001. Hoffman suffered the Stroke Jan. 29, 1999.
Crutchlow said the award, including interest, totaled $5.4 million. The award included $416,000 for lost wages and the remainder was for pain and suffering.
Crutchlow said after Hoffman passed out at Frigidaire in Edison, where he worked for 15 years, he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, rapid heartbeat, congenital heart disease and an enlarged heart.
Crutchlow presented the testimony of Joseph Grossman, a New York City cardiologist, and John Greenberg, a Somerville neurologist, and argued that if Hoffman were treated properly, the stroke would not have occurred.
Jury Gives $4,000,000 to Victim of Stroke Caused by Headache Misdiagnosis- February 04, 2005
Foster v. Falk: A Middlesex County jury awarded a $4 million on Feb. 4 to a woman found to have suffered a brain-damaging stroke because doctors failed to order tests for her headaches.
Over seven days in June 1996, Carlene Foster, now 50, complained of headaches and vomiting to three doctors at HIP of New Jersey in Edison and to an emergency room doctor at J.F.K. Medical Center, and on June 12, she suffered a stroke. The jury found each doctor 25 percent liable, says her lawyers, William Crutchlow and William Levinson of Edison’s Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP.
Superior Court Judge Yolanda Ciccone presided at trial. Foster’s expert testified that a CAT scan, which would have shown pre-aneurysm bleeding, should have been attributed to migraine headaches and that the doctors did not deviate from standards of care by not ordering a CAT scan, Foster’s lawyers say.
The doctors and their lawyers are David Falk, represented by John Orlovsky of Orlovsky, Moody, Schaaff & Gabrysiak in West Long Branch; Nancy Somer, represented by Thomas Pyle of Roseland ‘s Post, Polak, Goodsell, MacNeill & Strauchler; Jeffrey Rosen, represented by Donald Grasso of Orlovsky, Grasso, Bolger, Mensching, Halpin & Daley in Toms River; and Angelo Racaniello, represented by Peter Gordon of Krompier & Gordon in Parsippany.
Pyle confirms the size of the verdict but declines to comment on whether there will be an appeal.
$1,050,000 Settlement for Medical Malpractice- January 05, 2004
$1,050,000 Recovery – Medical Malpractice
Essex County: In this medical malpractice action, handled by BARRY R. EICHEN, ESQ., the plaintiff, 52 at the time of the recovery, who had undergone surgery to replace a leaking mitral valve, contended that the defendant internist negligently failed to properly monitor the plaintiff’s Coumadin levels. The plaintiff as a result suffered a stroke approximately 3 months after the surgery. The plaintiff also named the cardiologist who performed the surgery and who saw the patient several times in the approximate four month period between the surgery and the stroke. The plaintiff had contended that the cardiologist should also be liable for the failure to properly monitor the Coumadin levels and there was no contention that the valve replacement surgery was performed in a negligent manner.
The surgery was performed on 2-28-00. The plaintiff then commenced a course of the blood thinner Coumadin, which was monitored by the defendant internist, who was the plaintiff’s primary care physician. The plaintiff’s expert internist contended that until the physician can determine the sensitivity the patient has to Coumadin, the physician should monitor the levels twice per week. The expert related that when it has become apparent that the therapeutic levels are sustained, the monitoring can be less frequent. The plaintiff’s expert further related that the levels are measured in terms of International Normalized Ratio (INR) and should be between 3 and 4 on such a scale. The plaintiff maintained that although the defendant internist monitored the plaintiff in a timely fashion during the first several week period, he negligently failed to continue to monitor the plaintiff at sufficient intervals between this period and the time of the stroke in June. The plaintiff contended that in March, the INR levels were between 9 and 10 and that the adjustments in the dosage resulted in a drop to a level below 2. The plaintiff maintained that despite such difficulties in obtaining the proper levels, the defendant internist continued to see the patient intermittently. The plaintiff also maintained that the cardiologist should have monitored the levels when he saw the patient approximately every other month. The defendant cardiologist maintained that he could validly rely upon the internist, who was the plaintiff’s primary care physician, to properly monitor the patient.
