Cases

California Jury Awards $4.5 Million In Wright Medical Technology Profemur R Hip Case

Warner v. Wright Medical Technology - 4.5 Million Dollar Ver

The first product liability lawsuit to go to trial out of nearly 1,200 pending cases involving Wright Medical Technology Inc.’s metal hip implants resulted in a $4.5 million plaintiffs’ verdict on Friday, after a California state court jury decided that the stem piece in Alan Warner’s implant broke due to being weakened by a laser during the manufacturing process.

While the majority of other lawsuits over allegedly defective Wright hip implants claim metal components in the devices ground together and released toxins into patients’ blood, plaintiff Alan Warner’s case is the first time Wright has defended its metal hip implants before a jury in any capacity. Although the jurors said Wright’s design of the Profemur R device was not at fault, they found that the implant used in Warner was defectively manufactured and caused him injury.

PROFEMUR-RThe 12-member jury deliberated for just over a day and half following a three-week trial before deciding 9-3 that the Profemur R used in Mr. Warner snapped in 2010 while he stood in his kitchen due to a laser orientation mark that was burned too deeply into the device. Mr. Warner’s Steve Vartazarian argued that laser engravings deeper than 35 microns can cause the titanium in the metal implants to become brittle, and that the crack in the Profemur R emanated from a laser mark over 100 microns deep. The laser etchings are used to help doctors orient the device during surgery.

Less than three years had passed since Alan Warner had the Profemur R implanted when it snapped, although it was designed to last for well over a decade, according to Mr. Vartazarian. Following the fracture, Mr. Warner required 14 major surgeries after experiencing a number of dislocations and prolonged infections. The jury awarded Warner $4 Million for past and future pain and suffering and $500,000 to his wife for loss of consortium.

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Personal Injury/Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice cases are the most difficult cases to work on. It requires an intimate knowledge of not only the law that governs medical malpractice claims but also medicine. In other words, the attorney must know at least as much as the physician that is being sued, or more.

In this case our client was a lady in her early 40s who had a problem in the middle of her back were she had a bulging disc that was causing tremendous pain that would originate in her mid back and wrap around the left side of her chest to her sternum. She was referred to a renowned orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed the disc bulge at the T6-T7 level and scheduled her for a discectomy, which in essence is cutting out removing the offending disc that is compressing the spine and responsible for all her symptoms.

The surgery took place in 2009, shortly after which she continued to have the same complaints of pain. Because this was unusual the surgeon ordered another study of the same area of her back, which showed that she continued to have the disc protrusion and that he had not appropriately addressed the offending portion of the disc. Instead, he had removed behind the disc without addressing the bulge, which was the reason our client continued to have complaints of pain after the surgery that she did before the surgery. The doctor, upon receiving the results of the imaging study taken after surgery that showed the disc herniation continued to exist, documented in the patient’s medical chart that that imaging study showed that she no longer had decompression at that level.

As a result of failing to inform the patient that the surgery was unsuccessful and that she needed to have additional surgery to correct the mistake, our client underwent nine months of unnecessary medical tests such as brain MRIs, shoulder MRI’s, neurology consults, rheumatology consult, and more. She was ultimately sent to another hospital for a second opinion where upon the disc herniation was immediately found. She was re-operated on, and was perfectly fine within six months.

One of the things we did to prepare this case for trial and to prove the above was to obtain all of our clients medical records, retain the best radiologist and spine surgeon that we could find. Understanding of the medicine, we were able to prepare exhibits that demonstrated the defendants liability.

After our work about this case this case is currently set for trial in May 2013.

We have the resources, technology and experience to handle complex civil cases while giving our clients the personal attention they deserve.

Motor Vehicle Accident

Our client, a 32-year-old male, was driving in West LA when his car was broadsided by the defendant who allegedly had ran a red light. He complained of pain to his neck and head and was seen by chiropractor along with an orthopedic doctor for five weeks.

Prior to the case being referred to our office the defendant’s insurance carrier, through his attorney, made a minimal offer of less than $5,000.

The first thing we did is meet with our clients orthopedic surgeon and also speak with all his treaters, which included his chiropractor and primary care doctor.

We were able to determine that he tore a disc in his neck as a result of the movement of his neck upon impact. We then met with the radiologist who interpreted the MRI of his cervical spine and created exhibits depicting his injury.

More importantly, as a result of the injury, his orthopedic surgeon testified that he was going to need surgery within 10 years to remove the injured disc and replace it, which is going to cost in excess of $100,000. As a result of our work on the case, the value of this case has gone from approximately $10-$15,000, to between $100,000 and $150,000 for purposes of trial.

The defendant would like to settle this case, but in the best interest of our client we plan on going to trial in mid 2013.

We have the resources, technology and experience to handle complex civil cases while giving our clients the personal attention they deserve.

Personal Injury/Motor Vehicle Accident

A 30-year-old paralyzed female was backing out of her parking stall and was rear-ended when a truck across the driveway was also backing out, didn’t see our client, and ran into her at approximately 15 mph.

As a result of the impact and because her left arm had been extended at the time, there was a tremendous amount of force applied to her left shoulder, which we alleged caused the fracture of her acromioclavicular joint.

As a result of this injury she was unable to manage her daily routine. She went to the doctor and was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who took x-rays, diagnosed the fracture and performed surgery to remove the broken bone.

Prior to the case coming to our office, the insurance carrier was making a minimal offer and argued that any left shoulder injury that she had was attributable to a preexisting condition.

We immediately met with our client’s orthopedic surgeon and went over her entire medical history both before and after the collision. We were able to determine that indeed she did fracture her acromioclavicular joint as a result of the collision.

After we completed our work up of the case, and prepared our exhibits demonstrating this injury, the defendant’s insurance carrier, through their attorney, made a substantial offer in an attempt to resolve the case, which was rejected in the best interests of our client.

