Lou La Cava Obtains a Defense Verdict for a Hospital in Marion County
Lou La Cava obtained a defense verdict for a hospital in Marion County. This case was being handled by another firm and Lou La Cava was retained to be lead trial counsel. The Plaintiff alleged in the case that the on-call neurosurgeon was negligent in his evaluation of a patient who presented with thoracic back pain and leg weakness and numbness. MRI showed a burst fracture of the T-11 vertebrae with cord compression. The neurosurgeon recommended conservative care. The Plaintiff alleged the neurosurgeon took an inadequate history and did not perform a thorough exam. They further argued the patient required immediate neurosurgical intervention to prevent neurological damage. The Plaintiff’s condition deteriorated after her discharge from the hospital. She eventually had surgery and became an incomplete paraplegic. The plaintiff alleged the hospital was vicariously liable for the alleged negligence of the on-call neurosurgeon. The defense presented evidence that the neurosurgeon’s evaluation met the standard of care and that conservative management was an appropriate choice of treatment. The defense also argued that earlier surgical intervention would not have altered the outcome. It was also the defense position that the neurosurgeon was not an employee or agent of the hospital and the hospital should not be held vicariously liable for his care and treatment of the patient if he was negligent since he was an independent contractor. After a two week trial the jury returned a verdict in two and a half hours finding that the neurosurgeon was not negligent and did not cause the damages alleged. The agency question did not have to be answered in light of the finding that there was no liability on the part of the neurosurgeon.