The evidence disclosed that in June, the plaintiff saw the cardiologist with signs and symptoms of atrial fibrulation and the cardiologist planned on treating this condition through electrical cardioversion using a defibrillator. In preparation for this treatment, the cardiologist performed a transesophageal echocardiogram and noticed signs of a blood clot. The cardiologist delayed the cardioversion, ordered that the dosage of Coumadin be elevated, but the plaintiff suffered the stroke the following day.
The defendant internist denied that the stroke was related to the Coumadin levels. The defendant maintained that the irregular heartbeat associated with the atrial fibrulation itself probably caused the clot. The plaintiff would have countered that any danger of the atrial fibrulation producing a clot rendered the need for proper monitoring of the blood thinner all the more crucial.
$3,240,000 Jury Verdict for Radiologist’s Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer- April 30, 2003
MIDDLESEX JURY AWARDS $3.24M FOR RADIOLOGIST’S FAILURE TO SPOT CANCER
THE NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL – SUITS & DEALS
Rodd v. Kotler: A Middlesex County jury awarded $3.24 million on April 30 in a wrongful death case against a radiologist for failing to spot a Sayreville woman’s breast cancer in two mammograms.
Plaintiffs’ lawyer William Levinson says that Maria Rodd’s 1997 mammogram showed a cluster of millimeter-sized dots that should have prompted radiologist Stuart Kotler to order a needle biopsy. Instead, Kotler told Rodd the film was normal. By August 1998, the cluster had grown and there was a tumor, though it was not visible on the mammogram film. Again, Kotler told Rodd the test was normal. In January 1999, when she went to her obstetrician-gynecologist complaining of a breast lump, a biopsy found an 11-centimeter, stage-four tumor, the most advanced, says Levinson, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP in Edison.
Rodd had a radical mastectomy and an axillary dissection of her lymph nodes; 14 of 18 nodes tested positive for cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation followed, but the cancer had metastasized, and she died in 2002 at the age of 53. Rodd’s husband, Joseph, and three grown daughters sued Kotler and his employer, University Radiology of East Brunswick.
Levinson says defense radiologist Joseph Becker of Pennsylvania denied the clusters existed and defense oncologist Julian Decter of Morris County testified that Rodd would have died anyway.
Judge Douglas Hague presided at the trial. When the jury asked for a calculator during deliberations, defense counsel Rudolph Socey Jr. suggested a high-low of $500,000 to $2.5 million but Kotler refused, Levinson says. Socey, a partner with Lenox, Socey, Wilgus, Formidoni, Brown, Giordano & Casey in Lawrenceville, did not return a call requesting comment.
The jury awarded $1.7 million for pain and suffering, $1.5 million for loss of consortium and $40, 000 for wrongful death.
Levinson says University Radiology has a 10$ million policy with MIIX.
By Mary P. Gallagher
$900,000 Settlement for Malpractice/Wrongful Death- January 07, 2002
Goncalves v. Unknown Hospital: Patient went in with various stomach ailments. His blood pressure was both high and low during a period of about 5-6 days. That patient had been sent for a CAT Scan which clearly showed a dissecting aortic aneurysm. The CAT Scan film was never read and the patient bled to death. This case was settled for $900,000.00, by attorney Barry Eichen.
Judge Awards $3,500,000.00 Verdict for Undiagnosed Birth Defect- August 01, 2001
$3.5M for Undiagnosed Birth Defect August 2001
THE NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL – SUITS & DEALS
Infant C.H. v. Unnamed Pediatrician: A Morris County Judge on Aug. 2 approved a $3.5 million settlement to a Flanders couple whose son was left with neurological damage due to alleged negligence of a pediatrician shortly after his birth.
Infant plaintiff, C.H. was born to Doris and Jason Holloman on Aug. 2, 1994, at Morristown Memorial Hospital and discharged as a well baby on Aug. 6. But the plaintiffs’ lawyer William Levinson, says the child suffered from Hirschprung’s disease, a lack of nerve cells in a portion of the bowel resulting in obstructed bowel movements.
