Plaintiffs, husband, and wife filed suit claiming permanent injuries stemming from a rear-end motor vehicle accident. Both claimed injury to their spine, resulting in various procedures and surgeries. Combined, the Plaintiffs incurred just under $500,000 in Letter of Protection medical bills. Plaintiffs produced photographs of their vehicle showing a dented bumper, trunk, and broken taillight. Plaintiffs used the severity of the impact to bolster their medical causation arguments and the need for the procedures and surgeries. Defendant denied causing any damage to the Plaintiffs’ bumper as the impact was low velocity (but had no photos from the scene of the accident to prove his position). However, Defendant was able to obtain deposition testimony from the police officer, and bodycam footage (although somewhat blurry from humidity) from the accident scene to prove there was no visible damage to the rear of the Plaintiff’s vehicle.
Defendant also retained an accident reconstruction expert and biomechanical expert to support the Defendant’s position that the height differential in the vehicles could not have resulted in the type of damage claimed, and that the minor impact could not have caused sufficient velocity/forces to cause the injuries claimed. Additionally, Plaintiffs denied and/or downplayed their multiple prior injury claims, and the Defendant uncovered a combined fourteen (14) personal injury claims between the husband and wife, arguing that the two were serial Plaintiffs. Surveillance footage captured the two Plaintiffs engaging in multiple activities that they claimed in deposition they could not perform because of their alleged permanent injuries. The Defendant also uncovered that one of the Plaintiff’s was not taking the narcotic mediation prescribed by his pain management specialist (though pharmacy records revealed multiple purchases). In fact, the Plaintiff husband’s urinalysis revealed that he was instead abusing Fentanyl (a non-prescribed drug) which he was likely purchasing from the sale of the prescribed narcotic mediation. As a result, the extensive discovery, the Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss for Fraud. The case was ultimately dismissed, and the Court entered an award in favor of the Defendants to recover all their costs.
Plaintiff filed a suit claiming personal injuries stemming from a premises liability claim against the owner of the property (Defendant). Plaintiff claimed he slipped and fell causing permanent injuries which included a wrist fracture, spinal injuries, and a traumatic brain injury. The incident was captured on the property owner’s surveillance footage. Defendant objected to the video’s production in discovery before the Plaintiff was deposed so as to not allow the Plaintiff to alter his testimony in line with the footage. Plaintiff’s testimony sharply contradicted the footage which revealed the Plaintiff was liable for his own claimed injuries. As a result of the glaring contradiction between the deposition testimony and surveillance footage, the Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (based on the newly implemented summary judgment standards), Motion to Dismiss for Fraud, as well as serving the Plaintiff and his attorney a Motion for 57.105 Sanctions and the required Safe Harbor Letter. As a result, the Plaintiff filed a Voluntary Dismissal to avoid the imposition of sanctions.
Keith Puya and Steven Lury represented an orthopedic surgeon in Palm Beach County in connection with a medical malpractice claim. It was alleged that the client was negligent in performing a diagnostic knee arthroscopy in the presence of a potential infectious process, i.e., a scab on the surgical knee. Post surgery, the Plaintiff developed a severe MRSA infection in the knee requiring several months of IV antibiotic therapy, followed by oral antibiotics. Plaintiff is now in need of a total knee replacement at the age of 30. Mr. Bamburg also had approximately 14 surgeries, including a major fasciotomy, a number of arthrotomies and manipulations under anesthesia as well as over $1.3 million in medical expenses. Both the plaintiff’s treating orthopedic and retained expert did not believe it was safe for him to have a total knee replacement, given his extremely high risk for developing a peri-prosthetic joint infection and the possible need for an amputation. The plaintiff is left with a significant flexion contracture, loss of extension and major scarring and deformity of his right leg.
The plaintiff requested the jury award damages in the range of approximately $19 million to around $28 million dollars give the fact that the plaintiff’s projected life expectancy was over 45 years. The defense centered around the fact that although there were numerous post operative pictures, there was no picture of any scab on the surgical knee, even though the Surgery Center nurses, pre-operatively noted in the records that the patient had ‘scabs on bilateral knees.’ The defense was successful in showing the jury that the client did not and never would perform an elective surgical procedure at or through a scab as suggested by the Plaintiff. The jury deliberated the case for 90 minutes and returned a Defense Verdict.
