VERDICTS

Supreme Court, Dutchess County


The plaintiff alleged that the defendant gynecologic surgeon injured her bladder during a laparoscopic hysterectomy. The patient developed a post-operative hole in the bladder that progressed to become a vesico-vaginal fistula that required surgical correction.

Result : Defense verdict for the gynecologic surgeon.
Defense Attorney : For the gynecologic surgeon: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Ulster County


This trial concerned the nursing care of a hospitalized patient who had experienced respiratory failure, renal insufficiency, hypotension and pericardial tamponade after bronchoscopy, thoracoscopy, and pulmonary decortication. Treatment included pericardiocentesis, creation of a pericardial window, chest tube, mechanical ventilation and vasopressors. The patient also underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy at about that time. After transfer from the ICU to a medical/surgical unit, and while receiving anticoagulation, the patient complained of a pounding headache and visual changes, with an elevated blood pressure. The plaintiff alleged that the nurses failed to inform the attending physician about the headache, blood pressure and visual changes thereby allegedly delaying treatment that would have prevented the patient from developing a major hemorrhagic stroke. As a result of the stroke, the patient required a craniotomy and claimed to have become totally blind.

Result : Defense verdict for the hospital.
Defense Attorney : For the hospital: Sarah E. Sholes.

Supreme Court, Columbia County


The plaintiff sued two ophthalmologists, alleging negligence in the performance of surgery for cataract removal and placement of an intraocular lens, resulting in postoperative retinal detachment. The surgery had been complicated by a tear of the posterior chamber, need for vitrectomy and placement of a lens in the sulcus. The plaintiff also alleged negligence in postoperative evaluation of visual acuity changes and claimed that there was a delay in diagnosis of retinal detachment. After retinal detachment was diagnosed, the plaintiff was referred for retinal repair surgery, but had a poor outcome and lost functional vision in the affected eye.

Result : Defense verdict for all defendants.
Defense Attorney : For ophthalmologist against whom delayed diagnosis was alleged: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Ulster County


While the defendant obstetrician-gynecologist was performing a laparoscopic tubal ligation on the plaintiff, he inadvertently perforated the small bowel. While the plaintiff did not claim that the perforation itself was negligent, she alleged that the defendant was negligent in not diagnosing it sooner and that the delay necessitated a surgical repair by a general surgeon. The defendant argued that the patient’s post tubal ligation presentation was more consistent with post-operative ileus than a perforated bowel. The defense expert testified that the Veress needle that likely caused the damage did not go all the way through the bowel wall and thus there was no early leakage of bowel contents into the abdominal cavity. Moreover, the plaintiff was afebrile, did not have an elevated white blood cell count, and did not exhibit a surgical abdomen. It was also reassuring that she had had a bowel movement, good urine output and stable vital signs until the third postoperative day, when the perforation was recognized.

Result : Defense verdict for the obstetrician-gynecologist.
Defense Attorney : For the obstetrician-gynecologist: Sarah E. Sholes.

Supreme Court, New York County


The plaintiff/patient alleged that he received negligent hospital care and orthopedic treatment for a compound bi-malleolar ankle fracture. The patient claimed that he began to show signs and symptoms of a wound infection before he was discharged from the hospital. The plaintiff alleged, among other things, that he was discharged prematurely, that nursing staff failed to inform the orthopedic surgeon that he had a fever of 101.4° a few hours before discharge and that the patient was given insufficient antibiotics. The alleged injuries included severe infection at the fracture site, osteomyelitis, extensive subsequent hospitalization with 11 surgical operations, permanent disability and inability to return to work as a limousine driver.

