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 wheelchair 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 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 effect 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 falls 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 Methotrexate with Vincristine. He 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. This case was tried by Attorney William Crutchlow.
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $5.0 million settlement on behalf of a six year old girl with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and cerebral palsy. A portion of the settlement is being used to purchase an annuity which make the projected total value of the settlement $10,215,715.
The child’s mother presented to Mountainside Hospital on August 26, 2013 at 9:30 am under the care of the Defendant obstetrician for an induction of labor. Although the fetal heart rate tracings and contractions were originally reassuring, Mr. Zaslow and his experts maintained that by 3 p.m. the uterine contractions were occurring every 1-2 minutes. Uterine contractions occurring at a rate greater than 5 in a 10 minute segment is known as uterine hyperstimulation or tachysystole, which should be avoided or treated as it can have a detrimental effect of placental perfusion and oxygenation to the fetus by not allowing sufficient re-oxygenation of the fetus between uterine contractions. Prolonged tachysystole has been shown to have a cumulative negative effect on fetal oxygenation status and can lead to depletion of fetal reserves necessary to protect the fetus from harm during the course of labor. Mr. Zaslow maintained that uterine tachysystole continues to be present throughout the remainder of the mother’s labor.
By 9 pm there were episodes of fetal tachycardia, with decreased variability and late decelerations. Plaintiffs’ experts maintained that over the course of 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 call for an emergency cesarean section. Instead, the plaintiff was not born until 12:54 a.m. the following morning. 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 her birth which left her with significant brain damage.
The Plaintiffs’ experts were also critical of the labor and delivery nurses for not having appreciated the signs of tachysystole and fetal distress, and for not having invoked the hospital’s “chain of command” policy. Plaintiffs claimed that the Nurses should have exercised the “chain of command” and circumvented the Defendant Obstetrician’s authority as the attending physician when the obstetrician failed to appreciate or react to the signs of fetal distress.
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.
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, 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.
Daryl Zaslow obtained a $5.9 million recovery on behalf of the Estate of a 67-year-old man who was the victim of multiple acts of negligence. The litigation originally arose out a motor vehicle accident. As a result of the accident, the Plaintiff sustained a partially torn rotator cuff. After conservative physical therapy failed, the plaintiff underwent what was anticipated to be a “routine” arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Tragically, during the perioperative or postoperative period the Plaintiff sustained an anoxic incident which left him brain damaged and unable to care for himself until he died several years after the accident.
The Plaintiffs filed the lawsuit against the driver who caused the motor vehicle accident as well as the 3 anesthesiologists who cared for him during the surgery. The medical records contained absolutely nothing unusual or inculpatory and the underlying medical issues involved in the medical malpractice aspect of the case were extraordinarily complex. In short, Plaintiff’s expert anesthesiologist opined that as a result of the positioning of Plaintiff during the surgery there was a reduction of the mean arterial blood pressure and cerebral profusion pressure which caused the anoxic injury. At the time the surgery was performed, this theory of medical negligence or medical complication had not even been recognized in the medical texts.
The case was litigated for nearly 10 years. During the course of litigation, the venue was changed, the case was stayed, and an insurance company become insolvent. The recovery of $5.9 million represents the full limits of the insurance for the defendants.
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.
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, 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.
MONMOUTH COUNTY: Plaintiff counsel, William O. Crutchlow, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. 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.
Silecchia v. The Ocean Eye Institute, et. al.
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $5.0 million settlement on behalf of a 50-year-old stroke victim and his soon to be ex-wife, with whom he has separated.
Paul Silecchia presented to the Ocean Eye Institute on June 25 and July 20, 2009, where he was seen by an optometrist. At both visits, Mr. Silecchia complained of recent headaches with monocular visual disturbances. The examinations by the defendant revealed no retinal pathology for the symptoms and his differential diagnosis included glaucoma and headache/migraine. At the second visit the optometrist recommended that Mr. Silecchia follow-up with his primary care provider if the headaches persisted and he was told return to The Ocean Eye Institute in one year. Neither the optometrist nor anyone from The Ocean Eye Institute expressed any urgency regarding Mr. Silecchia’s symptoms or his need for immediate treatment.
On July 20, 2009, Mr. Silecchia called his primary care physician, requesting prescriptions for several things, including an MRI of the head. Although Mr. Silecchia did not speak directly to his doctor Mr. Silecchia did speak to the staff and the phone message given to his physician from his staff stated that Mr. Silecchia had “headaches” and “left eye patches.” Notably, the phone message also informed the physician that according Mr. Silecchia had seen an optometrist and his “eyes were within normal limits.” With this information, the primary care physician wrote a prescription for an MRI of the head with and without contrast. The diagnosis written on the prescription states, “headaches and vision changes.” Dr. Lozowski did not call or ask to speak to Mr. Silecchia or to the optometrist regarding Mr. Silecchia’s situation and no one from his office expressed any urgency to Mr. Silecchia regarding the etiology of his symptoms or the need for immediate evaluation.
On August 3, 2009 Mr. Silecchia suffered a left hemisphere stroke involving the left middle cerebral artery distribution. The stroke resulted in permanent disability, including neurological deficits affecting the right side of his body, which have resulted in difficulties in walking and speaking. As a result of these deficits Mr. Silecchia never returned to work as a department manager at Pathmark.
Mr. Zaslow retained experts in ophthalmology, optometry, neurology, family medicine, internal medicine, life care planning and economics. With respect to the issue of liability, Zaslow and his experts maintained that the symptoms reported by Mr. Silecchia were secondary to amaurosis fugax, or ischemia to the ophthalmic artery from a carotid vascular lesion. Amaurosis fugax is a critical symptom that requires an emergent work up. Zaslow further maintained that an evaluation by a neurologist, primary care physician or one conducted in the emergency department at any time in the 6 weeks prior to his stroke would have prompted a carotid ultrasound which would have easily diagnosed his high-grade carotid disease. Mr. Silecchia would have then undergone carotid revascularization or carotid endarterectomy and this stroke would have been prevented. Click here to read more about the case.
Barry Eichen of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, obtained a $4.85 million settlement on behalf of a 7-year-old who sustained mild Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy as a result of Defendant obstetric doctor’s failure to recognize fetal distress on the fetal monitor while the infant’s mother was in labor. Defendant alleged that the fetal strips did not show fetal distress and even if they did, the doctor’s delay was not significant enough to cause the injury. This case was settled prior to trial by Attorney Barry R. Eichen, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. (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).
After more than 5 weeks of trial Daryl L. Zaslow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River) obtained a $4,650,000 settlement on behalf of a 7-year-old boy with Down syndrome and his parents. Mr. Zaslow was assisted at trial by Thomas Rinaldi, Esq. of the firm. The settlement was reached as the case was being tried in Monmouth County before the Honorable David F. Bauman, P.J.S.C.
The Plaintiff Mother was sent by her regular obstetrician to the Defendant, a specialist in maternal fetal medicine, for first and second trimester prenatal screening tests due to a family history of birth defects. Although the first trimester screening test performed when Plaintiff was 12 weeks pregnant determined Plaintiff’s risk of having a baby with Down syndrome to be 1 in 1,102, Mr. Zaslow argued the Defendant deviated from the accepted standards of care in his interpretation of a second trimester targeted ultrasound performed when Plaintiff was 19 weeks pregnant which Mr. Zaslow argued showed the presence of two “soft markers” for Down syndrome. More specifically, Plaintiffs’ experts maintained that the Defendant failed to appreciate the presence of soft markers for Down syndrome referred to as a “sandal gap” and a “hypoplastic mid-phalanx of the fifth digit.” During the trial testimony of the Plaintiffs’ maternal fetal medicine expert, the jury was shown an ultrasound image the expert testified depicted an abnormal wide space between the first and second toe known as a sandal gap. The jury was also shown another ultrasound image the expert testified demonstrated an underdeveloped bone in the pinky known as a hypoplastic mid-phalanx of the fifth digit. Mr. Zaslow also introduced medical literature to support his argument that a sandal gap is found in 45% of babies born with Down syndrome and that 60% of fetuses with Down syndrome have a hypoplastic mid-phalanx of the fifth digit.
Mr. Zaslow argued that the Defendant needed to inform his client of the presence of both of the soft markers and of their statistical association to Down syndrome so that Plaintiff could make an informed decision whether to pursue an invasive 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.
In addition to filing suit against the maternal fetal medicine specialist, Mr. Zaslow also named as a defendant the sonographer who performed the targeted ultrasound. Although the defense conceded that the sonographer was not responsible for interpreting the ultrasound, Mr. Zaslow argued she should have brought the alleged abnormalities to the attention of the physician.
The Defendants argued that the ultrasound was entirely normal and did not demonstrate either the sandal gap or a hypoplastic mid-phalanx of the fifth digit. They also had several experts in maternal fetal medicine prepared to testify that a sandal gap and hypoplastic mid-phalanx of the fifth digit are not even considered reliable soft markers for Down syndrome and are therefore even if they are present, they should not be used to counsel patients about their risk for having a baby with Down syndrome.
William Crutchlow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey recently settled a case for $4,250,000 arising from brain damage sustained by a two-year-old boy following upper airway surgery. The child developed Post Obstructive Pulmonary Edema which caused his lungs to fill with fluid. Management of this condition requires intubation. The physicians managing the child’s care delayed in acting to intubate which led to the severe worsening of the child’s condition and then to cardiac and respiratory arrest. The boy was ultimately resuscitated, but sustained significant brain damage affecting his vision and cognitive functioning.
