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Representative Cases and Matters for Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury

Medical MalpracticeDrug & Medication Errors - Settlement of Claims for Negligent Dispensing of Wrong Prescription Medication

Settlement of Claims for Negligent Dispensing of Wrong Prescription Medication

Even with the advances of technology in modern medicine, there is still room for human error. Dina M. Aversano together with Joseph J. Brophy successfully represented a plaintiff who suffered an almost potentially severe injury from a prescription dispensing error. First through a claims resolution process, and secondarily, outside of court, they were able to work amicably with the defendant pharmacy in reaching a just and fair settlement for the client. 


Personal Injury - Building Collapse - $1.7 Million Verdict

Dalloo v. Keyspan (Supreme Court, Suffolk County, 2010)

Skilled personal injury lawyers understand the best ways to get good outcomes when their clients suffer serious injury. Here, Joseph J. Brophy successfully obtained a $1.7 million jury verdict in a gas explosion, in behalf of a 40 year old woman who suffered severe neck and back injuries requiring spinal surgery, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder in a building collapse.


Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury - Paraplegia - Delayed Diagnosis of Back Infection

$2 Million Settlement (Supreme Court, Westchester County, 2007)

Sometimes, medical malpractice takes place when a patient sustains serious injury after a doctor fails to diagnose a medical problem. Joseph J. Brophy obtained a $2 Million settlement during trial in a medical malpractice case in which Joe's client developed paraplegia due to a delayed diagnosis of a back infection while he was a patient in a rehabilitation facility. The patient, a 55 year old diabetic, had complained about increasing pain in his back, and was making no progress in physical therapy while recovering from a bout of sepsis, a generalized blood infection. His doctor attributed his pain to a muscle strain and did not consider the possibility of an infection until the patient could no longer walk at all. He was then taken to the emergency room where a spinal cord abscess was discovered.


Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury - Wrongful Death - Undiagnosed Brain Aneurysm

$2.6 Million Settlement (Supreme Court, Bronx County, 2006)

Few lawyers understand the intricacies of bringing on a wrongful death case. In this case, Joseph J. Brophy commenced a wrongful death case and obtained a $2.6 Million medical malpractice settlement prior to trial, in the death of a 36 year old unemployed mother of five due to an undiagnosed brain aneurysm. The decedent had gone to an emergency room twice in a week complaining of a very severe headache. On the first occasion no doctor saw her at all. On the second occasion, the doctor saw her but failed to obtain the history of the prior visit. Her symptoms then went away, but two months later she suddenly lost consciousness. X-rays revealed an aneurysm that had ruptured, with evidence that it had previously leaked blood. She died before she could be taken to the operating room.


Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle Accident - Paralyzed Arm - Traumatic Brain Injury

$4.5 Million Settlement (Supreme Court, Nassau County, 2005)

When a client is in a serious car accident, it is essential that a claim is aggressively pursued to trial, if there is going to be a fair settlement. Here, Joseph J. Brophy obtained a $4.5 million settlement during trial for a motor vehicle accident. Joe's client, 18 years old at the time, was a passenger in a vehicle which struck a tractor trailer that was stopped on a dark roadway with its lights off. His injuries included a permanently paralyzed arm, chronic pain and traumatic brain injury.


Surrogate's Court Litigation - Allocation of Settlement of Medical Malpractice Award Among Estate Beneficiaries

Distribution of Proceeds of Settlement of Medical Malpractice

After a medical malpractice verdict or settlement, litigation sometimes takes place on who gets the money. Frank W. Streng successfully represented a surviving spouse in a Surrogate's Court Litigation matter on the allocation of a settlement award of over $3 million. The wife of the firm’s client had died in childbirth, survived by children of her first marriage and the only child of her marriage to our client. The executor of the estate, who was our client’s wife’s first husband, took the position that, for various reasons, no part of the settlement proceeds should be paid to our client.


Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury - Negligent Administration of Anesthesia

$2 Million Settlement (Supreme Court, Orange County, 2004)

Surgical and anesthesia problems are another example of medical malpractice that could bring permanent injury or death to a patient. Joseph J. Brophy obtained a $2 Million settlement during trial in a wrongful death medical malpractice case involving the negligent administration of anesthesia in the death of a young mother of five. The settlement was for the anesthesiologist’s insurance policy limits.