Result : Defense verdict for the hospital and orthopedic surgeon.
Defense Attorney : For hospital: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Orange County


The plaintiff, who was complaining of chest pain, went to the office of her physician, who performed an EKG and diagnosed her with an acute myocardial infarction. The plaintiff then drove herself to the hospital, where the defendant cardiologist administered thrombolytics which successfully restored coronary blood flow. The plaintiff was transferred to the ICU, where she complained of a frontal headache that resolved after she received Tylenol. She experienced a hemorrhagic stroke about twelve hours later. As a result of the stroke she sustained permanent mental and physical injuries. The plaintiff contended that the defendant negligently administered thrombolytics and failed to appreciate that a frontal headache that caused significant pain was a sign of an intracerebral bleed. The defense contended that the headache responded well to Tylenol and that thrombolytics were indicated in order to treat the myocardial infarction.

Result : Defense verdict for the cardiologist.
Defense Attorney : For the cardiologist: Sarah E. Sholes.

Supreme Court, Orange County


Plaintiff alleged Erb’s palsy / brachial plexus injury during obstetric delivery. Shoulder dystocia was not detected during delivery. Pre-trial, certified nurse-midwife’s trial counsel successfully opposed plaintiff’s attempt to preclude defense expert from testifying about causes of brachial plexus injury other than inappropriate traction to baby’s head and neck during delivery.

Result : Defense verdict on liability.
Defense Attorney : For the midwife: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Orange County


The plaintiff’s decedent was admitted to the hospital after she became jaundiced. She had already been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. The defendant gastroenterologist was called in for a consultation and chose to perform an ERCP, during which he observed two small, round objects in the common bile duct. He decided to attempt to remove those objects, and during that procedure the small intestine was inadvertently perforated, which set in motion a series of events that resulted in the patient’s death about a month later. The plaintiff claimed that the gastroenterologist should have performed a non-invasive MRCP, a safer procedure that would not have resulted in a perforation. The defense argued that the ERCP was justified because the objects were most likely small gallstones in the common bile duct, a dangerous situation that could have been fatal. Since during an ERCP the physician has the ability to remove stones, the defense argued that the gastroenterologist did in fact perform the correct procedure and that the perforation was a risk of ERCP that can occur in the absence of negligence.

Result : Defense verdict for the gastroenterologist.
Defense Attorney : For the gastroenterologist: Sarah E. Sholes.

Supreme Court, Sullivan County


The plaintiff alleged failure by radiologist to detect abnormalities and testicular cyst in a scrotal sonogram of 4-year-old patient. A testicular cyst was diagnosed two years later, when it was found to have destroyed the testicle. The condition required removal of the testicle. The plaintiff claimed that earlier detection and treatment of the cyst would have avoided loss of the testicle.

Result : Defense verdict. (The parent's individual claims and claims for alleged medical expenses and special damages were dismissed on summary judgment motion prior to trial.)
Defense Attorney : For the radiologist: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Ulster County


This wrongful death action arose out of a motor vehicle accident wherein the decedent fractured a cervical vertebra and was placed in a halo at the defendant hospital. The plaintiff claimed that due to nursing negligence, the patient got out of bed despite a Posey restraint, fell, refractured his neck and eventually expired. The plaintiff also sued the contractors who were working on the roadway where the accident occurred. Amount asked of jury: $500,000.

Result : Defense verdict for all defendants.
Defense Attorney : For the hospital: Sarah E. Sholes.

United States District Court, Southern District of New York


The plaintiff’s decedent, a dentist, was brought to the defendant hospital after a motorcycle accident. The plaintiff alleged wrongful death, claiming that the hospital, emergency physicians and consulting physicians committed malpractice in permitting the seriously injured patient to remain in the emergency department, in hemorrhagic shock, five hours before transferring him to a trauma center.

Result : Defense verdict for all defendants.
Defense Attorney : For the hospital and emergency department physician: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Dutchess County


The plaintiff alleged that she fell and sustained a fractured hip and subsequently required two total hip replacements due to the defendant hospital’s negligence in failing to clean a liquid spill from the floor. The defense denied notice of the spill and argued that when wet, the floor was not excessively slippery. Demand: $500,000.

Result : Defense verdict on liability. The case settled pursuant to a high-low agreement.
Defense Attorney : For the hospital: Sarah E. Sholes.