Levinson says the infant’s failure to pass a stool within his first 24 hours, and at most, his first 48 hours, required the pediatrician to test for Hirschprung’s disease but she did not do so.
Following his discharge, the child suffered from abdominal distension, failure to thrive, failure to stool and fever. Plaintiff’s mother then called the pediatrician about these symptoms four times over the next several days, but the doctor never recommended that the baby be returned to the hospital, according to Levinson, a partner in Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP in Edison.
On Aug. 11, C.H. was brought back to the hospital. He was in shock, septic and lethargic and he became hypoxic, resulting in a loss of oxygen to the brain that left him developmentally disabled, says Levinson. The child remained hospitalized for the next six and one-half months and had bypass surgery to attach the working portion of his colon to his rectum, says Levinson.
Levinson says that the delay in treatment led to Hirschprung’s acquired enterocolitis, a more toxic and damaging condition.
The child, now 7, is mildly learning disabled and is now in first grade after being held back one year in kindergarten says Levinson. Though he is not under ongoing treatment, he will have recurring bowel problems, adds Levinson.
The infant’s parents sued in 1997 on their own and their son’s behalf.
Levinson says Dr. Harland Winter, an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, would have testified that the pediatrician deviated from accepted standards of care in discharging the child without testing for Hirschprung’s disease. A board-certified neurologist, John Greenberg, and a neuropsychologist, David Mahalick, would have testified that the child’s neurological disabilities will impair his cognitive, sensory, memory, visual and auditory functions. And a life-care-plan and vocational expert, Ed Provder, concluded that the boy will require care for the rest of his life and is unlikely to be able to support himself, though both parents are successful college grads, says Levinson.
The pediatrician was represented by E. Burke Giblin, a partner with Giblin & Combs in Morristown, who did not return a call requesting comment.
Morris County Superior Court Judge David Cramp approved the settlement, which will fund a special needs trust, on Aug. 2 following a friendly hearing.
Levinson’s partner Barry Eichen was co-counsel on the case.
By: Mary P. Gallagher
$1,000,000 Settlement for 2-Year Old’s Death from Pneumococcal Meningitis
After 3 weeks of trial before the Honorable Darlene J. Pereksta , Mercer County, Daryl L. Zaslow, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $1,000,000 settlement on behalf of the Estate of a 2 year old boy who died of pneumococcal meningitis.
Vaughn Lujan was 2 years old when his father took him to see one of his pediatricians, Priya Stephen, MD on April 8, 2008. At that time, Plaintiffs maintain Vaughn’ symptoms included several days of fever between 103-104, vomiting and decreased activity. Plaintiffs also maintained that Vaughn was extraordinarily tired and could hardly keep his eyes open during the examination performed by Dr. Stephen. Dr. Stephen contended that Vaughn was fully immunized and although Vaughn was tired he was otherwise alert and appropriate during her examination. Dr. Stephen diagnosed Vaughn as having a viral syndrome. Although Mr. Lujan maintained Dr. Stephen instructed him to bring Vaughn back in 48 hours if he still had a fever or had not improved, Dr. Stephen insisted she also instructed Mr. Lujan to bring Vaughn back in sooner if he got worse.
On April 9, 2008, Vaughn was more tired and less active. That evening Mr. Lujan spoke to Vaughn’s regular pediatrician, Dr. Sean Pierson. The content of this telephone conversation was vociferously disputed. Dr. Pierson maintained he instructed Mr. Lujan of warning signs that if present necessitated that Vaughn receive immediate medical care. Mr. Lujan did not recall any such instructions being given.
When Vaughn was seen by a different pediatrician on April 10, 2008 that pediatrician immediately suspected Vaughn had bacterial meningitis. That diagnosis was confirmed when Vaughn was admitted to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Tragically by the time Vaughn arrived to the hospital he was completely unresponsive. Vaughn suffered a stroke on April 17 and died on April 19, 2008.
