Joe Effinger and Matt Piekarski obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a hospital in a patient fall medical negligence case tried in Jefferson Circuit Court (Louisville). The Plaintiff’s decedent was hospitalized after she fell at home and fractured her hip. Following hip replacement surgery the patient was documented as being confused and a “high fall risk,” but also had significant mobility limitations. Fall precautions were taken, but the patient unexpectedly got up in the middle of the night without assistance, fell, and fractured her arm. The Plaintiff claimed the hospital nursing staff failed to implement and/or ensure that appropriate fall precaution measures were in place. Joe and Matt established that the hospital nursing staff appropriately cared for the patient, had all necessary fall precaution measures in place, and that the patient’s fall was not reasonably foreseeable. The case was tried over four days and the jury returned defense verdict for our client hospital. No appeal was taken.
Matt Piekarski secured summary judgment in favor of a police officer accused of civil rights violations and state-law torts related to his use of a taser on a fleeing subject resulting in the subject’s death.
Matt Piekarski and Bobby Whitmer obtained a zero-liability defense verdict on behalf of a restaurant in a premises liability case in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky at Lexington. The Plaintiff, a recently retired kindergarten teacher and customer of the restaurant, slipped on engine oil spilled in the parking lot by another customer, who hit the curb upon entry to the restaurant parking lot and did report the oil spill to restaurant management before the Plaintiff’s fall. The fall caused both a fracture and dislocation of the Plaintiff’s elbow. The Plaintiff claimed that the restaurant negligently failed to warn or remedy the oil spill, resulting in the Plaintiff’s injuries. The Plaintiff and driver (who was also sued) settled before trial, leaving only the Plaintiff’s claims against PPOA’s client-restaurant. The case was tried over three days. Matt and Bobby successfully established to the jury that the restaurant did not have sufficient time to warn or remedy of the spill following notification, and that the restaurant bore no responsibility for the Plaintiff’s injuries. A defense verdict was entered in favor of our client-restaurant, and no appeal will be taken.
Sean Ragland and Colleen Davis successfully defended a social worker and her employer, a behavioral health facility, at trial in a tragic suicide case. A fourteen-year-old girl from an extremely abusive home was residing at a residential treatment center. The girl was sent to the emergency room after a self-harming incident that the Estate characterized as a suicide attempt, and the social worker performed a mental health assessment. She recommended the patient return to the residential treatment center for continuation of the intensive treatment she was already receiving there. Twelve days later, and four days after a tense encounter with her mother, the patient died by suicide at the treatment center. The patient’s estate alleged that the social worker should have recommended inpatient treatment. The defendants argued that the assessment and recommendation were appropriate under the circumstances and that the patient’s death was likely triggered by some intervening event, such as the patient’s tense encounter with her abusive mother. The Estate sought nearly $2 million dollars in damages. The jury deliberated for just over one hour before returning a defense verdict.
Sean Ragland was named the 2020 Defense Trial Lawyer of Year by The Kentucky Trial Court Review for his back-to-back medical malpractice trial victories in the Spring of 2020. Congratulations, Sean!
Sean Ragland and Jack Phillips successfully defended two hospitalists and their practice after an in-patient, 64, suddenly lost vision and seized. After transfer to a higher acuity hospital, neurologists ultimately diagnosed her with Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome, a rare neurological condition that was only discovered in the last 25 years. The PRES did reverse, and the patient recovered her sight but claimed ongoing memory loss and nerve damage. The Plaintiff alleged that untreated acute increased blood pressure during her two-day hospitalization caused the PRES. The hospitalists argued, through expert proof, that their monitoring of the Plaintiff’s blood pressure and clinical judgment not to treat it with medication was appropriate. A defense neurology expert also opined that, in retrospect, the blood pressures were not the cause of the PRES, but it was a mounting pneumonia infection, instead. The Plaintiff claimed over $1 million dollars in damages. A Carroll County, Kentucky jury returned a defense verdict in less than an hour.
Sean Ragland and Jack Phillips successfully defended a pediatrician and her practice after a four-year-old patient’s mother alleged that she failed to diagnose emerging appendicitis. The Plaintiff alleged that an earlier diagnosis would have avoided a subsequent rupture of the appendix, a surgical complication during repair, multiple other abdominal surgeries, and a difficult hospital course. The Plaintiff claimed over $4.7 million dollars in damages. A Floyd County, Kentucky jury returned a defense verdict in 20 minutes.
Bill Orberson and David Giesel successfully defended a personal injury action brought against their client in Jefferson Circuit Court. Plaintiff claimed significant damages as a result of a three-car motor vehicle accident which took place on 11/06/14. The initial impact between the defendant’s vehicle and the center car was significant and caused the center vehicle to rear end the plaintiff’s car. The severity of the impact between the center car and the plaintiff’s vehicle was contested. The defendant conceded fault and the case was tried solely on the issue of damages. Plaintiff claimed cervical disc bulges/protrusions and a shoulder injury. She sought medical expenses in the amount of $16,500, lost income in the amount of $3,600, and pain and suffering in the amount of $300,000. The case was tried over three days and the jury awarded $3,249.25 for medical expenses and nothing for lost wages or for pain and suffering. Because of the “set off” provided in the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Reparations Act, judgment in the defendant’s favor was granted.
John Phillips and Katie Watts successfully defended a local plaintiff’s trial attorney in a legal malpractice case. The case involved the trial attorney’s preparation and presentation of his client’s personal injury trial. Although the client received a jury verdict in his favor, his dissatisfaction with the result prompted him to blame his attorney for nearly every aspect of the representation. Phillips and Tipton defended the case by establishing that the attorney used reasonable professional skill and judgment in his presentation of the personal injury case. The legal malpractice case was bifurcated into liability and damages phases, and the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in the liability phase after only 30 minutes of deliberation.
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