Supreme Court, Dutchess County


In a personal injury action based on premises liability, the plaintiff alleged that she fell and sustained a fractured shoulder and subsequently developed paraplegia as a result of the negligence of the defendants. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant nursing home created a hazardous and dangerous condition by closing the main exit and requiring visitors, such as the elderly plaintiff, to walk a longer distance around the building to get back to their cars. On our summary judgment motion, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims related to paraplegia, the defense having proved that the paraplegia was due to a medical condition unrelated to the plaintiff’s fall. The case went to trial on the issue of negligence, as the plaintiff continued to seek damages in connection with the fractured shoulder. Plaintiff’s demand before jury deliberation on negligence: $150,000.

Result : Defense verdict on the issue of negligence.
Defense Attorney : For the nursing home: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Orange County


The defendant orthopedic surgeon performed a closed reduction and casting of the plaintiff’s Colles fracture. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant should have performed an open reduction after a loss of position of the fracture fragments, as a result of which he required several open procedures and was left with a malunion, radial shortening, and diminished use of the forearm. The defense was that the initial treatment was appropriate and the subsequent treatment by a Florida orthopedist was ill-advised and contributed to the poor outcome. Demand: $500,000. Amount asked of jury: $500,000.

Result : Defense verdict.
Defense Attorney : For the orthopedic surgeon: Sarah E. Sholes.

Supreme Court, Dutchess County


The plaintiff visitor had been asked to leave the defendant nursing home at which his father was a resident. When the plaintiff refused to leave the premises, the State Police were called and arrested the plaintiff. At trial, the plaintiff alleged that he had been falsely arrested by the nursing home because he was asked to leave the facility without any reason or justification.

Result : Defense verdict on causation.
Defense Attorney : For the nursing home: Robert Irving Miller

Supreme Court, Bronx County


The plaintiff claimed that she sustained a dislocated hip, peroneal nerve palsy, foot drop, the amputation of two toes and the inability to live independently as a result of the defendant nursing home’s negligence in caring for her after she had been treated at a non-party hospital for a fractured hip. The defense contended that the nursing home had followed appropriate procedures, the plaintiff was non-compliant with post-fracture protocols, and that the nerve damage occurred not at the nursing home, but in the hospital. The treating orthopedic surgeons had settled before trial. Demand: $200,000. Amount asked of jury: $2.1 million.

Result : Defense verdict.
Defense Attorney : For the nursing home: Sarah E. Sholes.

Supreme Court, Bronx County


In a two-and-a-half-week trial, the plaintiff alleged negligence against a nursing home and its staff in connection with severe injuries and death sustained by his mother, a resident at the nursing home, after she suffered serious and extensive burns while smoking a cigarette in a lounge at the nursing home. Demand: $600,000.

Result : Defense verdict on causation.
Defense Attorney : For the nursing home: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Dutchess County


The plaintiff claimed that just prior to cataract surgery by the non-party ophthalmologist the globe of his right eye was perforated by a needle that the defendant anesthesiologist used to deliver local anesthesia, resulting in a macular hole and the loss of central vision in that eye. The defense claimed that the vision loss was secondary to age related macular degeneration, which had been diagnosed in the other eye.

Result : Defense verdict.
Defense Attorney : For the anesthesiologist: Sarah E. Sholes

United States District Court, Southern District of New York


The plaintiff alleged that a physician employee of an HMO failed to recognize the plaintiff’s history of alleged gastric disease and caused an ulcer and severe gastrointestinal hemorrhage by prescribing the wrong medication for the treatment of the plaintiff’s arthritis.

Result : Defense verdict.
Defense Attorney : For the defendant HMO: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Orange County


The plaintiff’s fractured distal tibia and fibula were reduced by the defendant orthopedic surgeon, who according to the plaintiff’s expert, failed to achieve proper alignment, resulting in an osteotomy, realignment of the ankle joint, the onset of osteoarthritis, and need for future ankle fusion. The subsequent treating surgeon, however, testified that although he performed an osteotomy, he did not realign the bones. The defense argued that the degenerative arthritis resulted from the initial crush injuries to the cartilage, as confirmed by CT scan. Demand: $750,000. Amount asked of jury: $350,000.