Plaintiffs alleged that on April 8, 2008, Defendant Stephen deviated from the accepted standards of care in failing to order follow-up care and by failing to properly communicate medical instructions for follow-up care to Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs further contended that Defendant Pierson deviated from the accepted standards of care in failing to advise Plaintiffs to seek immediate medical attention for their son when Dr. Pierson spoke to Mr. Lujan on April 9, 2008. The Defendants denied all allegations of negligence and claimed Vaughn’s death was due to his developing a virulent strain of pneumococcal meningitis after Vaughn was seen by Defendant Stephen.
$1,000,000 Settlement for Failure to Diagnose Cancer- February 28, 2000
SUITS & DEALS – February 28, 2000
McGann v. Wold: A Red Bank radiologist’s insurer agreed on Feb. 17 to pay $1 million to settle a claim that he misread a mammogram, causing a delay in a patient’s cancer diagnosis, the plaintiff’s counsel says.
William Levinson, of Edison’s Levinson & Weinberg, says the evidence showed that the early stages of cancer were detectable on a mammogram taken of his client, Eileen McGann, in February 1994, but the disease wasn’t diagnosed until a lump was found in November, 1995.
She then underwent surgery and chemical and radiation therapy, but surgery alone would have cured her had it been performed earlier, and the chance of a recurrence is now greater, Levinson says.
Defense lawyer Thomas Leyhane, staff counsel for Medical Inter-Insurance Exchange of Lawrenceville, did not return phone calls last week, but Levinson says the defense had prepared evidence that no warning of cancer appeared on the mammogram read by the defendant, Robert Wold, of Red Bank Radiology.
Levinson says that he asked for $1 million at the outset and rejected offers of $250,00 and $900,00.
The matter was settled at the opening of a trial before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul Chaiet.
Reprinted with permission from the New Jersey Law Journal, February 28, 2000 by American Lawyer Media, L.P.
$750,000 Settlement During Trial for Nursing Negligence- January 17, 2000
NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
SUITS & DEALS – January 17, 2000
Ferguson v. An Unnamed Hospital and Two Unnamed Nurses: A Middlesex County judge approved a $750,000 settlement on January 3 in a suit alleging that negligence by a Middlesex County hospital and two nurses led to an Edison woman’s brain damage.
Jeanette Ferguson, now 63, was having symptoms of a heart attack when she went to the hospital’s emergency room on Jan. 11, 1995, according to her attorney, Barry Eichen, a partner with Edison’s Eichen & Cahn. Eichen says the nurses failed to monitor his client’s condition and respond in a timely manner, causing permanent brain damage and a loss of short-term memory.
The parties had reached a settlement on Dec. 13 after opening statements in front of Judge Douglas Hague, according to Eichen. The nurses and the hospital were not named because of a confidentiality agreement.
Both nurses had more than 10 years of experience and should not have left Ferguson unmonitored, says Eichen.
The defendants asserted that Ferguson’s brain damage was caused by the heart attack, which was brought on by a previous condition that damaged the heart about seven years earlier, Eichen says. The defense also argued that Ferguson had previously undergone coronary artery bypass surgery, smoked three packs of cigarettes a day and had not seen a doctor for seven years before the hospitalization on Jan. 11, 1995, according to Eichen.
While acknowledging that Ferguson was a smoker, Eichen says that habit did not detract from the medical providers’ alleged negligence.
Just because she smoked three packs a day doesn’t mean that she should not have been monitored, Eichen says.
Ferguson says his client may have been left unmonitored for up to five minutes, while the defense argued that she was unmonitored for no more than a minute.
The hospital was represented by Donald Ottaunick, a partner at Hackensack’s Cole, Schotz, Meisel, Forman & Leonard. The nurses were represented by Daniel Hurley, a partner with Short Hills’ Hurley & Vasios, and Louis Dughi, a partner with Cranford’s Dughi & Hewit. None of the defense lawyers returned telephone calls seeking comment on the settlement.
By: Sandy Lovell
$1.5M Settlement for a Delay in Diagnosing Cervical Cancer- January 01, 2000
$1,510,000.00 Settlement for a Delay in Diagnosing Cervical Cancer Due to Misreading of Pap Smear. This Delay in Diagnosis Led to the Demise of a Young Woman.