William O. Crutchlow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey won a $4,000,000 jury verdict in favor of a woman who sustained a large stroke due to a delay in diagnosis of an aneurysm.
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 lawyer, William Crutchlow of Edison’s Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, 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.
William O. Crutchlow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey was co-lead counsel on a case arising from Cerebral Palsy suffered by a child during his birth. The case recently settled for $4,000,000. Our client is a boy who was neurologically and physically normal up through the time that his mother went into labor. Over the course of the next several hours, despite repeated evidence that the boy’s brain was being deprived of oxygen, his treating physician and nurses failed to recognize this and failed to proceed to an emergency delivery. We alleged that expedited delivery was required and that the failure to identify the signs of progressive fetal distress on the part of the doctor and nurses managing the delivery fell below acceptable standards of practice. Our client suffered severe and permanent brain damage as a direct result of these failures.
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.
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.
Plaintiff’s attorneys, Barry Eichen and Christian Mastondrea, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, secured a settlement for $3,500,000 against defendant doctor for misdiagnosis of kidney infection which led to complications.
$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 says the child suffered from Hirschprung’s disease, a lack of nerve cells in a portion of the bowel resulting in obstructed bowel movements.
Plaintiff’s attorney 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.
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. 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.
Plaintiff’s 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. Though he is not under ongoing treatment, he will have recurring bowel problems.
The infant’s parents sued in 1997 on their own and their son’s behalf.
Plaintiff’s attorney 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.
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.
Barry Eichen, partner at Eichen Cruchlow Zaslow, LLP, was co-counsel on the case.
William O. Crutchlow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey recently accomplished a $3,350,000 settlement for a woman who suffered brain damage due to massive blood loss after giving birth. Our client was in her mid-thirties when she underwent an elective caesarean section to deliver a healthy baby boy. The procedure was done to avoid potential complications from a previously diagnosed placental abnormality. Shortly after giving birth, the patient started to bleed heavily. The operating Obstetrician and the Anesthesiologist on the case were slow to appreciate the significance of the bleeding and failed to act promptly to call for help or to replace lost blood products and fluids. Our client lost a massive amount of blood before going into cardiac arrest and losing blood flow to her brain for several minutes. She was resuscitated, but had sustained significant brain damage leaving her permanently physically and cognitively impaired. A settlement was reached with the Obstetrician, the Anesthesiologist and the hospital where the delivery occurred.
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 lawyer at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, 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,” The Firm says.
Middlesex County Superior Court Judge George Nicola had begun the trial before the defendant’s 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 his attorney. “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.
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 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, said his attorney, from Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, 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.
The Firm 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. 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.
University Radiology has a $10 million policy with MIIX.
Perricone v. Eltaki: The estate of a Secaucus man who died shortly after shoulder surgery received a $2.5 million settlement in a Hudson County suit on July 1. On April 19, 2012, Gerald Perricone, 57, had elective right shoulder surgery to repair a labrum tear at Bloomfield Surgi-Center, where he was administered anesthesia by anesthesiologist Dr. Kareem Eltaki.
Perricone allegedly died from cardiac distress when catecholamines, adrenaline-like substances that interact with the heart, circulated through his bloodstream. The substance was secreted from a pheochromocytoma, which is an abnormal mass, according to the suit.
The pheochromocytoma was first diagnosed upon autopsy, according to the estate’s lawyer, Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow LLP in Edison.
While pheochromocytoma is usually diagnosed on autopsy, Perricone experienced tachycardia, or elevated heart rate, before the start of the surgery, which should have been addressed by Eltaki, according to Zaslow.
The suit claimed Eltaki deviated from the standard of care by failing to administer medication to Perricone, by failing to appreciate the seriousness of his condition after the surgery, by failing to have Perricone hospitalized promptly, and by delaying before calling emergency help, Zaslow said. The suit also claimed prompter emergency care would have led to Perricone’s survival. Perricone, 57, had a wife and three children.
According to Zaslow, the defense emphasized how rare it is to diagnose a pheochromocytoma before death, and noted that Perricone’s primary care physician and cardiologist both cleared him for surgery.
The case was settled before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Peter F. Bariso. Eltaki agreed to pay his $1 million policy limit, and Eltaki’s employer, Northern Valley Anesthesia Group, also agreed to pay it’s $1 million policy limit. Bloomfield Surgi-Center agreed to pay $500,000.
Eltaki and Northern Valley Anesthesia were represented by R. Scott Eichhorn of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin in Roseland. Eichhorn could not be reached for comment.
Heather LaBombardi of Giblin Combs & Schwartz in Morristown, who defended Bloomfield Surgi-Center, declined to comment.
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $2,500,000 settlement on behalf of the Estate of a 57-year-old man who died from a pheochromocytoma-related cardiac crisis during and immediately following an elective orthopedic shoulder surgery. At the time of his death on April 19, 2012, Plaintiff left surviving a wife and three adult children.
On April 19, 2012 Plaintiff Decedent underwent an elective right shoulder surgical repair of labrum tear under general anesthesia to be administered by the Defendant anesthesiologist. The procedure was performed at a free-standing surgical center. The surgery went smoothly from an orthopedic viewpoint, however, approximately three hours after the surgery began, Mr. Zaslow’s client was dead, succumbing to a pheochromocytoma-related cardiac crisis. A pheochromocytoma is an abnormal mass that secretes inappropriately large quantities of catecholamines, or adrenaline-like cardiac excitatory substances into the circulation. The Plaintiff Decedent’s pheochromocytoma was first diagnosed on autopsy. Although the vast majority of pheochromocytomas are found in the abdomen, they can be found anywhere along a system of primitive residual neuro-endocrine rests running along the spine from the base of the skull (glomus jugular) down to the top of the urinary bladder (organ of Zuckerkandl). If undiagnosed and untreated, they can prove lethal through the mechanism of severe hypertensive crisis, stroke, catecholamine-induced cardiomyopathy, and fatal cardiac rhythm disturbances. The medical literature states that approximately 90% of pheochromocytomas are first diagnosed on autopsy.
Mr. Zaslow and his experts maintained that his client developed wide QRS complex tachycardia before the start of surgery and that the Defendant anesthesiologist deviated from the standard of care when he proceeded with the surgery instead of further investigating the aberrant heart rate. They further maintained that the Defendant’s treatment of this patient’s wide (QRS) complex tachycardia during surgery deviated from the standard of care and that no clear attempt was made by the Defendant to address the wide complex tachycardia with proper medications or determine its etiology. Finally, Mr. Zaslow maintained that the anesthesiologist failed to appreciate the severity of the situation after the surgery was finished and while his patient was decompensating in the PACU. Despite problems with oxygenation and concomitant cyanosis, Plaintiffs maintained that the Defendant delayed in calling for an EMT and chose not to have his patient brought to the nearest hospital.
Mr. Zaslow and his experts contended that had this elective operation been suspended appropriately at the onset of the cardiac crisis, had appropriate medications been given, and had his client been transferred to a tertiary clinical facility in the appropriate time frame with proper stabilization and evaluation, followed by surgical extirpation (and cure) of the pheochromocytoma to a reasonable degree of medical certainty he would have experienced a normal recovery, with safe and successful shoulder repair later, and a normal long-term survival.
The Defendants stressed that approximately 90% of pheochromocytomas are first diagnosed on autopsy and that this statistic supports how difficult it is to diagnose them.
The matter settled for $2.5 million with the $1 million policy limits of the anesthesiologist being paid, the $1 million policy limits of the anesthesiologist’s employer being paid, and $500,000 being paid by the Surgery Center where the surgery was performed.
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $2,350,000 settlement on behalf of the Estate of a 53 year old man who died from an aortic dissection. At the time of his death on October 18, 2013, Plaintiff left surviving a wife and two adult children. The case was scheduled for trial on March 11, 2019 and the settlement was reached on March 6, 2019 during a settlement conference before the Honorable Craig L. Wellerson, J.S.C.
Jonathan Rabkin was a 53 year old man when he presented to the Community Medical Center Emergency Department at 0109 on 10/18/2013 complaining of the sudden onset of upper abdominal pain radiating to the back. There was associated nausea and vomiting. He was seen by the Defendant attending emergency physician. After ordering labs and after a chest x-ray demonstrated an apparent wide mediastinum the emergency room physician ordered a chest CT angiogram (a CT with contrast) to rule out an aortic dissection, however, the physician subsequently canceled the contrast administration due to concerns regarding the elevated creatinine. As such, the CT scans of the chest and abdomen were ultimately performed at 0341 on 10/18 without IV contrast.
The Defendant radiologist, provided a preliminary interpretation of the CT scans at 0404 and a final read of these CT scans at 0501. This Defendant’s interpretation of the Chest CT noted a 5.2 cm fusiform ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm. Although the final report of the Chest CT prepared by the radiologist notes that the results were “relayed to the emergency room” the emergency room physician testified he was never told that the CT demonstrated a 5.2 aortic aneurysm and that the radiologist nformed him there “was no acute process” noted on the CT scan. As such, at 0407, Mr. Rabkin was admitted to the hospital for observation status and he was passed off to the on-duty hospitalist who was also a Defendant. It was not until 0903 that a contrast enhanced CT scan was performed of the chest revealing an extensive Type A aortic dissection with hemopericardium. At that time, arrangements were being made to emergently transfer Mr. Rabkin to Pennyslvania Hospital for the surgical repair of the aortic dissection, however, at 10:25 Mr. Rabkin became profoundly unstable and despite full resuscitative he could not be resuscitated. He was pronounced dead at 1148 on 10/18/13.