Result : Defense verdict.
Defense Attorney : For the orthopedic surgeon: Sarah E. Sholes.

Supreme Court, Ulster County


In a seven-day trial, the plaintiff X-ray technician alleged that he sustained a severe electrical shock as the result of alleged defects in and improper installation of an x-ray machine in a hospital. The defendants, the manufacturer and service company of the x-ray machine, impleaded the hospital and alleged that the shock, if it occurred, was due to negligent maintenance of the x-ray machine by the hospital. Demand: $300,000.

Result : Defense verdict.
Defense Attorney : For the third party defendant hospital: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Orange County


The defendant orthopedic surgeon was alleged to have improperly reduced open, segmental fractures of the distal tibia and fibula, and to have failed to properly treat a refracture and angulation of the fracture fragments as a result of which the plaintiff, a 35-year-old truck driver, spent nine months in an Ilizarov external fixator. The defense was that the plaintiff’s initial reduction was acceptable, as was the treatment of the complication. Demand: $700,000. Amount asked of jury $950,000.

Result : Defense verdict.
Defense Attorney : For the orthopedic surgeon: Sarah E. Sholes.

Supreme Court, Dutchess County


In a medical malpractice action, the plaintiff pleaded numerous departures by hospital personnel in connection with the post-operative treatment of a patient who allegedly sustained peritonitis and other complications following a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

Result : Directed verdict in favor of the defendant hospital at the conclusion of the plaintiff's case.
Defense Attorney : For the hospital: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Orange County


The plaintiff alleged that the defendant orthopedic surgeon had improperly reduced her intertrochanteric hip fracture which resulted in a one inch shortening of the leg, and that the defendant hospital was negligent in leaving a box of surgical gloves on a corridor railing, causing her to fall in the corridor and reinjure the hip. Both the plaintiff’s expert and the hospital’s expert were critical of the orthopedic surgeon’s initial reduction and fixation and subsequent treatment of the hip. The surgeon’s expert used a goniometer to show that the initial reduction was within acceptable limits. Demand: $350,000.

Result : Defense verdict for the orthopedic surgeon; plaintiff's verdict against the hospital in the amount of $100,000.
Defense Attorney : For the orthopedic surgeon: Sarah E. Sholes.

Supreme Court, Westchester County


In a 17-day trial, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant pediatricians improperly treated hypoxia and acidosis of the newborn and allegedly failed to recognize or treat neonatal seizures. The other defendants settled before trial. Demand: $700,000. Amount suggested to jury by plaintiff’s attorney: $10,000,000.

Result : Defense verdict.
Defense Attorney : For the pediatricians: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Dutchess County


In a wrongful death action, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant physicians had failed to diagnose myocarditis secondary to staphylococcus aureus septicemia in her 19- year-old son, who expired within several days. The treatment records of the defendant emergency medicine specialist were missing, and the court gave a missing records charge.

Result : Defense verdict.
Defense Attorney : For the defendant emergency specialist: Sarah E. Sholes.

Supreme Court, Dutchess County


In a six-day trial, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant physicians, an internist and a rheumatologist, negligently failed to detect signs and symptoms of lung cancer, failed to obtain a chest x-ray when indicated, and failed to prevent metastasis to the brain. Demand: $850,000. Amount asked of jury: $2,000,000.

Result : Defense verdict.
Defense Attorney : For all defendants: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Ulster County


In this three-week trial the plaintiff alleged that the defendant emergency room physician and physician’s assistant had failed to diagnose and treat a ruptured arteriovenous malformation in her brain on an emergency room visit after she fell off her boat and was submerged for a short time. The defense contended that the plaintiff had no neurological signs, symptoms or complaints while under the care of the defendants, and that her problem didn’t develop until after she left their emergency room. The next day she went to a different emergency room where she gave a history of her symptoms beginning after she had left the defendants’ care. Demand: $950,000.

Result : Defense verdict.
Defense Attorney : For the defense: Sarah E. Sholes.