$900,000 Settlement During Trial for Hospital Negligence- December 07, 1999
NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
SUITS & DEALS – DECEMBER 7, 1999
Goodman v. Community Medical Center: A Tom’s River hospital has agreed to pay $900,000 to the estate of a man whose skull was fractured by his hospital roommate the day he was to be released following hip replacement surgery.
The settlement was reached Dec. 7 midway through a jury trial before Ocean County Superior Court Judge Edward Oles.
According to plaintiff’s lawyer William Levinson, a partner with Levinson & Weinberg in Edison, Bill Goodman was scheduled to be released from Community Medical Center on Sept. 5, 1995. But an emergency room patient admitted on that date, Wallace Miller, was placed in Goodman’s room, where he attacked Goodman at about 4:30 a.m. Miller, in a delusional state, picked up a traction bar and crushed Goodman’s skull, causing brain damage and his death in April 1997 at age 72, say Levinson.
The hospital and the doctor in charge of the emergency room, Medhat El-Kharbouty, were named defendants. Levinson says Miller’s psychiatric condition was improperly treated and he was placed in Goodman’s room without medical detoxification or increased security.
The defense argued that the attack wasn’t foreseeable, according to Levinson. Princeton Insurance Co. was the carrier for all of the defendant. Richard Grossman, partner with Brick, Grossman, Krutschnitt, Heavey & Jacob who represented the hospital, was out of the office and unavailable for comment Thursday. Martin McGreevy, a partner with Carton, Witt, Arvanitis & Bariscillo in Asbury Park who represented El-Kharbouty, did not return a telephone message left seeking comment. Joseph DiCroce, a partner with Fitzgerald, DiCroce, Maggs & McDermott in Brielle who represented Psychiatric Emergency Screening Services, did not return a telephone message left seeking comment.
By Padriac Cassidy
Reprinted with permission from the New Jersey Law Journal, Dec. 7, 1999 by American Lawyer Media, L.P.
$1,000,000 Jury Verdict for Vascular Malpractice- November 17, 1999
SUITS & DEALS
NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
Molnar v. Argila: A Middlesex County jury awarded $1 million on November 17, 1999 to Jolan Molnar, a Woodbridge woman who alleged that her leg had to be amputated because three doctors failed to provide timely treatment. The jury attributed 39 percent of the injury to a previous condition, which means the plaintiff will receive $610,000, plus about $85,000 in prejudgment interest, both lawyers in the case say.
Molnar was 61 years old on Dec. 12, 1994, when she underwent colon obstruction surgery at John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey . The operation was a success, but five days later she complained of numbness in her left foot.
Her lawyer, William Levinson, who heads a firm in Edison, presented evidence that the cause of the numbness was an arterial blockage that could have been diagnosed and treated quickly if an angiogram had been performed sooner or a specialist had been called in earlier than Dec. 27. Four days later, Molnar’s leg was amputated below the knee.
Defense attorney John North, a partner with Woodbridge’s Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith, Ravin, Davis & Himmel, argued that even if the test result and the specialist had been available earlier, the result would have been the same because it wasn’t an arterial blockage that caused the leg problem. The defense presented evidence that Molnar suffered from cholesterol buildup in the small vessels, which would have worsened no matter what the defendants did.
North says he may appeal on grounds that the verdict went against the weight of the evidence. One of the defense experts was Dr. John Edora, a vascular surgeon who performed the appendectomy on Gov. Christine Todd Whitman the same week as the trial.
The plaintiff demanded a $1.5 million settlement before the trial, but North and Levinson say the defendants, covered by Medical Inter-Insurance Exchange, offered nothing.
Drs. Charles Argila and Gary Brenbart were each assessed 24 percent of the blame and Dr. David Richmond was assessed 13 percent, for a total of 61 percent.
By Henry Gottlieb
Reprinted with permission from the New Jersey Law Journal by American Lawyer Media, L.P.