Mr. Zaslow and his experts maintained that a noncontrast CT scan cannot reliably diagnose or exclude the diagnosis of aortic dissection which is a life-threatening condition. As such, they argued that once the emergency physician ncluded an aortic dissection in his differential diagnosis it was incumbent on him to ensure that test was performed. Here, the Defendant initially ordered the correct test when he ordered the CT angiogram, however, his decision to cancel this and proceed instead with a noncontrast CT of chest was a decision that fell below the standard of care and caused unnecessary delay in diagnosing the aortic dissection.
Mr. Zaslow and his experts also maintained that the radiologist also deviated from accepted standards of radiology by not immediately contacting the emergency room physician and advising him of his finding of an ascending thoracic aneurysm and of the urgent need for a CT angiogram with contrast to exclude a dissection. As per these issues, Plaintiffs’ experts maintained that in a setting in which the ordering physician is considering an aortic dissection the finding of an aortic aneurysms is a critical finding that must be immediately communicated to the ordering physician and that the radiologist must also recommend the necessary study to ensure a timely diagnosis.
Plaintiffs’ experts were also critical of Defendant Hospitalist for contributing to the delay in not ordering the CT angiogram as soon as she became responsible for the patient upon his admission to the hospital at 0407.
Mr. Zaslow and his experts in thoracic surgery maintained that had a timely diagnosis been made, Mr. Rabkin could have easily been transferred from Community Medical Center to a hospital that was actually capable of performing the requisite surgical repair of acute ascending aortic dissections. As per this issue, Community Medical Center, which is part of the RWJ Barnabas Health System, is not a cardiac surgery center capable of performing emergent surgical repair of an aortic dissection. Jersey Shore University Medical Center is a cardiac surgery center fully capable of performing the surgery Mr. Rabkin required to save his life and was the closest such hospital to Community Medical Center.
The Defendants’ experts opined that even if Mr. Rabkin was diagnosed with an aortic dissection at approximately 0407, it would still have taken 6-10 hours to effectively transfer him to another institution that was capable of performing this surgery and therefore Mr. Rabkin would not have been saved.
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, from Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. Van Nosdall took up to seven pills daily, The Firm 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.
The Plaintiff’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.
Daryl L. Zaslow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey recently settled a urologic medical malpractice matter for $2.2 million on behalf of a 62-year-old man. Plaintiff presented to the Defendant at the referral of his primary care physician because of elevated PSA levels. Plaintiff maintains that, at the conclusion of the consultation, a biopsy had not been scheduled, but that the following day a staff member of Defendant’s practice called to advise of an opening in their schedule, which he agreed to take. It is alleged that Defendant failed to appreciate that no pre-operative instructions were given to Plaintiff such that pre-operative measures, including an enema and prophylactic antibiotics, were not followed. The day following the procedure Plaintiff was gravely ill, and presented to the Emergency Room where he was diagnosed with hypotension, septic shock as a result of bacteremia from prostatitis, respiratory failure, gangrene, and multi-organ failure. Plaintiff thereafter underwent bilateral below the knee amputations, below the elbow amputation of the left upper extremity and partial loss of right hand and four fingers. He now relies on prosthetics and a walker to ambulate. Settlement was reached prior to the exchange of written expert reports.
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 the Plaintiff’s attorney, from Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP in Edison 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 led to believe Kappy was coming to deliver the baby by caesarean section.
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. 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 The Firm 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, whichever 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.
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 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.
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (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. Click here to read more about the case.
Estate of Ramos v. Christ Hospital, et. al.
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $1.88 million settlement on behalf of the Estate of a 58-year-old stroke victim.
After having fallen in his kitchen and complaining of dizziness, Francisco Ramos presented to the Christ Hospital Emergency Department on February 13, 2011. The initial diagnosis was recorded as syncope, however, a CT done at that time showed evidence of infarctions in the left internal capsule and right cerebellar hypodensity which were correctly read as subacute stroke. He was admitted to the hospital where he was seen by Dr. Kazmi, the attending internist, Dr. Patel, a first-year resident working under the supervision of Dr. Kazmi, and Dr. Kapoor, a neurologist who was called in for a neurology consultation.
The neurological consultation was performed by Dr. Kapoor on February 15, 2011 and was reported as normal. From the time of admission through discharge on February 15, 2011, Mr. Ramos displayed no neurological findings. Additionally, telemetry performed indicated no arrhythmias or aberrant findings. Mr. Ramos was discharged from Christ Hospital following on February 15, 2011 with instructions to follow-up with his internist and neurologist in one week, however, on February 17, 2011 Mr. Ramos was admitted to Jersey City Medical Center having suffered an additional stroke. While at Jersey City Medical Center Mr. Ramos went on to sustain further strokes including a totally disabling stroke on February 20, 2011. The etiology of the strokes was never determined.
Mr. Zaslow retained experts in internal medicine, neurology, family medicine, cardiology, life care planning and economics. With respect to the issue of liability, Zaslow and his experts maintained that the defendant physicians who cared for Mr. Ramos at Christ Hospital prematurely and negligently discharged Mr. Ramos without determining the etiology of the subacute infarcts, failed to do a sufficient stroke work up, failed to obtain a cardiology consult and failed to perform a sufficient neurological consultation. Insofar as none of the physicians at Christ Hospital or Jersey City Medical Center were ever able to determine the etiology of the strokes, or prevent them, the issue of causation remained problematic.
Mr. Zaslow and his experts asserted that Mr. Ramos suffered several ischemic strokes prior to his admission on 2/13/2011, and because the CT scan of 13 February 2011 showed left internal capsule and right cerebellar strokes, the strong implication is that the source of emboli was heart or great vessels; these locations would not correspond to any local cerebral or carotid vessel distribution. These types of strokes are typically caused by what is known as a ‘shower of emboli,’ almost always central (cardiac or great vessel) in origin. Before discharging Mr. Ramos, the defendants at Christ Hospital failed to order the requisite tests to determine if the subacute strokes were coming from a cardiogenic source. As per this issue, a transthoracic echocardiography can sometimes identify a source, but the standard test is TEE (transesophageal echocardiography) because of its greater sensitivity based on better images that are unaffected by lung interference. CT angiography of the great vessels is also indicated to identify major thrombi or atherosclerotic plaques in the aorta that can frequently serve as embolic sources. Although both these tests were subsequently performed at Jersey City Medical Center and were normal, Plaintiffs maintained that the TEE was performed too late only after the cardiac emboli had traveled to Mr. Ramos’ brain – thus explaining why the emboli were not present in the heart.
Mr. Zaslow and his experts were critical that even when they discharged Mr. Ramos the defendants for failed to take the most basic measures to reduce the likelihood that Mr. Ramos would suffer an additional stroke. In fact, they even failed to recommend Mr. Ramos take aspirin.
Mr. Ramos was never able to recover from the multiple strokes he sustained at Jersey City Medical Center. He could not speak, walk or care for himself. He ultimately passed away on December 31, 2012. Mr. Ramos was unemployed when the care at issue occurred and his survivors included his adult son and sister, who helped care for him before he passed.
The terms of the settlement require the insurance carrier for Defendant Kazmi, who was responsible for the order discharging Mr. Ramos, to pay $1,500,000, Defendant Kapoor’s insurance carrier to pay $350,000 and UMDNJ/Rutgers School of Medicine, the employer for the Dr. Patel, to pay $30,000. Defendant Kazmi was represented by David C. Donohue, Esq. of
Farkas & Donohue, Florham Park. Defendant Kapoor was represented by William Brennan, Esq. of The Law Offices of William Brennan, LLP, Shrewsbury. Mike Lunga, Esq. of Florham Park represented UMDNJ/Rutgers School of Medicine and Dr. Patel.
William O. Crutchlow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey secured a $1,800,000 for a young girl who suffered nerve damage during her delivery due to the negligence of the obstetrician in charge of the birth. The evidence showed that the doctor did not anticipate or recognize a complication of the birthing process where the baby’s shoulder gets stuck on the mother’s pelvis (Shoulder Dystocia). Too much pressure and pulling was used during the birth causing permanent damage to the nerves serving one of the child’s arms (Erb’s Palsy). Our client was left with loss of use of the arm and hand and shortening of the arm.
Daryl L. Zaslow, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, 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.
Daryl L. Zaslow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River) obtained a $1,700,000 settlement on behalf of a 4 year old boy with Down syndrome and his parents. The terms of the settlement were approved by the Honorable Mark P. Ciarrocca, P.J.Cv. at a Friendly Hearing held on May 21, 2019.
The infant Plaintiff’s mother, underwent a second trimester fetal anatomical survey ultrasound on September 24, 2014. The prenatal ultrasound was performed at Defendant Trinitas Regional Medical Center and was interpreted by a specialist in maternal fetal medicine. Mr. Zaslow argued Defendant deviated from the accepted standards of care in her interpretation of this prenatal ultrasound performed when Plaintiff was 22 weeks pregnant, which Mr. Zaslow argued showed the presence of a “soft marker” for Down syndrome. More specifically, Plaintiffs’ experts maintained that the Defendant failed to appreciate the presence of a soft marker for Down syndrome referred to as a “sandal gap”. The experts Zaslow retained opined that an ultrasound image from this study depicted an abnormal wide space between the first and second toe known as a sandal gap. Mr. Zaslow also relied on medical literature to support his argument that a sandal gap is found in 45% of babies born with Down syndrome.