Supreme Court, Ostego County


The plaintiff contended that the defendant physicians failed to recognize signs of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus prior to the death of the plaintiff’s decedent due to a pulmonary embolism.

Result : Defense verdict.
Defense Attorney : For the defendant internist: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Ulster County


The 39-year-old female plaintiff claimed to have sustained traumatic carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar nerve neuropathy and a partial rotator cuff tear in her dominant upper extremity, as well as cervical injury and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of an automobile accident whereby the defendant’s vehicle turned left in front of her. She underwent a carpal tunnel release, ulnar nerve transposition and shoulder arthroscopy. The defense conceded liability and tried damages only. The defense experts testified that the carpal tunnel syndrome was minor, pre-existing and caused by prolonged driving, while the other injuries were unrelated to the accident and not “serious” under the no-fault statutes. Demand: $800,000. Amount asked of jury: $2 million.

Result : Defense verdict.
Defense Attorney : For the defense: Sarah E. Sholes.

Supreme Court, Orange County


The plaintiff alleged that the defendant pediatrician negligently failed to treat severe metabolic acidosis in a newborn, thereby causing permanent and severely debilitating brain damage, cerebral palsy and mental retardation.

Result : Defense verdict after a three-week trial.
Defense Attorney : For the pediatrician: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Columbia County


The 12-year-old female plaintiff was treated by the defendant in the emergency room following an automobile accident resulting in a “seat belt sign” on her abdomen. After several hours of observation the child was discharged and vomited in the hospital parking lot. Upon her return she was seen by a non-party surgeon who diagnosed intra-abdominal bleeding via a CT scan and three hours later performed the first of two laparotomies to remove two thirds of the small intestine, including the jejunum, and one half of the colon. The plaintiff claimed the defendant should have ordered an abdominal CT scan, while the defense argued that the child was asymptomatic in the emergency department and earlier diagnosis of the abdominal bleed would not have affected the outcome.

Result : Defense verdict.
Defense Attorney : For the physician: Sarah E. Sholes.

Supreme Court, Ulster County


The plaintiff alleged that hospital staff committed malpractice by failing to provide necessary emergency treatment for a newborn who ultimately was diagnosed with extensive brain damage, developmental delays and severe seizure disorder. The plaintiff specifically claimed that hospital staff failed to timely and correctly treat the newborn’s low blood oxygen levels and low blood sugar levels after delivery of the baby. The defense position was that the brain damage occurred in utero and that the hypoxia, which was related to persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, was identified and treated promptly. The defense also asserted that hospital staff promptly and appropriately treated the hypoglycemia.

Result : Defense verdict on liability with respect to the hypoxia and on causation with respect to the hypoglycemia.
Defense Attorney : For the hospital: Robert Irving Miller.

Supreme Court, Kings County


In a premises liability action, the plaintiff alleged serious injuries after a slip and fall at defendant’s nursing home. The plaintiff was a phlebotomist from a hospital laboratory who went to the defendant nursing home to draw blood from residents. The plaintiff claimed to have fallen in a resident’s room because there was allegedly soapy water underneath a bedside mat. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s staff negligently created a dangerous and hazardous condition by spilling and/or failing to clean up soapy water after bathing a resident. The defense argued that there was no evidence of a spill and that the plaintiff and her husband, who claimed he was called and came to the scene of the accident immediately, were not credible about the supposed existence of soapy water under and near the mat. This was a bifurcated trial. The jury found that the defendant’s premises were in a reasonably safe condition at the time of the plaintiff’s alleged accident. Had the matter continued to a trial of damages, the plaintiff intended to claim that she suffered head, neck, chest, back and right shoulder injuries, including a torn rotator cuff, need for three shoulder surgeries, implantation of a neurostimulator device at the level of the cervical spine and complex regional pain syndrome (reflex sympathetic dystrophy). The plaintiff’s demand throughout the trial was $2,500,000.

Result : Defense verdict on liability.
Defense Attorney : For the nursing home: Robert Irving Miller.
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