$650,700 Settlement for Erb’s Palsy – May 04, 1998
NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
SUITS & DEALS – MAY 4, 1998
“Jane Doe” v. St. Peter’s Medical Center: “Jane Doe” was injured in November 1984 after Stephanie Duke, a second-year resident in obstetrics at St. Peter’s Medical Center in New Brunswick, applied excessive force to her head during delivery, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney, William Levinson, who heads a firm in Edison. The force caused permanent damage to her right arm, which had been stuck, he adds.
Under the settlement, approved by Superior Court Judge Douglas Hague on March 16, “Jane Doe” will receive payments of $951 a month for the rest of her life, with payments guaranteed for a minimum of 40 years in the event of her death. The payments will increase by 3 percent a year, for a guaranteed total of $1.34 million according to Levinson.
“Jane Doe” will also receive guaranteed payments of $30,000 a year from 2002 to 2005, and $35,000 a year from 2006 to 2008.
The settlement also provides for $8,824 in Social Security disability benefits; $172,500 for legal fees and costs; and $68,675 for “Jane Doe’s” mother to care for her daughter.
The payments will be made by the Health Care Insurance Co. of Princeton, the carrier for the hospital and Duke.
Richard Amdur, who represents Duke and the hospital, says his clients deny liability. “We were concerned about the potential exposure because of the child’s condition. But I still felt the case was winnable,” says Amdur, a partner with Amdur, Boyle & Maggs in Eatontown.
By: Cheryl Winokur
$2,100,000 Settlement for Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice Case- June 22, 1998
NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
SUITS & DEALS – JUNE 22, 1998
Castro v. Kappy: Union County Superior Court Judge John Pisansky on Tuesday approved $2 million settlement for an Elizabeth boy who was born with cerebral palsy after doctors allegedly neglected signs of fetal distress.
Cathy Castro was admitted to Newark Beth Israel Hospital on the evening of Jan. 26, 1994 by her obstetrician Kenneth Kappy to induce labor because a fetal non-stress test was nonreactive, “which was a strong indication for concern and close monitoring,” says William Levinson, who represented the Castro family in the medical malpractice claim. A medical resident, John Simonetti, notified Kappy around midnight that there was fetal distress and was lead to believe Kappy was coming to deliver the baby by caesarean section, says Levinson of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP in Edison.
Kappy’s lawyer, Stephen Mortenson, of Springfield’s Mortenson & Pomeroy, says his client did not remember receiving the call from Simonetti. In the morning the baby still hadn’t been delivered, so the resident obstetrician, Marilyn McArthur, called Kappy in. By then it was too late because the baby had cerebral palsy due to the loss of oxygen, Levinson says. All three doctors were named in the suit.
Mortenson says this was a compromise settlement and there was no admission of liability. In fact, the defense contends that the baby is physical problems were caused by unrelated congenital conditions, Mortenson says.
Under the structured settlement agreement, the initial $1 million disbursement is expected within 30 days of the agreement, of which Levinson is expected to receive $494,522 in fees and $21,910 for reimbursement for litigation costs. A trust will be established for the boy, Dominick Castro, with the remaining 1 million. Within 30 days, Castro can expect to receive $50,000 followed by monthly payments of $3,215, which will increase at 3 percent compounded annually. Payments are for the rest of Castro’s life or 30 years which ever is longer.
The settlement is expected to yield a total of $10.3 million. Mortenson said the hospital’s insurance company will pay the settlement amount. McArthur’s lawyer, Stephen Schecter, a partner with Milburn’s Schechner & Decker, declined to comment. Simonetti’s attorney, William Lane, of Westfield’s Johnstone, Stok, Loughlin & Lane, did not return telephone calls.
By Heather MacGregor
Reprinted with permission from the New Jersey Law Journal, June 22, 1998 by American Lawyer Media, L.P.
Suit Over Death After Cesarean Ends in Settlement for $1.45M- May 18, 1998
NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
SUITS & DEALS – MAY 18, 1998
Tur v. St. Peter’s Medical Center: The widower of an Old Bridge woman, who died from internal bleeding after a Cesarean section, received $1.45 million to settle his wrongful death claims against a hospital and three doctors.