The initial offer from the defendants was $13,000. It was settled just before trial for $65,000.

Settlement: Nearly 18 times the medical costs Premises Liability/Slip and Fall

Our client was walking down an embankment adjacent to her town home to the beach.

As she walked down the embankment, there was no handrails and she lost her footing when she stepped into a deficit in the ground that had not been repaired and fell forward and suffered an orbital floor fracture. (A fracture to her left eye socket.)

The defendants contended that she fell as a result of her own neglect because she had never used the embankment; failed to use the stairwell with the handrail present; was barefoot; was walking two dogs on a leash that she had never walked before, and she was not being careful.

Her medical expenses were $7000. The case ended up settling for $125,000.

The reason for the high settlement in relation to the low medical bills is that it was anticipated by the defendants that we would do a good job arguing the future impact of this injury on our client’s left eye; her neurological deficits in sustaining a concussion, and whether the bone would move in the future causing disalignment to her eyes.

We have the resources, technology and experience to handle complex civil cases while giving our clients the personal attention they deserve.

Award: $340,000 – Premises Liability/Slip and Fall

Our client was in her mid-60s when she slipped and fell at her apartment building in los Angeles because the lobby floor pooled rainwater as a result of a defective roof lobby.

Prior to the case coming to our office the insurance carrier, through its attorney, made an offer of less than $20,000.

Once I got the case, I immediately met with our clients orthopedic surgeon and spoke with him about our clients back injuries and shoulder injury. The medical bills for our clients back injury $7500 and consisted only of MRIs and minimal treatment.

We alleged that as a result of the fall she injured her lower back and had tremendous pain that limited both her professional and social activities. The insurance carrier believed that this condition was a product of degenerative aging and was present at the time of her fall. The defendant argued that although our clients sustained fall that she completely recovered from the fall and her complaints of pain had resolved.

We retained the best experts in the area of apartment management that we could find and prove that the apartment building owner was negligent in the manner in which the apartment was maintained. After our work up of the case defendants offered us $50,000 before trial, which was turned down. During trial the offer increased to 75,000 and then to 100,000, both of which our client turned down. At the end of the trial, and after closing arguments the defendant offered 150,000, which our client also rejected.

The jury ended up awarding our client $340,000, for what the defendant argued was essentially a soft tissue injury.

Award: $163,355 – Personal Injury/Motor Vehicle Accident

Our client was in his late 40s and was involved in a car accident in Long Beach where he was rear-ended.

His medical bills were approximately $30,000, which the defendant’s insurance carrier argued were very inflated.

Prior to the case being referred to our office by another attorney, the offer was approximately $17,000 in full settlement of the case.

We immediately ordered all of our clients medical records, met with his doctors, retained an accident reconstructionist and it was determined that our client sustained a lower back injury and a closed head injury as a result of the significant impact.

After our workup of the case the defendant’s insurance carrier through its attorney offered us $27,500 which we rejected. After three days of trial and at the end of closing argument the defendants, through her attorney offered the defendants policy limits of $50,000, which our client rejected. The jury awarded our client $163,355 for his lower back pain and head injury that he had sustained.

We have the resources, technology and experience to handle complex civil cases while giving our clients the personal attention they deserve.

Settlement: $725,000 – Personal Injury/Medical Malpractice – Negligent Surgery

Medical malpractice cases are the most difficult cases to work on. It requires an intimate knowledge of not only the law that governs medical malpractice claims but also medicine. In other words, the attorney must know at least as much as the physician that is being sued, or more.

Personal Injury/ Medical Malpractice/ Negligent Surgery

SETTLEMENT: $725,000.

CASE: John Doe v. Roe M.D.

FACTS: Plaintiff, a 45-year-old trash collector, fractured a small bone in his right big toe while on the job, requiring surgical removal. In 2009, Plaintiff underwent surgery with Dr. Roe at Roe Surgical Center, during which a bone in Plaintiff’s right big toe was removed. Several weeks after surgery, Dr. Roe told Plaintiff that he could bear weight on his right foot and that he could also start physical therapy. After a few weeks of physical therapy; Plaintiff had to stop because he was in too much pain. Soon thereafter, a visit to another physician revealed that the fractured bone was still there, resulting in Plaintiffs inability to participate in physical therapy.

PLAINTIFF’S CONTENTIONS: Plaintiff claimed that Dr. Roe committed malpractice by removing a healthy bone and leaving the fractured bone in place. Plaintiff also claimed that the surgical center was also responsible for failing to conduct a proper timeout prior to surgery, which would have prevented the wrong surgery from taking place.

DEFENDANTS CONTENTIONS: Dr. Roe claimed that he removed an arthritic bone that was a pain riser and prevented Plaintiff from walking correctly. The fractured bone had healed and that Plaintiff was correctly cleared to begin physical therapy. The development of complex regional pain syndrome after surgery was a risk of surgery for which Plaintiff consented.

INJURIES: Plaintiff claimed that as a result of physical therapy with the fractured bone still in place, he developed complex regional pain syndrome. As a result of this diagnosis, Plaintiff’s subsequent treaters were reluctant to operate on Plaintiff’s right foot to remove the fractured bone. Plaintiff was unable to work with this condition and had to take an early retirement.

RESULT: The case settled at mediation for $725,000 (Dr. Roe paid $650,000 and the surgical center paid $75,000.)

Daily Journal Friday November 9, 2012

Award: $557,000 – Personal Injury/Hotel Mini-Bar Leak

Plaintiff/Guest suffered respiratory injuries after the mini-bar in his hotel room sprang a leak and dispersed ammonia while he slept (McConnell v. Ritz Carlton Hotel Corp., Los Angeles County Superior Court.)