Business LitigationMedical Malpractice & Personal Injury - Defense Verdict in Brain Injury Case With Multiple Traumas

Kassim v. NYCTA, N.Y.Sup.Ct., Queens, Index No. 18874/93 - NY Jury Verdict Reporter XIX/35-18, March 4, 2002

Settlements  are often the most desirable outcome, but, sometimes, lawyers must recommend that a case go to trial and to a judge or jury verdict. Phillip C. Landrigan obtained a defense verdict after a two week trial of this brain injury case with multiple traumas. Plaintiff’s theory of the case was that a piece of a railroad tie fell from an elevated track striking plaintiff in the head, and then striking and fracturing his femur. Plaintiff had expert evidence that learning disabilities and a subsequent psychotic break were attributable to his head injury. Plaintiff’s claim was also supported by an eyewitness who was, however, effectively shown to be untruthful.

Based on investigative interviews, Phil offered, first in a voir dire before the court and later before the jury, testimony of two of three bystanders who recalled unidentified witnesses describing plaintiff’s fall from the elevated train station immediately after the accident. Based on the demeanor of these witnesses and the proximity in time to the accident, the court permitted the bystanders’ testimony based on the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule. In addition, Phil presented testimony of a medical expert that the injury to one side of plaintiff’s head and the fracture of the femur on the opposite side would be inconsistent with a falling object of the size claimed by plaintiff. Essentially a falling railroad tie hitting plaintiff’s head with the force sufficient to deflect it to hit his leg on the other side of his body would have crushed rather than merely injured his head. Rather, the expert opined that the plaintiff’s own fall from the platform would be consistent with the multiple traumas he suffered.

Post verdict interviews of the jury indicated they were very sympathetic towards the injured plaintiff. They also credited the defense evidence and Phil’s arguments, reporting they felt compelled by the judge’s charge, as sought by Phil, that if plaintiff’s theory of a falling object was found to be untrue they must return a defense verdict. Prior to closing arguments plaintiff’s demand was $1.5 million. On Phil’s advice, the client rejected plaintiff’s reduced demand for $150,000 when the jury reported it had reached a verdict within the hour of being given the case.


Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury - Undiagnosed Pulmonary Embolism

$1.7 Million Settlement (Supreme Court, Westchester County, 2002)

Wrongful death actions often arise from a doctor's failure to diagnose a medical ailment. Joseph J. Brophy obtained a $1.7 Million settlement in a medical malpractice case in which the patient, a 39 year old accountant, died six weeks after giving birth, due to an undiagnosed pulmonary embolism. She had gone to her family doctor complaining of shortness of breath twice in a week prior to collapsing at home and dying in a matter of minutes.


Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury - Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer

$1.4 Million Settlement (Supreme Court, New York County 2002)

Failing to diagnose cancer is a common form of medical malpractice. Joseph J. Brophy obtained a $1.4 million settlement of a medical malpractice case during jury selection. In this case, a 34 year old woman died due to a failure to diagnose breast cancer. She had been going to her medical group for over a year complaining of a lump in her breast. A surgeon sent her for mammograms and for an ultrasound, but told her that a biopsy was unnecessary. When she began feeling ill, she went to another medical practice, where a physician’s assistant recommended that she obtain a biopsy. It revealed advanced breast cancer. She declined chemotherapy, and six months later she died at home.


Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury - Error in Laparascopic Surgery

Rothstein v. Mayer (Supreme Court, Orange County, 2001)

Surgical errors are a common theme in medical malpractice cases. Joseph J. Brophy successfully obtained a $1 million jury verdict in a wrongful death of 61 year old woman due to a surgical error. The decedent had abdominal pain due to adhesions (internal scarring) from prior surgery. The defendant doctor performed a laparascopic procedure and in the process perforated her colon, but did not realize he had done so. After she began complaining of pain, the doctor delayed in sending her to the hospital. By the time she arrived, she had a severe infection that resulted in her death ten days later.


Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury - Undiagnosed Malaria - Blindness - Brain Injury

$4.15 Million Settlement (Supreme Court, New York County; Superior Court, Montgomery County, State of Maryland)

Joseph J. Brophy obtained a $4.15 Million settlement in a medical malpractice case where undiagnosed malaria caused blindness and severe brain injury to a four year old child who was returning from Africa and became ill on the plane. He was taken first to a clinic at the airport, then to a hospital in Maryland and on both occasions he was thought to have bronchitis. Only after he lost consciousness some days later was the malaria diagnosed, and by this time he had suffered from a profound irreversible brain injury.


Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury - Piercing Corporate Veil

Arpels v. Fallek (Supreme Court, State of New York, New York County, 1996)

Joseph J. Brophy obtained a $600,000 verdict for an injured passenger, against a taxicab company that had minimal insurance. Investigation revealed that the taxicab company was part of a fleet, and the owner of multiple companies had taken out a single loan, in which all of the taxicab medallions owned by all the corporations served as collateral. Joe commenced an action against all of the companies, and their owner, seeking to pierce the corporate veil. Discovery revealed that the owner had deposited the proceeds of the loan into his personal accounts. During trial, the case was settled for $500,000.


Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury - Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer - Pregnancy

Ball v. Shanahan (Supreme Court, Orange County, 1995)

One example of medical malpractice is when a doctor fails to diagnose cancer. Here, Joseph J. Brophy obtained a $1.3 million medical malpractice verdict for a failure to diagnose breast cancer in a 39 year old pregnant woman. During the pregnancy, she had noticed that her nipple was puckering, a finding not noted in her medical records. The doctor assured her that he would investigate it after the delivery, but he did not. However, the puckered nipple was noted in the baby’s records, because the mother could not nurse on that side. Six months after the delivery, the affected breast became painful and hard, and she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer which had spread throughout her body. Breast cancer on pregnancy is a particularly dangerous form of the disease. A mastectomy was performed and the plaintiff underwent years of chemotherapy. At trial, the treating oncologist testified that she could expect to live only another year or two. Our client survived almost ten more years before the breast cancer took her life.


Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury - Work Site Injury - Labor Law Violation

$6.7 Million Settlement (U.S.D.C., S.D.N.Y. 1994)

Injuries on the job sometimes result from an employer’s failure to comply with the labor law. Here, Joseph J. Brophy obtained a $6.7 Milllion settlement in a case involving a work site injury and a labor law violation. Joe's client, a 40 year old part-time roofer, suffered from quadriplegia after falling from a scaffold.


Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury - Mistreatment of Dehydration of Baby - Cerebral Palsy

Godin v. Schapiro (U.S.D.C., N.D.N.Y. 1992)

Joseph J. Brophy obtained a $12.3 million medical malpractice verdict for mistreatment of dehydration of baby, resulting in cerebral palsy. She was born healthy, but got sick at three weeks of age and stopped taking formula. The pediatrician gave the mother advice over the telephone, but did not ask her to bring the baby to the office to be examined. After several days, the baby seems listless, so the mother brought her to the emergency room where she was found to be severely dehydrated and had to be resuscitated. The emergency room staff neglected to weigh the baby before giving her fluids, and as a result she was given excessive fluids. The combination of dehydration and rapid overhydration caused severe brain damage, resulting in cerebral palsy.


Medical Malpractice - Quadriplegia - Brain Surgery - Lack of Informed consent

Beatt v. Hoffman (Supreme Court, New York County, 1985)

An essential element of surgery is obtaining an informed consent from a patient. Here, Joseph J. Brophy obtained a $2 million medical malpractice jury verdict, representing a 62 year old retired man who underwent surgery for a benign acoustic tumor. The doctors had recommended brain surgery for the tumor in hopes of saving the patient's hearing, and told the patient of the risks of brain surgery. However, they did not tell the patient that there was a safer alternative that would sacrifice the hearing, but carried no risk of paralysis. Joe successfully argued that his client had brain surgery without an informed consent.


Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury - Quadriplegia - Brain Surgery - Stroke

Hutton v. Mayo Clinic (U.S.D.C., Minn. 1984)

Even revered medical institutions commit acts of negligence that bring on proper medical malpractice cases. Here, Joseph J. Brophy obtained $2.1 million medical malpractice jury verdict for a 44 year old school teacher who had travelled from New York to Minnesota to have brain surgery at the Mayo Clinic. During the surgery, she experienced an air embolism that caused a severe stroke, resulting in quadriplegia. The doctors argued that the air embolism could not have been foreseen or prevented, but there was evidence of a delayed reaction to the emergency because the surgeon attempted to finish his operation after the air embolism began, while the anesthesiologist was absent from the operating room at the time. The jury deliberated for three days before rendering the first substantial verdict against the Mayo Clinic in a medical malpractice case.


Appellate Practice - Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury - Recovery under Labor Law In Excess of Policy Limits

Gasperino v. Larsen Ford, Inc., 300 F. Supp. 1182 (SDNY 1969), aff’d, 426 F.2d 1151 (2d Cir. 1970), cert. den., 400 U.S. 941 (1970)

In Gasperino, at trial and on appeal, Joel M. Aurnou obtained a wrongful death recovery in excess of policy limits under § 299 of the New York Labor Law (ventilation), along with specific approval by the 2d circuit panel of his trial record.