Mr. Zaslow argued that Defendant needed to inform her patient of the presence of the soft marker and of its statistical association to Down syndrome so that she could make an informed decision whether to pursue an invasive 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.
In addition to filing suit against Dr. Langer-Most, Mr. Zaslow also named as a defendant a certified midwife employed by Defendant Trinitas Regional Medical Center. The defendant mid-wife was involved in the Plaintiff’s prenatal care on September 25, 2014 and she was responsible for informing the patient of the results a Quad Screen Test. A Quad Screen test is a routine screening test performed during pregnancy in the second trimester to help classify a patient as either high-risk or low-risk for chromosomal abnormalities. Most laboratories report the results as “negative” if the risk of Down syndrome are less than 1 in 270. Here the mom’s risks were reported to be 1 in 291 and thus less than 1 in 270 and Defendant midwife testified that she informed the patient that the results were “normal”. Mr. Zaslow and the experts he retained argued that Defendant deviated from the accepted standards of care as she should not have advised the patient that the results were “normal” even though they laboratory reported the results as being “negative.” Plaintiffs maintained that to meet the standard of care, Defendant should have reviewed Ms. Solorzano’s age-related risk as well as her numeric test value risk, so that patient would be able to appreciate that although her risk was less than the laboratory cutoff of 1 in 270, the Quad results increased her risk by nearly 3.5 times above her age related risk of 1 in 1027. Mr. Zaslow and Plaintiffs experts argued that by doing so, this would have led to a further discussion about additional options for testing and her need for genetic counseling. By neglecting to meet this standard of care, the CNM prevented her patient from having the information to make an informed choice in whether to go forward with further testing and ultimately her pregnancy.
The experts for Defendant physician argued that the ultrasound was entirely normal and did not demonstrate a sandal gap. The defense also had several experts prepared to testify that a sandal gap is not even considered a reliable soft marker for Down syndrome and are therefore even if it was present it should not be used to counsel patients about their risk for having a baby with Down syndrome. Finally, the experts for the Defendant midwife opined that the laboratory correctly reported the Quad screen results as negative and the midwife did not deviate from the accepted standards by communicating the results as “normal.”
Cole v. Mantinaos, et al.
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $1,500,000 settlement on behalf of a 60-year-old man who died from metastatic lung cancer. At the time of his death on October 20, 2012, Plaintiff left surviving a widow and an adult son.
Plaintiff, decedent underwent a chest x-ray on March 30, 2010 for respiratory complaints. At that time he was 58 years old. The x-ray was interpreted by a radiologist as being normal. After experiencing abdominal pain, Plaintiff underwent a chest and abdominal CT on February 3, 2012. This CT revealed a mass in the middle lobe of his right lung as well as multiple masses in his liver, that were later determined to be malignancies.
Plaintiffs’ experts maintained that the defendant radiologist deviated from the accepted standards of care in failing to detect and report an approximately 8 mm mass that they opined was present on the March 30, 2010 chest x-ray. Plaintiffs’ experts in pulmonary care and oncology further maintained that had the mass been timely reported in March of 2010, Plaintiff would have had a resectable malignancy in his lung, as there was no evidence of metastatic disease at that time. Mr. Zaslow further argued that although they would never know for sure, since timely diagnosis was not made, had the malignancy been reported in March of 2010, Plaintiff would have most likely been diagnosed with staging as low as T1 which carries an 80% chance of cure. Unfortunately, the 23-month delay in diagnosing the cancer allowed the cancer to metastasize such that it caused Mr. Cole’s death.
The defendants’ experts maintained that the March 30, 2010 was entirely normal and there was absolutely no evidence of an aberrant mass or nodule. They further maintained that the Plaintiff died from metastatic liver cancer, not lung cancer and that the mass found in Plaintiff’s lung in February 2012, was a metastatic secondary lesion that originated in Plaintiff’s liver.
Although the complaint was filed in Warren County, the matter was transferred to Somerset County for trial purposes. With an imminent trial date scheduled, the settlement was reached following several settlement conferences before the Honorable Thomas C. Miller, P.J.Cv.
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $1,500,000 settlement on behalf of the Estate of a 65-year-old woman who died from a delay in diagnosing and repairing a retroperitoneal hematoma sustained during a cardiac catheterization and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). At the time of her death on March 11, 2011, Plaintiff left surviving an adult son.
On 8 March 2011 Plaintiff was 65 years of age and had a history of hypertension and hyperlipidemia, was transferred to Morristown Memorial Hospital for cardiac catheterization and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in the setting of an acute coronary syndrome reflected by chest discomfort at rest and ECG changes representing anterior wall myocardial ischemia. Defendant, an interventional cardiologist, performed PCI. Plaintiff’s experts maintained that Defendant departed from the standard of care by failing to appropriately recognize that Plaintiff was suffering from a large right retroperitoneal hematoma, by failing to institute appropriate medical therapy, by failing to perform (or a have an associate perform) a percutaneous catheter-based closure of the bleeding vascular site, and by failing to obtain timely surgery consultation when the condition of the Plaintiff worsened. As a result of these departures, Mr. Zaslow argued that his client steadily deteriorated, lapsed into shock with multi-organ system failure, suffered and unnecessarily died on 11 March 2011.
The Defendant maintained that hematoma was a risk of the procedure and the Defendant’s decision to wait for the bleed to tamponade was an exercise of medical judgment.
William O. Crutchlow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey accomplished a $1,510,000 settlement on behalf of the Estate of a 25-year-old woman who died from metastatic cervical cancer. William O. Crutchlow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP was able to establish through experts in cytopathology that Pap smear specimens taken over the years before the client’s diagnosis were misread as being normal. Each showed evidence of cervical cancer. Our oncology experts established that timely diagnosis would have led to cure.
NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
SUITS & DEALS – JULY 25, 2014
Barboni v. Dengrove: A couple allegedly injured by medications prescribed by their psychiatrist settled their Ocean County, N.J., medical malpractice suit for about $1.48 million on June 30.
In the 1990s, John Barboni began receiving treatment—for panic attacks connected to a previous work injury he’d sustained as a maintenance mechanic—from Robert Dengrove, M.D., of Toms River, N.J., who later began treating John’s wife Diane as well, said the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Barry Eichen of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP in Edison, N.J.
The Barbonis claimed that Dengrove overmedicated John, leading to periods of memory loss, and prescribed Diane Treximet to treat migraine headaches despite her high blood pressure, leading to a stroke. They alleged that Dengrove also allowed them to share medications, Eichen said.
Diane, 63, is wheelchair bound and has speech and cognitive issues, while John, 65, continues to have memory and cognitive issues, Eichen said.
Dengrove contended that there was no evidence linking Diane’s stroke to the Treximet, according to Eichen.
The parties settled on the day of trial, during voir dire, said Eichen, who was assisted by Christian Mastondrea, also of Eichen Crutchlow.
Dengrove was covered by Princeton Insurance, Eichen said.
– By David Gialanella
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 from Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow 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. Both The Firm 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, The Firm 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.
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $1,350,000 settlement on behalf of a 77-year-old woman who lost vision in her left eye following a cataract extraction performed on July 18, 2012.
On July 18, 2012, Mr. Zaslow’s client presented for cataract extraction with intraocular lens implant of the left eye to be performed by the Defendant ophthalmologist. Before the operation began the anesthesiologist for the procedure, who was also a Defendant, noted that the patient was having problems with coughing prior to the start of the surgery. Although both Defendant physicians observed the patient coughing prior to the inception of the procedure neither considered the degree of coughing to pose a risk to the patient. As such, the surgery was initiated, and the Operative Report notes the patient was coughing and that she was “repeatedly” asked to clear her throat.
After the lens capsule was opened, the patient began to cough uncontrollably. A nasal choroidal hemorrhage developed, and the remainder of the operation was aborted without the placement of an intraocular lens. Following her eye surgery, the Plaintiff developed retinal complications which Mr. Zaslow and Plaintiff’s experts argued were caused from the Defendants’ decision to proceed with this elective surgery on a patient who was demonstrating periods of uncontrollable coughing and concomitant movement prior to the inception of the procedure. As a result, despite multiple procedures by retinal specialists she lost sight in her left eye.
Mr. Zaslow served experts reports from an ophthalmologist and an anesthesiologist who opined the defendant ophthalmologist and defendant anesthesiologist both had an independent duty to suspend this elective procedure well before it was started.
The defense and their experts maintained that although the patient did demonstrate some mild coughing prior to the start of surgery, she was able to stop coughing before the surgery was started, so proceeding with the surgery was appropriate. They further maintained that the patient first developed “uncontrollable” coughing only after the capsulorrhexis had been formed, and at that point the procedure could not be stopped without significant risk to the patient.
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $1,300,000,000 settlement on behalf of a 67-year-old woman who required a total colectomy with ileostomy as a result of an alleged failure to timely diagnose and treat a large bowel obstruction. The settlement was reached on December 21, 2018 during a settlement conference before the Honorable Craig L. Wellerson, J.S.C.
Mr. Zaslow’s client was 61 years old when she presented to the Emergency Department of Ocean Medical Center on August 23, 2013 complaining of constipation. She had a recent diagnosis of breast cancer and had underwent her first round of chemotherapy (Cytoxan/Taxotere) four days previously. The emergency physician noted that her bowel sounds were normal, and he ordered KUB study or plain abdominal x-rays which revealed a moderate amount of stool, no air fluid levels, and no evidence of mechanical obstruction. She was discharged home with a diagnosis of constipation and instructions to continue self-administer another Fleet Enema the following day if constipation continued.