In a case involving allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, Patrick Wier and Jeffrey Goodis successfully argued to both the Trial Court and the Second District Court of Appeal that the Plaintiff was not entitled to present his case to the jury because of the protections of Qualified Immunity. At the Trial Court level, they argued that the Plaintiff’s claim did not present any issues of material fact that could provide a reasonable basis to allege that the Defendant acted in a manner that was plainly incompetent or in knowing violation of the law when he performed his duties as an Assistant State’s Attorney. One of the issues argued was whether bad faith, including alleged legal malice, as an element of malicious prosecution, was sufficient to override a prosecutor’s immunity. Mr. Wier and Mr. Goodis argued that the prosecutor’s conduct was in good faith and that based on the knowledge of the facts at the time of filing of the Information, even if some investigative activity was performed, the prosecutor’s actions did not amount to bad faith as sometimes a prosecutor could make a decision that would later be questioned, or a victim could choose not to further pursue his or her claim, and neither would be sufficient to show the prosecutor acted in knowing violation of the law. They also argued that the Plaintiff had violated the victim’s right to custody several times prior to the date on which the Information was filed. The Trial Court entered an Order granting Final Summary Judgment in favor of the Defendant. Upon Plaintiff’s appeal of this decision, Mr. Wier and Mr. Goodis argued that the Trial Court’s decision was correct. The Second District Court of Appeal agreed and affirmed the Trial Court’s decision.
Lou La Cava and Andrew Hudson obtained a defense verdict in Charlotte County Florida in a medical malpractice case against and ophthalmologist. The Plaintiff, who was 29 years old alleged the defendant was negligent for taking a biopsy of a mass in the orbit of his left eye causing permanent ptosis and double vision by damaging the Muller Levator muscle complex. It was plaintiff’s position that a CT of the orbit should have been performed which would have demonstrated the mass was a benign dermoid cyst which should be removed in its entirety and not biopsied. Plaintiff’s expert criticized the surgical approach utilized by the defendant which he stated caused damage to both the Muller and Levator muscles. He further opined the defendant failed to read the hospital chart which showed the Plaintiff had taken an aspirin two days prior to the procedure. He testified the procedure should have been postponed. Because it was not the Plaintiff suffered a hemorrhage during the procedure which contributed to the damage to the Muller/ Levator complex. The defense demonstrated that the mass itself contributed to the ultimate complications the Plaintiff developed and damages the Plaintiff claimed. It was also the defense position that the surgical approach used while uncommon, was appropriate due to the location of the mass. Medical evidence was uncovered during the work up of the case which damaged the Plaintiff’s credibility as to when he knew the mass was present resulting in a delay in treatment which contributed to his negative outcome. It was also shown that the Plaintiff suffered from ptosis and double vision prior to the biopsy. After a 4 day trial the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant after deliberating for an hour and eleven minutes.
Jon Lynn and Cynthia Lynn obtained a directed verdict in an informed consent case in Broward County where he represented the collective Defendants (Urologist, his staff, and medical group). The Plaintiff was diagnosed with prostate cancer and elected to undergo radiation therapy. Upon completion of the radiation treatments, the patient was referred to his treating urologist (Defendant in the case) for additional therapy which included the use of a hormonal medication to be administered by injection which was received following the consultation. Immediately thereafter, the Plaintiff was admitted to a local hospital and was diagnosed with a bleeding pituitary tumor. He underwent surgery for the hemorrhaging brain tumor and claimed to be completely disabled by the complication that occurred. The patient claimed that his prostate cancer had been “cured” by his radiation treatments and that he never would have consented to the therapeutic injection if he had been properly informed of the potential risks of the shot. The Plaintiff’s expert testified that a formal, written consent to the injection was not required but he did not see any evidence in the record that the defendants had communicated any potential risks of the hormonal injection before administering it. He conceded that it would not be incumbent on the defendants to advise the patient that the injection could cause bleeding of a pituitary tumor (which the Plaintiff claimed he did not know about at the time he received the injection), but testified that the defendants simply did not get the patient’s informed consent and were therefore responsible for the damage caused by the injection which he thought caused the tumor to bleed. At the close of the Plaintiff’s case-in-chief, the court granted the Defendants’ Motion for Directed Verdict, finding that the claimed failure to get the patient’s informed consent to the injection, even assuming that to be true, was not a “legal cause” of the Plaintiff’s damages.
