Top Verdicts of 2005

As reported by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, January 16, 2006

Jury verdicts that topped $1 million

Of the top 17 verdicts in Massachusetts in 2005, three were medical malpractice cases; and of those three medical malpractice cases, law firm Lubin & Meyer, PC served as plaintiff’s attorneys for the top two. The largest of these verdicts & #151; $23.4 million & #151; is the 2nd largest verdict of any kind for 2005 and one of the largest jury verdicts in the history of Massachusetts for a medical malpractice case. The following are excerpts from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, January 16, 2006.

$23.4 Million - Infant injured by 'inexperienced' doctor
Medical malpractice: Antonelli, et al. v. Halladay
Middlesex Superior Court, No. 99-4391
Date of verdict: Aug. 17, 2005
Plaintiff’s attorney: Robert M. Higgins, Lubin & Meyer, Boston
Status of verdict: Paid, subject to a high-low agreement

Description of case: At 38-weeks pregnant, the minor plaintiff’s mother was sent home with instructions to return in one week after some testing. When the mother noted decreased fetal movement one night, she called her obstetrical practice. On arrival at the hospital, the mother was placed on a fetal heart monitor and it was non-reassuring. It was noted that the baby had little or no tone and there was no movement for a total of 45 minutes.
The plaintiffs' expert witnesses testified that the minor child was in trouble at this point and required an emergency Caesarean section for delivery. The defendant obstetrician decided to attempt a vaginal delivery, then waited another three hours before delivering the baby. The defendant testified that she waited for additional staffing to arrive, and that in the interim she went to rest. Twenty minutes after the delivery, the baby began to experience seizures. Now at age 8, his cognitive abilities are that of a 3- or 4-year-old, and he requires constant care and supervision.

Turning point during trial: Higgins recalls that it was "when the defendant took the stand. Until that point it had been expert witnesses, but my best witness was the defendant. She came across as extremely inexperienced [making] some strange comments on the stand about her ability. She said to me, 'You wouldn't understand, it’s my gift to take care of babies.' It was odd. She didn't have really good answers as to why. When the jury finally had a chance to meet her, she didn't give the jury a reason to believe she had done anything right."

$12.8 Million - Difficult delivery leaves baby with deficits
Medical malpractice: McLaughlin v. Peccei, et al.
Suffolk Superior Court, No. 98-02231E
Date of verdict: May 9, 2005
Plaintiff’s attorneys: Andrew C. Meyer Jr. and Suzanne C. McDonough, Lubin & Meyer, Boston
Status of verdict: Defense motions for a new trial were rejected, but the lost earnings award was reduced by $1.6 million, after the judge found that the award the jury had given was marginally excessive. Currently, the award stands at $24 to $25 million, with interest.

Description of case: The plaintiff was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital so that doctors could begin inducing her labor. It was the responsibility of the defendant obstetrician, who wasn't yet board certified, to oversee the plaintiff’s care. The next day the defendant, without explaining any accompanying risks, broke the plaintiff’s water in an effort to advance the labor, but there was little progression and the baby was starting to show signs of stress. Instead of a Caesarean section, however, the defendant positioned the plaintiff on her side, gave her oxygen, then signed out and left.

Nearly three hours later, another defendant doctor, also not board-certified at the time, saw the plaintiff. That doctor decided to deliver the baby with a vacuum extractor. Several attempts were made without a successful delivery. At birth the infant was unresponsive and showed signs of trauma and bruising around her head. MRIs and CT scans would later reveal bleeding within the baby’s brain. The child now suffers from learning disabilities, wears braces, occasionally requires a walker or stroller, suffers from seizures and is prone to falling down.

Turning point during trial: "The cross examination of both defendants," says Meyer. With one defendant forced to admit an inaccuracy and the other saying things that were inconsistent with the record, "their honesty was called into question," he explains.

See also: Largest Settlements in 2003

See also: Featured Verdicts of 2004

See also: Largest Settlements in 2005

See also: Top Verdicts of 2005

See also: Largest Settlements in 2006

See also: Largest Settlements 2007

See also: Top Verdicts 2007

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