The Plaintiff returned to the Ocean Medical Center Emergency Department via ambulance the next day, August 24, 2013, where she was seen by the Defendant an emergency medicine physician. At this time she was complaining of vomiting, abdominal pain and ongoing constipation. The pain was described as diffuse, constant, and moderate-severe. On physical examination, the abdomen was described as without distension. Bowel sounds were active and there was moderate tenderness to palpation was noted in all quadrants. The Defendant did not perform a rectal examination and his differential diagnosis included: “Bowel obstruction, irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis, and fecal impaction.” The emergency physician reviewed the KUB images from the day before, noting that there was no evidence of a mechanical bowel obstruction and he discharged the patient with instructions to follow up with her oncologist.
Mr. Zaslow and the Plaintiffs’ experts argued that the Defendant deviated from the accepted standard of care at the August 24, 2013 visit, which was her second in 24 hours, and which should have been a red flag to the Defendant. In this setting in which his differential diagnosis included bowel obstruction and fecal impaction Plaintiffs’ experts maintained that the Defendant was required under the standard of care to order a CT scan of the abdomen in order to exclude dangerous intra-abdominal pathology, including a bowel obstruction. Had this been performed on August 24, 2013, Plaintiffs maintained it would have revealed evidence of the colonic obstruction.
The patient returned by ambulance to the Emergency Department on August 26, 2013 complaining of vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation and weakness. On examination, she was described as “obviously ill” with mild abdominal distension and mild lower abdominal tenderness. A CT of the abdomen was ordered at this visit which was consistent with a large bowel obstruction. A surgical consultation was performed and confirmed the diagnosis of large bowel obstruction based on the CT scan and the Plaintiff underwent an emergency exploratory laparotomy. Findings at surgery included a complete large bowel obstruction due to a rectosigmoid stricture. The colon was described as “massively distended and dilated with venous engorgement as well as multiple serosal splits.” This required a total colectomy with ileostomy and Hartmann pouch of the rectum.
Mr. Zaslow and Plaintiffs’ experts maintained that had the Defendant ordered a CT of the abdomen when the Plaintiff returned to the emergency department on August 24, 2013, the results would have demonstrated a large bowel obstruction. This would have triggered a surgical consult before the colon was compromised. This would have led to a decompression of the colon before it was fully comprised, obviating the need for a total colectomy and permanent ileostomy. Had a CT scan been done at that time standard intervention could have been undertaken avoiding the extensive surgery she had and eliminating the need for a permanent colostomy and the prolonged post-operative course she sustained.
After several months of recuperation, Mr. Zaslow’s client returned to work. Although she is a candidate for reversal of the ileostomy, even if there was an attempt to close her ileostomy at this time, there would be risks of multiple complications including bleeding, infection, bowel or ureteral injuries, hernia formation, post-operative intestinal obstruction, and more. As such, at this time, she has no intention of undergoing a reversal of the ileostomy.
William O. Crutchlow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey was co-lead counsel on a case arising from the delay in the diagnosis of lung cancer which resolved for $1,200,000. Our client was in her early 50s when an abnormality in her lung was identified on a CT scan. We alleged that the radiologist who interpreted the CT scan failed to accurately assess the ominous nature of the lesion and failed to properly direct the patient’s treating doctors to timely follow up with additional imaging studies. It was further alleged that the defendant internal medicine doctors failed to appreciate the possibility that the abnormality was cancer based on the information that they did get, and failed to secure necessary follow-up evaluations to protect against this possibility. Years later their patient was finally diagnosed with lung cancer. Unfortunately, as a result of the delay in diagnosis, the cancer had progressed from a curable stage to an advanced, incurable stage.
William O. Crutchlow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey recently successfully recovered a $1,200,000 settlement for the Estate of a woman who died due to a delay in diagnosis of kidney cancer. The woman was in her early 60s when a small nodule was accidentally found in her kidney during an ultrasound procedure performed to evaluate an unrelated condition. Her physicians failed to recommend and accomplish appropriate follow up evaluation of the lesion over a period of years. At the time of diagnosis years after the initial discovery of the nodule, the then much larger mass was confirmed to be advanced Stage 4 cancer that had metastasized to her lungs. Our client fought the cancer as hard as she could, but unfortunately passed away from the disease.
Daryl L. Zaslow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River) obtained a $1,200,000 settlement on behalf of an 11-year-old boy who was diagnosed with periventricular leukomalacia (“PVL”) at 5 years of age. A portion of the settlement is being used to purchase an annuity which will make the total value of the settlement $1,834,401.70. The settlement was reached during a settlement conference before the Honorable James Den Uyl, J.S.C., who approved the settlement at a friendly hearing conducted before His Honor on March 11, 2016.
On January 25, 2005, the Plaintiff’s mother was 32 years old when she presented to her obstetrical group for her first prenatal visit. At such time, she reported that she was uncertain whether her last menstrual period (“LMP”) was November 11, 2004 or November 16, 2004. Thereafter, the pregnant patient underwent three prenatal ultrasound examinations all of which were interpreted by her obstetrician the Defendant. Mr. Zaslow retained experts who opined the three ultrasounds supported a final estimated due date of August 25, 2005. The experts further opined that the Defendant deviated from the accepted standards of obstetrical care by erroneously determining the estimated due date to be on August 16, 2005 based on the uncertain LMP of November 11, 2005. According to Mr. Zaslow and his experts, because there was a 9-day difference between the estimated due date by LMP and the estimated due date by ultrasound, the ultrasound-derived estimated due date of August 25, 2005 should have been considered the correct due date.
The Defendant obstetrician induced labor on August 1, 2005. The medical records he prepared at such time indicated that the mother was 38 weeks pregnant and that the obstetrician induced labor was because the mother had severe complaints of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD”). Mr. Zaslow maintained that in reality, his client was only 36+4/7 weeks pregnant on August 1, 2005 based on her first trimester ultrasound, clinical history and the remaining two ultrasound examinations. By miscalculating the estimated date of delivery and inducing the delivery on August 1, 2005, the plaintiff’s experts opined that the defendant caused an iatrogenic preterm birth that increased the risk of the baby having short- and long-term morbidity including but not limited to respiratory problems after birth and long-term neuro-developmental problems.
Although the baby appeared healthy at birth, with excellent Apgars of 9/9/9, shortly after birth he developed respiratory distress. The child was slow to meet his developmental and neurological milestones during the first several years of life and several of his treating physicians and the child study team at school system believed he was autistic. When Mr. Zaslow’s client was 5, however, he underwent an MRI which was interpreted to show Periventricular leukomalacia or PVL. PVL is a type of brain damage that involves the periventricular white matter of the brain. Damage to the white matter results in the death and decay of injured cells, leaving empty areas in the brain called lateral ventricles, which fill with fluid (a condition called leukomalacia). Following the MRI, one of his treating physicians attributed his developmental delays in the area speech to be from the PVL.
Although PVL is usually associated with premature babies born prior to 34 weeks gestation, Mr. Zaslow and the experts he retained maintained that his client’s PVL and developmental delays in the area of speech were caused by his iatrogenic premature birth.
The Defense argued that the Defendant correctly determined the due date and that the birth was not premature. The Defense had several experts who opined there was no PVL and any problems the child had were caused by autism and had nothing to do with when he was delivered.
The Defendant Obstetrician settled for one million dollars, the amount of his insurance policy. Plaintiffs alleged the obstetrical office staff should have made the fact the mother was not certain what her LMP was more apparent in the medical records and/or otherwise ensured this fact was brought to the attention of obstetrician. As such, they contributed $200,000 to the settlement.
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 fibrillation 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 fibrillation itself probably caused the clot. The plaintiff would have countered that any danger of the atrial fibrillation producing a clot rendered the need for proper monitoring of the blood thinner all the more crucial.
William Crutchlow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey, recently secured a jury verdict for a man in his late fifties who suffered a bowel injury during a laparoscopic gall bladder removal surgery. The injury was not recognized at the time of surgery which permitted bacteria laden intestinal content to leak into the patient’s abdominal cavity. Massive infection followed causing the patient to undergo major, emergency surgery, to remain in the hospital for over a month, to be on a respirator for several weeks, to develop lung failure and ARDS, to suffer from critically low blood pressures and oxygen levels in his blood and, ultimately, to develop brain damage. Our client was left with permanent damage to the muscles in his abdominal wall, recurrent incisional abdominal hernias, short term memory deficits and cognitive deficits. He has been disabled and unable to work since his injuries occurred. This case was tried to a jury in Middlesex County in January and early February 2016. Stewart v Swaminathan, MID-L-8948-11.
Harris v. Frankel, et al.
After more than 3 weeks of trial Daryl L. Zaslow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River) obtained a $1,000,000 settlement on behalf the Estate of a 45-year-old man who died from a pulmonary embolism 7 days after undergoing a bariatric surgery. Mr. Zaslow was assisted at trial by Thomas Rinaldi, Esq. of his firm. The settlement was reached for the Defendant’s policy limits as the jury was deliberating in a case tried in Bergen County before the Honorable John D. O’Dwyer, J.S.C.
