Firm Results

Jason Azzarone Was Successful in Arguing to The Sixth District Court of Appeal in a Case Involving a Claim for Punitive Damages

Jason Azzarone Was Successful in Arguing to The Sixth District Court of Appeal in a Case Involving a Claim for Punitive Damages

Jason M. AzzaroneJason 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 to the Second District Court of Appeal in a Medical Malpractice Defamation Case

Jason Azzarone Was Successful in Arguing to the Second District Court of Appeal in a Medical Malpractice Defamation Case

Jason M. AzzaroneJason 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.

Jason Azzarone obtained a Final Summary Judgment in a Premises Liability Case Where the Trial Court Enforced a Contractual Exculpatory Clause

Jason M. AzzaroneJason Azzarone was successful in securing a Final Summary Judgment in Collier County in a slip and fall case where the firm represented a RV Campground. Plaintiff filed her Complaint alleging negligence stemming from an incident in which she tripped and fell on a “change in elevation of the walking surface,” of Defendant’s property. Prior to her stay at the campground, the plaintiff received rules and regulations for the campground which included an exculpatory clause. The exculpatory clause stated that the plaintiff would hold the Defendant harmless from any and all liability for personal injuries. The plaintiff acknowledged that she read the rules and regulations and signed a form acknowledging her agreement to abide by them. The Trial Court held that the exculpatory clause was valid and enforceable. In doing so, the Trial Court found the clause to be clear and unambiguous.

Thomas Saieva and Lesley Stine Obtain a Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case

Thomas Saieva and Lesley Stine Obtain a Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case

Lesley A. StineThomas Saieva Thomas Saieva and Lesley Stine tried a case in which it was alleged that the plaintiff sustained a perforated bowel after a laparoscopic procedure. The case involved extended care in nursing homes, and hospitals for an 11 year period. The case was supported by the testimony of excellent experts, including a GYN/Oncologist and pathologist. The defendant physician received a defense verdict. The jury concluded that the defendant physician had not perforated bowel, but rather the perforation was a result of a compromised bowel from a prior hernia repair with mesh.

David Young and Mark Messerschmidt Obtained a Defense Verdict in Manatee County on a Medical Malpractice Case

David Young and Mark Messerschmidt Obtained a Defense Verdict in Manatee County on a Medical Malpractice Case

Mark MesserschmidtDavid P. Young David Young and Mark Messerschmidt obtained a defense verdict for an emergency room physician and his employer in Manatee County in a medical malpractice case after a 2-week trial. The Plaintiff presented to the hospital with reports of flashes and blurriness and disturbances in his peripheral vision of the right eye which had normalized by the time of the exam.  The patient reported a return of visual field deficits in the emergency room.  There was a significant discrepancy between the parties at that point, with Plaintiff contending that he remained blind in the right periphery from that point until the present while all of the healthcare providers contended that he reported that the vision returned to normal soon thereafter.   An ophthalmologist was consulted who concurred with the diagnosis of ocular migraine.  The patient returned 3 hours after discharge and was seen again by the same emergency room physician with the exam demonstrating right homonymous hemianopsia.

The Plaintiff alleged a delay in diagnosing the patient’s acute left occipital ischemic stroke and that such delay caused the persistent right-sided peripheral vision loss in both eyes. The survivors included the surviving spouse (claims of loss of parental consortium were removed from jury consideration by way of directed verdict). Plaintiff asked the jury to award more than 4 million dollars in damages.  After 5 hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict finding the emergency medicine physician not negligent and a full defense verdict in his favor.

Jason Azzarone obtained a Final Summary Judgment in a Slip and Fall Premises Liability Case

Jason Azzarone obtained a Final Summary Judgment in a Slip and Fall Premises Liability Case

Jason M. AzzaroneJason Azzarone was successful in securing a Final Summary Judgment in Marion County in a slip and fall case where the firm represented a homeowners’ association. The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant failed to maintain the outdoor common area where the alleged fall occurred. The plaintiff conceded that the incident occurred when she slipped and fell on a wet tile patio after it had become wet from a rainstorm. The plaintiff testified that because this incident occurred outside, she wouldn’t have expected anyone to dry the area during the rainstorm because the area could still get wet. Finally, the plaintiff was unaware of anyone making prior complaints about the tiles becoming slippery when wet or falling under similar conditions. The Trial Court granted the Motion for Summary Judgment, finding that rainwater is not a dangerous condition which gives rise to any duty owed to the plaintiff. In doing so, the Trial Court held that the presence of rainwater is a risk recognized by reasonable persons. The Trial Court also found that the plaintiff failed to establish that the Defendant had notice of any dangerous condition. Finally, the Trial Court found that the Defendant owed no duty to the plaintiff to maintain the area while it was raining.