William “Vito” Carcioppolo and Brett Scroggins were successful in obtaining a defense verdict for an emergency room physician, his employer, and the hospital in West Palm Beach. The plaintiff, a 60 y/o female presented to an Urgent Care facility with 8-day history of worsening headaches and hypertension, a history of migraines but hadn’t had one in years. No history of trauma or hypertension. She was told to go the hospital due to her “intractable headaches and hypertension”. Two hours later she presented to the emergency room where she was seen by the defendant physician presenting with the same history and having been referred by urgent care. The plaintiff alleged the defendant was negligent in failing to order a CT of her brain leading to a delay in diagnosis. Six days later the plaintiff presented to a different emergency room where the history now included sudden onset severe right sided headache and the current headache feeling different then her migraines. A CT was done and revealed a 10mm subdural hematoma with mass effect and a 10mm shift. She was taken to surgery the next day and was recovering nicely until she suffered a re-bleed two days later. Plaintiffs treating neuropsychologist reported she suffers from higher level cognitive deficits, and she could no longer work as a Neonatal Nurse practitioner which she had done for years.
Plaintiff emergency medicine expert testified the standard of care required the defendant order a CT scan on a 60 y/o female who had worsening headaches and hypertension. Plaintiffs’ neurosurgery expert testified the failure to order a CT resulted in a delay in diagnosis which allowed her to continue to bleed causing increased pressure on her brain over the 6 days which he testified was the cause of her current neurocognitive deficits.
The defense emergency medicine expert testified her only complaint consistent with a SDH was her headache which was alleviated by the treatment rendered by the defendant. The standard of care did not require a CT scan be done. The defense neurosurgery expert testified her damages were the result of her re-bleed and not from the timing of the diagnosis.
Plaintiff sought a total of 6.8 million dollars in damages. After a weeklong trial the jury returned a verdict in just over two add a half hours finding no negligence.
Jonathan Ficarrotta and Tia Jones obtained a Defense Verdict for a Hospital in Hillsborough County in a General Liability Lawsuit. Plaintiff alleged that she slipped and fell while visiting the Hospital in an area that was being cleaned. As a result, she filed a lawsuit alleging that the Hospital was negligent for failing to maintain the flooring and/or warn her of a dangerous condition on the floor. Plaintiff alleged injuries to her lumbar spine which resulted in foot drop. At trial, an eyewitness to the fall testified that the Plaintiff tripped over her own two feet. Moreover, all the witnesses who responded to the scene testified that there was nothing on the ground or in the surrounding area that could have caused her to fall. The Defense called a neurosurgeon at trial who testified that Plaintiff had pre-existing lumbar conditions along with diabetic neuropathy which was the cause of her foot pain and numbness, not foot drop. The jury concluded that there was no negligence on part of the Hospital which was the legal cause of injuries and damages to Plaintiff.
Jason Azzarone was successful in arguing to both the Trial Court and the Sixth District Court of Appeal that the Plaintiff was not entitled to plead entitlement to punitive damages. At the Trial Court level, Mr. Azzarone argued that the Plaintiff’s proffer of evidence would not provide a reasonable basis for the recovery of punitive damages. One of the issues argued was whether the knowledge of one of the Defendant’s managers was sufficient to impute knowledge on the Defendant corporation. Mr. Azzarone argued that the manager’s conduct did not rise to the levels required for punitive damages and further argued that his position as a mid-level manager was not the type that would result in his acts being deemed those of the corporation. Mr. Azzarone also argued that the Plaintiff failed to proffer any evidence that the corporation had knowledge of the manager’s actions and condoned said actions. The Trial Court entered an Order denying the Motion for Leave to Amend To Assert a Claim for Punitive Damages. While the Plaintiff appealed this decision, Mr. Azzarone argued that the Trial Court’s decision was correct. The Sixth District Court of Appeal agreed and affirmed the Trial Court’s decision.
Jason Azzarone was successful in arguing that the Trial Court erred in denying a motion to dismiss the Plaintiff’s Complaint for failing to comply with Florida’s Medical Malpractice Pre-Suit Screening Requirements in Halsey v. Hoffman. In the Complaint, the Plaintiff alleged that the physician included an incorrect diagnosis in medical records. As the medical records were shared with other physicians, Plaintiff alleged causes of action for defamation, slander, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The Trial Court denied the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, holding that the claims raised did not allege medical malpractice and therefore, compliance with pre-suit was not required. Mr. Azzarone argued that the Trial Court’s ruling was incorrect because the claims all arose out of the rendering of medical care. The Second District Court of Appeal agreed, granted the Petition for Writ of Certiorari and quashed the Order denying the motion to dismiss.