Willie Harris was 45 years old when he presented to Holy Name Medical Center on April 3, 2013 for the laparoscopic repair of his lap-band and for the repair of a hernia, which was caused by the lap-band slipping. The lap-band was originally placed in 2004. Although the surgery was successful, 3 days later, as Mr. Harris was getting ready to be discharged, he developed atrial fibrillation and subsequent tests including a venous Doppler scan and CT Angiogram confirmed he had sustained a deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary emboli. Defendant Dr. Zev Frankel was a cardiologist brought in to help treat the deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary emboli. The Defendant treated Mr. Harris with therapeutic anticoagulation in the form a Xarelto. Despite this treatment, Mr. Harris died from a massive pulmonary embolism on April 10, 2013 as he was attempting to leave the hospital.
Mr. Zaslow argued that that the Defendant deviated from the accepted standards of care by choosing not to call in a vascular surgeon to implant an inferior vena cava filter (“IVC filter”). An IVC filter is a small cone shaped device that is placed in the inferior vena cava, the largest vein in the human body, and is designed to act as a safety net by preventing large clots that break apart from a deep vein thrombosis from reaching the heart and lungs. Mr. Zaslow and the plaintiff’s experts also maintained that an IVC filter was required as the deep vein thrombosis Mr. Harris had was “free floating” and because his lungs were already vulnerable from the prior pulmonary emboli he sustained.
The Defendant’s experts maintained that the Defendant’s decision not to order an IVC filter was consistent with the controlling National CHEST Guidelines and the standard of care. They further maintained that using an IVC filter in this setting would have been a departure from the accepted standards of care and violated the controlling national standards and guidelines used by virtually every hospital in the country.
At the time of his death, Mr. Harris left surviving a 50-year-old wife and 2 sons, ages 16 and 13. Mr. Harris had been employed by New Jersey Transit and Plaintiff’s economic damages were between $974,000-1.6 million.
The Defendant was insured by Conventus Inter-Insurance Exchange under a policy with $1 million limits. Mr. Zaslow demanded the $1 million insurance policy limits of the Defendant, which were finally tendered at summations.
Dr. Frankel was represented at trial by Sean Buckley, Esq. of Buckley Theroux Kline & Petraske, LLC of Princeton.
After a jury was empaneled before the Honorable Anthony Pugliese, J.S.C. Daryl L. Zaslow, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a settlement for the Defendant Obstetrician’s $1,000,000 policy limits on behalf of 11 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 $824,800.72. Judge Pugliese formally approved of the settlement and the allocation of the settlement at a Friendly Hearing conducted before His Honor on May 23, 2016.
Ildeanis Martinez was born on May 4, 2004 at Our Lady Lourdes Medical Center and the delivery was performed by the defendant obstetrician. The medical records prepared by the delivering physician indicated that there was a “terminal bradycardia” or a significant drop in the baby’s heart rate during the very end of the labor process and that the physician chose to use a vacuum to extract or deliver the baby, ostensibly in an effort to avoid asphyxia and brain damage. The baby needed to be resuscitated and was acidotic at birth, and she had Apgar scores of 2 at 1 minute, 2 at 5 minutes and 5 at 10 minutes. The infant Plaintiff was also not moving her right arm at birth.
Notably, neither the medical records prepared by the obstetrician or the nurses recorded that this delivery was complicated by shoulder dystocia. Additionally, during his deposition, the defendant insisted that the delivery was not complicated by shoulder dystocia. Mr. Zaslow and his experts maintained, however, that the delivering physician failed to recognize or record that the delivery was complicated by shoulder dystocia. In support of this argument, Mr. Zaslow pointed to the fact that 2 maneuvers typically used by obstetricians to resolve a shoulder dystocia were used during the delivery.
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 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 on the baby’s head in attempting to deliver the baby.
In this delivery, Mr. Zaslow argued that the defendant applied too much traction or pulling on the baby’s head as he 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. The child had nerve surgery at 4 months of age and still has residual loss of motion and weakness in her right arm.
William O. Crutchlow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank recently accomplished a settlement for a 55 year old man who suffered a stroke due to a failure to diagnose. The case arose from the failure of a doctor at an emergency room to recognize the signs of the progressing stroke, failing to consult with a neurologist and failing to treat the patient with clot busting medication, TPA. The man went on to develop brain damage which impacted his cognitive functioning and the use of his right arm and leg. The case settled on the second day of trial in Hudson County, New Jersey.
After 3 weeks of trial before the Honorable Darlene J. Pereksta, Mercer County, Daryl L. Zaslow, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, 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 at 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.
Barry R. Eichen and William Crutchlow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP obtained a one million dollar settlement for this client as a result of orthopedic medical malpractice. This case involved a lumbar fusion with one plate and six screws. The defendant orthopedic surgeon, while inserting screws into Plaintiff’s back, did not use fluoroscopy, an x-ray technique, and was therefore unable to properly locate the appropriate position of where to place the surgical screws. As a result, Defendant orthopedist struck one of Plaintiff’s exiting nerve roots and caused Plaintiff to have a partial foot drop. This case settled after deposition of Defense Expert in the amount of $1,000,000. (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).
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, from Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, 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 The Firm 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.
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.
His attorney 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, his attorney says.
Defense lawyer Thomas Leyhane, staff counsel for Medical Inter-Insurance Exchange of Lawrenceville, did not return phone calls last week, but his attorney 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.
His attorney 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.
William O. Crutchlow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey recently settled a Wrongful Birth case for the family of a girl suffering from genetic abnormalities. The case resolved for $950,000. Our clients sought the services of the defendant obstetrician to manage their pregnancy. The defendant failed to order proper, comprehensive pre-natal genetic testing and failed to refer his patient for necessary genetic counseling when presented with abnormalities on a pre-natal ultrasound. As a result, our clients were deprived of critically important information that would have fully informed their decisions on how to manage the pregnancy. The child suffers from permanent neurological and physical limitations which have caused her parents profound emotional distress and which will require medical care for life.
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.
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, an attorney with Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, 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 his attorney.
The hospital and the doctor in charge of the emergency room, Medhat El-Kharbouty, were named defendants. His attorney 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 his attorney. 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.
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 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. Click here to read more about the case.
William Crutchlow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow with offices in Edison, Red Bank and Toms River, New Jersey settled a case arising from bilateral vocal cord paralysis that developed following an airway emergency encountered during cervical spine surgery. Our client was a man in his late 40’s who agreed to undergo surgery on his cervical spine to address disc herniations and related disease. Shortly after the start of the operation, the endotracheal tube used in the administration of anesthesia unexpectedly became dislodged. The anesthesiologist was unable to get the tube reinserted and, after numerous unsuccessful and traumatic attempts at reintubation, was forced to declare an airway emergency. A tracheostomy (breathing tube at the vase of the throat) was created to allow the patient to breath. Subsequent efforts to close and reverse the tracheostomy were unsuccessful as the patient was not able to breath sufficiently without the apparatus in place. It was determined that the vocal cords had been permanently injured and were paralyzed which obstructed the ability to breath. We asserted that the cause of these injuries was the negligent failure of the anesthesiologist to maintain the patient’s airway during surgery and the trauma of the many attempts at reinserting the endotracheal tube and the tracheostomy procedure. The tracheostomy is likely permanent. This case settled for $875,000 shortly before trial. Further details of this settlement are controlled by a Confidentiality Agreement.
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. Barry R. Eichensettled this case with defendant doctor prior to trial for $850,000.
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.
Plaintiff’s attorney, Barry R. Eichen, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow was able to settle this case at mediation, 3 months prior to the case being listed for trial.
Plaintiff was an electrical engineer with a medical diagnosis of diabetes and a preexisting history of foot deformity. Although surgery was necessary, Plaintiff alleged Defendant-Podiatrist failed to recognize the beginning of an infectious process and further failed to prescribe antibiotics in a timely fashion.
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. The condition prevents Feigel from lifting her foot, according to her attorney, 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 her attorney, 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
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.. 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
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. 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 her attorney.
“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
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.
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.
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a settlement on behalf of The Estate James McNair, the 62-year-old comedian who was killed when a tractor trailer owned by Walmart crashed into the van in which Mr. McNair, his long-time friend Tracy Morgan, and others were passengers. The accident occurred on June 14, 2014 on the New Jersey Turnpike. Although several of the passengers sustained injuries in the accident, Mr. McNair was the only fatality.
Mr. McNair left two adult children, Jamel and Denita McNair, as his beneficiaries. Although litigation could have been filed in at least 4 different states, the family chose Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP to represent them. Zaslow retained accident reconstructionists, trucking experts, a pathologist and a prominent accountant in the entertainment industry as experts. The accident has garnished significant media attention and brought focus to the dangers of fatigued driving.
After months of negotiations Walmart and the McNairs reached a settlement on the eve of when Mr. Zaslow was formally filing suit. Although the settlement received national attention in the media, technically the terms of the settlement require that the amount of the settlement remain confidential. Watch Entertainment Tonight Episode Regarding This Settlement.
The Estate of a 60-year-old woman who was struck and killed by a utility truck has settled with the defendants for $3,000,000.00.
On January 11, 2016, Plaintiff, a housekeeper at a hospital, was crossing the parking lot of a grocery store where she walked in front of an idling truck. The truck driver did not see the woman and proceeded to pull out of the parking spot. The truck struck the woman and dragged her a short distance before the driver became aware of the woman’s presence. She was pronounced dead on the scene.
Plaintiffs argued the truck driver failed to follow trucking industry standards, motor vehicle laws and other statutes. Plaintiffs maintained this negligence was the direct cause of the accident, the injuries, and resultant death. The defendant maintained the decedent was contributorily negligent in failing to appreciate that she was walking in front of an idling truck that could begin to move at any point.