The settlement, approved on March 30 by Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Douglas Hague, was confirmed by James Murray, the civil division manager in Middlesex County. On May 8, Mark Tur received $1 million from Princeton Insurance Co., the carrier for St. Peter’s Medical Center in New Brunswick and doctors Brad Cohen and Sanford White, according to the plaintiff’s attorney, William Levinson of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP in Edison.
The remaining $450,000 was paid by the carrier for Dr. Marcia Katz, the remaining defendant. The name of the carrier was not made public. Levinson and Katz’s attorney, Jay MacNeill, a partner with Roseland’s Post, Polak, Goodsell & MacNeill, declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement.
Tur filed suit in Middlesex County Superior Court in June 1995 as the executor of the estate of his wife, Lorraine, who was 34 at the time of her death in June 1994.
Tur’s suit claimed that during the birth of their third child, his wife suffered from placenta accreta, a condition where the placenta adheres to the uterus. He alleged that Cohen, who performed the Cesarean, failed to properly stitch the location where the placenta attaches to the uterus, causing the patient to hemorrhage. Tur also claimed that the hysterectomy performed by Dr. White failed to stop the bleeding.
Then, while Tur was in intensive care, Dr. Katz allegedly failed to notice that she was taking in a great deal of fluid intravenously but excreting very little, Levinson says. Tur died a day after giving birth.
Richard Amdur, a partner with Amdur, Boyle & Maggs in Eatontown who represents St. Peter’s and Drs. Cohen and White, declines to comment on the case.
John Blumenstock, a partner with Ledy-Gurren & Blumenstock in Manhattan, was co-counsel to the plaintiffs.
By Cheryl Winokur
Reprinted with permission from the New Jersey Law Journal, May 18, 1998 by American Lawyer Media, L.P.
$640,000 Settlement on Suicide Case (1997)- January 01, 1997
Suicidal patient admitted to Marlboro State Psychiatric Facility. He was evaluated and the doctor placed him on a category of surveillance known as ‘eye contact’. This surveillance category required that the patient be evaluated on a minute to minute basis until he was cleared and released from suicide watch. During this surveillance period, the two nurses took a 40 minute break and came back only to find the patient had hung himself by his own belt, resulting in his death. That case was settled by attorney, Barry Eichen, for $640,000.00 which includes waiver of any and all Medicare/Medicaid liens.
$3,300,000 Structured Settlement During Trial for Malpractice- August 12, 1996
THE NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL – SUITS & DEALS
Porrino v. Leslie Ocher, et. al.: The Sports and Orthopedic Rehabilitation Institute in New Brunswick and one of its physical therapists agreed to a $600,000 present- value settlement that will pay $3.3 million to a 10-year old hemophiliac whose leg was fractured by a physical therapist.
The insurer for the New Brunswick rehabilitation facility and physical therapist Leslie Ochner will pay the sum over the lifetime of Michael Porrino, of Metuchen, who suffered permanent loss of movement in his right leg as a result of fracturing his femur during a Dec. 24, 1992, circulation therapy session, according to Porrino’s attorney, William Levinson of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP in Edison.
Porrino’s leg was put in a cast and when it was removed, he couldn’t move his knee. “The range of motion in his knee is permanently limited,” Levinson says.
Middlesex County Superior Court Judge George Nicola had begun the trial before the defendants insurer, Princeton Insurance Co., made an offer, according to defense attorney Thomas Chansky. The parties tentatively agreed to the structured settlement while the jury was deliberating. “In the eleventh hour they agreed to pay us a small amount,” says Levinson. “We were moments away from a verdict.”
Chansky, a partner in North Brunswick’s Lynch Martin, says that the defendants were reluctant to settle with Porrino because the plaintiff’s claims were so unusual. “All the doctors we talked to agreed they’d never heard of this kind of injury,” says Chansky.
Nicola signed off on it three weeks ago.
By Lisa Brennan
Reprinted with permission from the New Jersey Law Journal, August 12, 1996 by American Lawyer Media, L.P.