A settlement agreement was reached amongst the parties on March 9, 2018, four weeks before the trial date.
Plaintiffs were represented by Barry R. Eichen of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP.
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.
In this Middlesex County case, Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP secured a settlement of $2,490,000.00 on behalf of this client for injuries received in an accident with a tractor trailer.
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, LLP and was settled for $1.2 million prior to trial.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Barry Eichen of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP together with co-counsel, Dean Maglione, secured a jury verdict of $3,500,000 against defendant, City of Newark, when plaintiff ran over a raised pothole resulting in a broken leg.
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.
Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $2,500,000,000 settlement on behalf of a 27 year old man who was struck by a bus and sustained a traumatic subdural hematoma, three closed rib fractures, a temporal bone fracture and a traumatic brain injury. The case was settled at mediation before The Honorable Mark B. Epstein, J.S.C. (Retired).
On April 16, 2015, Mr. Zaslow’s client was a 27-year old Korean speaking man who met his friends in New York City for dinner, drinks and entertainment. At approximately 5:50 am the next morning, after taking public transportation from New York to North Bergen, Mr. Seo was walking home and was in the crosswalk crossing Bergenline Avenue from west to east when a bus being driven by Defendant and travelling west on JFK Boulevard initiated a left turn heading south on Bergenline Avenue. The bus struck Mr. Seo in the crosswalk, pinning him to the underside, and dragging him approximately 100 feet.
The Plaintiff was taken via ambulance to Hackensack University Hospital where he was admitted for 2 weeks and where he was diagnosed with a traumatic subdural hematoma, three closed rib fractures, a temporal bone fracture and brain compression/mass effect with midline shift. Although his orthopedic injuries healed, Mr. Zaslow produced experts who opined that his client suffered a permanent traumatic brain injury that resulted in severely compromised cognitive function, memory problems and an inability to concentrate or focus.
At the time of the accident, the Plaintiff worked as a waiter but he was actively pursuing a career in the field of fashion as a graphic designer. Although the Plaintiff was employed briefly after the accident as a graphic designer, the Plaintiff could not maintain the position due to his brain injury and specifically his cognitive problems and inability to concentrate. Mr. Zaslow served a life care plan and vocational loss report that calculated the total economic loss to be approximately $1 million.
In terms of liability, the defense maintained that the Plaintiff was intoxicated at the time of the accident and that he started to walk into the crosswalk after the bus already began to make its left hand turn. As a result, the defense accident reconstructionist opined that the Plaintiff started to walk in front of the bus after the bus started its turn and the Plaintiff was in the bus driver’s blind spot after he entered the crosswalk. Although the Plaintiff’s blood alcohol content was not obtained after the accident the defense expert opined the Plaintiff had a blood alcohol content of .19% at the time of the accident.
In terms of damages, the defense argued there was no objective tests that memorialized a permanent brain injury and that all neuro-psychological testing indicated the Plaintiff suffered no cognitive dysfunction. They further argued that since the Plaintiff returned to same job he had prior to the accident there was no viable claim for lost wages.
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’s roof was sheared 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, 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 sheared 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
Plaintiff was stopped in traffic when a State of New Jersey motor vehicle struck Plaintiff’s vehicle from behind. Plaintiff had prior neck and back injuries which were aggravated in this accident. Plaintiff’s lawyer, Barry R. Eichen, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, argued that Plaintiff’s injuries were worsened and as a result, Plaintiff needed a surgery for her neck and back. Defendant stated these preexisting injuries were not aggravated and that the impact was not sufficient to aggravate Plaintiff’s preexisting injuries. This case settled prior to jury selection for $1,839,000.
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 from Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, says his client will receive $30,000 a year until she is 74.
Her attorney 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.
Jury award of $1,750,000.00 obtained by Barry Eichen.
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.
The jury deliberated three to four hours after the week-long trial that ended Sept. 11.
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. 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.
At trial, Eichen, partnerat Eichen, Crutchlow, Zaslow, LLP 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. 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.”
Attorneys for Super Shuttle and Hoboken First Class made settlement offers that totaled $80,000, which were not difficult to reject. “(Tuscano) would have settled for a fair number, but we were so far apart.”
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.” 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
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, 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.
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 represented the plaintiff. Morristown’s Colquhoun & Colquhoun, attorneys for PMA Insurance Services, represented defendants.
Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP secured a $1,250,000.00 settlement for a client who suffered injuries after being struck by a vehicle backing up inside of a garbage transfer station. Plaintiff’s attorney was able to secure a settlement which included contribution from the owner and operator of the vehicle as well as the transfer facility.
In this case, 54-year-old renal dialysis patient sustained injuries when the driver of a transport ambulance failed to secure his wheelchair to the floor of the vehicle. The wheelchair flipped over backwards causing Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP’s client to land on his back and to suffer compression fractures to two levels of his thoracic spine. The fractures became infected, necessitating spinal fusion surgery involving several levels of the thoracic spine. The surgery was complicated by a chronic, non-healing wound which remained open over two years after the surgery. This case was settled at Mediation with a retired New Jersey Superior Court Judge.
Attorneys Barry Eichen obtained a jury award in Middlesex County of $850,000. The plaintiff near retirement age suffered an injury to her neck in an automobile accident.
Ward v. Aurolife: A 60-year-old foreman of a Plumbing/HVAC company injured when he fell through a 6×6 square hole on a second-floor mezzanine has settled for $5,350,000.
On September 3, 2014, Plaintiff was working at Aurolife Pharma, USA in Dayton, New Jersey, completing the installation of a fluid bed process room and dryer. As he was working on a second-floor mezzanine, he fell through an unguarded 6×6 square hole, landing on the concrete floor over twenty feet below.
Plaintiff suffered fractures including: his pelvis requiring a plate and screws, lumbar spine, ribs, and left foot. Plaintiff also suffered a traumatic brain injury. He also now walks with a permanent limp. The injuries render Plaintiff unable to return to his job as a construction foreman. As a result, Plaintiff claimed lost wages just short of a million dollars.
The defendant owner of the property and the general contractor both maintained the other was responsible for safety on the site, including providing protective measures around the hole. A third defendant performed a widening of the hole the day before the fall. They maintained they were not at fault due to the shortness of their involvement as well as maintaining they instructed the general contractor to cover the hole.
The three defendants argued that Plaintiff had a duty of safety himself. They also argued he was contributorily negligent in so much as he had been on the mezzanine at least ten times prior and was well aware of the unsafe condition of the unprotected hole.
Over thirty depositions were taken in this matter and the parties were ready to proceed to trial. However, the case was settled amongst all parties two weeks prior to the trial date.
Plaintiff counsel, Barry R. Eichen, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, was hired retained by Mr. Ward, and was assisted by Christopher Conrad. Barry Eichen was able to secure the settlement for his client, who was unable to return to work as a foreman, and who now suffers with a permanent limp.
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.
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. Plaintiff’s attorneys 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. Click here to read more about the case.
William O. Crutchlow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices on Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey recently settled a negligence and product liability case arising from thermal burns to our client’s feet and ankles that occurred due to the use of excessively hot water in a pedicure spa chair.
Our client is a diabetic who had lost feeling in his lower legs and feet due to diabetic nerve injuries. He regularly got pedicures for health maintenance reasons. On the date at issue, he went to his usual spa and had a pedicure performed. His feet were soaked in hot water as part of the procedure. The water was extremely hot and caused severe burns to our client’s feet and ankles. He spent several weeks hospitalized in a burn unit and endured numerous surgical procedures in an effort to save his legs. Unfortunately, one leg ultimately required an amputation below the knee.
We argued that the spa’s workers were negligent in permitting overly hot water to collect in the pedicure chair basin and that the manufacturer of the chair was negligent in failing to design and install safeguards to keep excessively hot water from collecting in the basin. Settlement was reached with the spa and with the manufacturer.
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.
Reyes v. PHCH, et. al.
After 5 days of picking a jury before the Honorable Charles Powers, J.S.C., Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $7.8 million settlement on behalf of The Estate of a 29 year old wife and mother who was murdered and her 7 month old son who was stabbed during the attack on his mother. A portion of the settlement is being used to purchase annuities, which will result in total payments to the Plaintiffs of at least $11,552,730 making the total value of the settlement over $14,323,000.00
Jacqueline Reyes was brutally stabbed to death during the morning of December 8, 2009. The murder occurred between 8:30-9:00 am in her apartment unit located within the Paulus Hook Towers Apartment complex in Jersey City, New Jersey. Martey Williams, a Newark resident committed the attacks during a robbery in which he stole approximately $7,000 in cash from the apartment. Williams pled guilty to the attacks and was sentenced to 40 years in prison for these crimes.
In December of 2008 Paulus Hook Towers was owned by Defendant PHCHC and the building was managed by a Professional Management Company. The Defendant Management Company hired The Security Company for the purpose of providing a uniformed security guard, weekdays from 4 pm-8 am. Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants were negligent in failing to have a uniformed security guard on the premises 24 hours a day. Defendants maintained the security at the premises was reasonable based on the crime statistics in the area under the standards set forth in Clohesy v. Food Circus, 149 N.J. 496 (1997). They also argued that because Williams had targeted the Reyes apartment based on the large amount of cash in the apartment, this crime could not have been prevented by the Defendants’ actions. The Defendants also named Williams as a Third-Party Defendant.
Jacqueline Reyes sustained 34 stab wounds to her face, neck, torso and arms. She died of a perforation of the right internal jugular vein. The infant Plaintiff sustained 8 stab wounds to his abdomen including one that perforated his lung. He developed respiratory distress and spent 2 months in the hospital recovering. Plaintiffs alleged that as a result of the injuries he sustained and the prolonged intubation he required following the attack the infant has developmental delays, particularly in expressive speech.
Mr. Reyes, who found his wife and son on the floor of their apartment building when he returned home for lunch, also had claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress damages under Portee v. Jaffee, 84 N.J. (1980) and its progeny that survived Defendants’ motions to dismiss.
Prior to reaching the settlement, Mr. Zaslow was assisted at the trial by his partner. The terms of the settlement, which were approved by The Honorable Charles Powers, J.S.C. on June 6, 2014.
Attorneys Barry Eichen obtained a jury award in Middlesex County of $2,300,000.00. Plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of a fall down an interior staircase.
This case involved a fall by a patient of a chiropractor’s office. This fall resulted in partial paralysis of one leg. Defense Attorney alleged that the Plaintiff had been treating with this chiropractor for years and therefore, knew or should have known about the defect in the parking lot which had been there for 10 years.
Plaintiff’s Attorney, Barry R. Eichen, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, alleged that Defendant, chiropractor, knew about this dangerous condition and neglected to make the appropriate repair. Plaintiff further alleged there had been prior complaints which had gone ignored. Plaintiff was able to obtain a $1,875,000 settlement approximately one week before the case was listed for trial.
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. 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.
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
Barry Eichen of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP successfully represented the Plaintiff, who was an invitee to the Defendant’s home and while she was there was attacked by the family’s dog. (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.)
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 Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. 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.
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 Barry R. Eichen of the Edison law firm of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, 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 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 Eichen.
The attorneys for New Jersey Transit and Central Railroad of New Jersey were not available for comment.
Click here to read more about the case.
Copyright (c) Home News Tribune. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.
Settlement with defendant railroad for exposure to materials which lead to mesothelioma. Barry R. Eichen was brought in as co-lead counsel to try this complex toxic exposure case. After completion of three years of litigation and one week prior to jury selection, the case resolved. (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.)
Marie Quattrocchi of North Arlington, New Jersey, the widow of Filippo Quattrocchi, received compensation from New Jersey Transit. Barry Eichenof Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP represented Mrs. Quattrocchi in her claim.
Filippo Quattrocchi began his employment with New Jersey Transit in 1975 where he worked as a trackman at the Hoboken terminal with contaminated soil. He worked 2 months and was laid off. In May of 1976 he returned to work as a trackman. He worked with railroad ties which were dipped in creosote. Plaintiff quit his job with New Jersey Transit and returned to Italy. He returned to work for New Jersey Transit in 1998 as a machine operator. He operated a tamper, raising and lines track, squeezing stones underneath the machine. His last job with New Jersey Transit was in Xanadu, where he worked side by side with different contractors. The contractors for the Meadowlands were dressed in full protection gear at this job site. Mr. Quattrocchi died on September 14, 2011 at the age of 56.
Barry Eichen of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP successfully represented Keith Cruz, a New Jersey Transit employed who developed job-related State IV Lymphoma. Mr. Cruz worked for New Jersey Transit in excess of 18 years; as a result of being exposed to toxic materials while employed by New Jersey Transit, he developed Stage IV Lymphoma.
William Crutchlow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey secured a settlement in an FELA case for a railroad worker who was exposed to bird droppings and other materials when a ceiling tile collapsed above him at work. The injured worker was a machinist who was attending to his duties when a ceiling panel above him gave way dropping a mix of material that had collected on the ceiling tile on his head and face. The worker had a lifetime history of asthma and this disease was worsened as a result of the exposure to the material from the ceiling. The worker tried to return to work, but was forced to endure substantial exposure to diesel exhaust and other occupational respiratory hazards while not being afforded the benefit of respiratory protection or safety warnings. The result was additional respiratory compromise that further limited his ability to perform his job duties. This case was handled with co-counsel George Kachmar, Esq.
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 Zaslow, LLP sat on the New Jersey Fen-Phen Steering Committee which assisted in the National Settlement for $3.75 billion.
These cases involved an allegation against several drug manufacturers for over charging Pennsylvania Medicare and Medicaid recipients. Under contract these drug consumers, in order to be eligible for reimbursement, were required to sign a contract mandating the drug companies to provide the Commonwealth of PA with the lowest prices available.
Plaintiff counsel, Barry R. Eichen, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, was retained by co-counsel, Don Haviland as well as the Commonwealth of PA, due to his trial experience. After two consecutive 3-month trials, Plaintiffs were able to prove that several of these drug companies had in fact, failed to comply with the terms of their contract to provide the lowest prices available. Plaintiff counsel, Barry R. Eichen, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, was in trial for a total of 6 months before obtaining a $51 million verdict as well as a $27 million verdict against two of the drug companies.
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 Zaslow, LLP 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
EDISON, NJ – JULY 9, 2015 – Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow attorneys Barry Eichen and Evan Rosenberg proudly announce that OSRAM Sylvania, Inc. has agreed to pay $30,000,000 to resolve claims arising from alleged consumer fraud violations. Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow LLP initiated the case and represents the lead plaintiff in Chaudhri v. Osram Sylvania, Inc. et al., No. 2:11-cv-05504 filed in the District Court of New Jersey. District Court Judge Madeline Cox Arleo presided over the settlement. At the Fairness Hearing, Judge Arleo Cox had high praise for plaintiffs’ attorneys saying, “it reaffirms my view that New Jersey lawyers are as good as any lawyers in the country, and the way they have handled this case professionally…satisfies me that they are the best at what they do.”
The settlement stems from plaintiffs’ claims that OSRAM Sylvania misrepresented and/or omitted important facts regarding performance characteristics of Silverstar automotive light bulbs. Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow filed Plaintiffs action in 2011. They fended off multiple attempts by defendants to dispose of the case in the District Court of New Jersey before reaching a settlement last year. The parties reached this settlement following extensive discovery and just prior to the beginning of pre-trial substantive motion practice.
Plaintiffs’ settlement represents a substantial portion of the purchase price and puts real money back in the hands of people who purchased these products. As Judge Cox Arleo stated, “that is a great settlement, one of the better ones I’ve ever seen.” “This settlement will provide significant compensation to those harmed,” said Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow managing partner Barry Eichen, “our team, which included associate Evan Rosenberg, of counsel Tom Paciorkowski and co-counsel law firm Keefe Bartels, worked around the clock and spent many late nights and weekends away from family and friends to protect the rights of our class members and effectuate a great result.”
Click here to read more.
These cases involved an allegation against several drug manufacturers for over charging Pennsylvania Medicare and Medicaid recipients. Under contract these drug consumers, in order to be eligible for reimbursement, were required to sign a contract mandating the drug companies to provide the Commonwealth of PA with the lowest prices available.
Plaintiff counsel, Barry R. Eichen, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, was retained by co-counsel, Don Haviland as well as the Commonwealth of PA, due to his trial experience. After two consecutive 3-month trials, Plaintiffs were able to prove that several of these drug companies had in fact, failed to comply with the terms of their contract to provide the lowest prices available. Plaintiff counsel, Barry R. Eichen, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP was in trial for a total of 6 months before obtaining a $51 million verdict as well as a $27 million verdict against two of the drug companies.
In January of 2005, Barry R. Eichen of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow 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.
Details for this settlement are unpublished. (Rezulin Class Action)
Other Areas of Practice
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 Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, 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
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 Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP 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.
William O. Crutchlow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey was lead counsel for an autistic boy and his family in a case that settled for $1,300,000. Our primary client was a profoundly autistic boy who was assigned a caregiver to assist him with training in daily living skills. The caregiver took the boy from the family home to attempt to provide guidance in how to behave in the community. After the session, the boy was allowed to play at a playground at which point the caregiver lost track of him. Several minutes later, the child was found face down and essentially lifeless in a nearby body of water. He was resuscitated, but suffered brain damage due to lack of oxygen during the drowning event. The brain damage led to a seizure disorder, to physical and cognitive regression, to gastrointestinal maladies and to an increase in agitation and aggression. These consequences are permanent.
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, LLP 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.
This case was litigated by attorney Barry R. Eichen. The allegations were against a ski resort in the Northeast for failing to adequately guard snow guns as well as failure to warn skiers of the potential hazards related to these obstructions in the ski area. (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.)
This case was handled by predecessor firm Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. It involved a woman who was assaulted and murdered due to the mall’s failure to provide adequate lighting and security. (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).
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, 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
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.
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 from Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow 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, his attorney 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, his attorney 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 his attorney.
The incident, the lawyer said, caused his client permanent psychological damage.
“Many people devalue psychiatric injuries. 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.”
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, 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
$600,000 – Architectural Malpractice – William Crutchlow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices in Edison, Toms River and Red Bank, New Jersey accomplished a settlement for a multi-unit residential complex developer against its architect based on the failure of the architect to properly design the sound proofing component of interior walls between units. The improper design was revealed after investigation of numerous tenant complaints of noise from adjacent units and expert sound testing revealed the defective design. The damages were based on repair costs, lost rents for tenants that moved out, lost rental opportunity while repairs were ongoing and related concerns.
Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 9, 2002
Contact: Barry R. Eichen, Esq. 732-777-0100
Barry R. Eichen of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, 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 cannot be tolerated in this day and age, no matter what form it takes, no matter against whom it is designed to hurt. Eichen said.
There 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, LLP
Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, 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.