$500,000 Jury Verdict for Podiatric Malpractice (1996)- April 11, 1996
NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
SUITS & DEALS – APRIL 22, 1996
Thrasher v. Wishnie:
A Middlesex County jury deliberated for 45 minutes on April 11 before awarding $500,000 to an Edison woman who sued a podiatrist for his alleged failure to secure a bone in her foot.
Sharon Thrasher, now 29, consulted Peter Wishnie, who practices in Piscataway, about a bunion on her left foot. In March of 1991, Wishnie performed an elective osteotomy, a surgical procedure during which the fifth metatarsal is cut into two parts, says Thrasher’s attorney, William Levinson. However, Wishnie allegedly failed to fixate one of the bones, and as a result the bone remained out of place until subsequent, extensive surgery was performed, according to Levinson, of William D. Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP in Edison. Since then, Thrasher has permanent pain and sensitivity in her foot.
Middlesex County Superior Court Judge John Bachman, who presided over the three-day trial, confirmed the amount of the award.
Wishnie’s attorney, Michael Lazarus of Corrigan & Lazarus in Springfield, was on vacation last week and could not be reached for comment.
Levinson estimates the total award, with prejudgment interest, at $566,475.
By Deseree Graham
Reprinted with permission from the New Jersey Law Journal, April 22, 1996 by American Lawyer Media, L.P.
$750,000 Jury Verdict for Orthopedic Malpractice- March 11, 1996
NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
SUITS & DEALS – MARCH 11, 1996
Feigel v. Murphy et. al.: A Monmouth County jury awarded $750,000 Tuesday to a Tinton Falls woman who claimed that she was injured after a hip-replacement surgery at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank.
Sybil Fiegel, now 54, sued the doctor who performed her surgery on Nov. 7, 1990, Bernard Murphy, and his medical group, Orthopedic Consultants Inc. of Middletown. The suit alleged that a post-operative splint placed around her left knee caused a condition called “drop foot,” according to Feigel’s attorney, William Levinson of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP in Edison. The condition prevents Feigel from lifting her foot, according to Levinson, who says that she wears a leg brace so she can walk.
Feigel claimed that Murphy placed the splint so tightly that the peroneal nerve, which allows the foot to move, was damaged.
The jury reached its verdict on the sixth day of trial before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge John D’Amico Jr., whose law clerk confirmed the amount of the verdict. According to Levinson, interest brings the total to $861,000 for Feigel’s pain and suffering.
Murphy’s attorney, Richard Grossman, a partner with Grossman & Krutschnit in Brick Township, did not return a telephone message left at his office.
By: Deseree Graham
Reprinted with permission from the New Jersey Law Journal, March 11, 1996 by American Lawyer Media, L.P.
$2,250,000 Jury Verdict for Malpractice/Wrongful Death- July 10, 1995
NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
SUITS & DEALS – JULY 10, 1995
Van Nosdall v. Sergeant: A Middlesex County jury deliberated for one hour on June 29 before awarding $2.2 million to the widow of a man whose medication allegedly caused liver failure.
Wesley Van Nosdall of Old Bridge began taking acetaminophen with codeine for his back pain as prescribed by his doctor, John Sargeant, in September of 1983, according to Van Nosdall’s attorney, William Levinson of Edison’s Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP. Van Nosdall took up to seven pills daily, Levinson says. He adds that between 1983 and February of 1991, when Van Nosdall stopped taking the medication, his elevated liver enzymes, an asymptomatic condition, were aggravated. He died on April 14, 1991, at age 59, of acetaminophen induced liver failure.
Van Nosdall’s widow, Dorothy, filed suit in July 1992. The trial, before Superior Court Judge George Nicola, lasted for four days.
Levinson’s expert witness, Paul LeWinter, an internist at Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center in Plainfield, showed that elevated liver enzymes were, at best, not helped by the acetaminophen prescription.
Sargeant was represented by Thomas Chansky of Lynch Martin in North Brunswick, who did not return a telephone message left at his office.
By Deseree Graham
Reprinted with permission from the New Jersey Law Journal, July 10, 1996 by American Lawyer Media, L.P.