Lou La Cava Obtains a Defense Verdict for a Hospital in Marion County

Lou La Cava Obtains a Defense Verdict for a Hospital in Marion County

Louis J. La Cava 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.

Jon Lynn and Lori Lewellen Obtain a Defense Verdict in a Medical Malpractice Case in Miami-Dade

Jon Lynn and Lori Lewellen Obtain a Defense Verdict in a Medical Malpractice Case in Miami-Dade

Lori B. LewellenJonathon P. LynnJon Lynn and Lori Lewellen recently got a defense verdict in a medical malpractice case in Miami-Dade. The Plaintiff, a forty-five year old gentleman who had been involved in a three car rear-end automobile accident, was referred by his lawyer to the defendant, a board certified orthopedic surgeon who attended Harvard Medical School and had completed his training at the Harvard affiliated hospitals in Boston. Ultimately, the patient underwent an L4-L5 decompression and an L4 pars fracture repair and recovered nicely from his surgery. At the time of his last office visit with the patient about three months post-op, the defendant doctor documented that the patient’s pain level was 0/10, down from 10/10 pre-operatively, and he assigned the patient a 7% impairment of the body as a whole attributable to the patient’s automobile accident. Following the defendant’s care, the patient settled his auto accident case within a couple of months of his surgery. Thereafter, however, and about 10 months after his surgery, the patient developed recurrent, 10/10 low back pain and was seen at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

Ultimately, the Plaintiff underwent a four-level spinal fusion, following which he developed complications and, by the time of trial, had been determined to be totally disabled. The Plaintiff’s expert, a local board certified orthopedic surgeon, testified that the procedure performed by the defendant had a “0%” chance of succeeding and he surmised that the surgery had been done solely for financial reasons. The defense expert, an orthopedic surgeon and a professor at the Yale University Medical School, testified that the defendant’s performance of the surgery was entirely appropriate and well within the applicable standard of care. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award literally millions of dollars (the medical bills and loss of earning capacity claims alone were worth a little over a million dollars) and also sought punitive damages from the defendant. The jury deliberated for about an hour after a 6-day trial before returning a defense verdict.

David Young and Jon Lynn Obtained a Defense Verdict in Manatee County for a Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death Case

Jonathon P. LynnDavid P. Young David Young and Jon Lynn obtained a defense verdict for two emergency room physicians, a physician assistant, and their employer in Manatee County in a medical malpractice, wrongful death case. The Plaintiff alleged the two doctors, one board certified in family practice and not emergency medicine and the other in emergency medicine, as well as the physician assistant were negligent in their care of the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff collapsed on the worksite and was assessed by EMS as unresponsive but not having a stroke. When he arrived at the hospital, the patient was responsive only to painful stimuli and over the next few hours began to improve neurologically. No focal deficits were noted by the numerous providers who assessed him over the 3 hours and then a nursing assessment noted facial droop and left-sided weakness.

The Plaintiff alleged a delay in diagnosing the patient’s acute ischemic stroke and that such delay prevented a life-saving decompressive hemicraniectomy. Plaintiff contended that it was simply impossible that such an extensive stroke be visible on CT scan and the patient not have focal deficits. Plaintiff contended that this surgery if performed within 2 days of the presentation would have saved his life, while the actual subsequent care included admission, assessment by neurology, consultation to neurosurgery, and a decision by neurosurgery within a day of admission that the risks of surgery outweighed the benefits given the size of the infarct (almost the entire right hemisphere of the brain on MRI). The Plaintiff ultimately had a brain herniation and died the day after neurosurgery was consulted.

The defense countered that the physician did in fact make the diagnosis timely once the focal deficits were present and that the presentation of the patient with global deficits (unresponsive and obtunded) prevented earlier diagnosis and that almost a dozen trained observers did not miss obvious focal deficits. The defense further argued that looking at the care prospectively (rather than retrospectively with knowledge of the stroke on the CT scan that was misread), the providers were appropriate in their diagnosis and plan. The defense also argued that no treatment, including a decompressive hemicraniectomy, would have prevented the death. The survivors included the surviving spouse and 6 children. Plaintiff asked the jury to award 10 million dollars in damages. After 2 hours of deliberation, returned a verdict finding all three health care providers not negligent and a full defense verdict in their favor.

Gregory Glasser and Mario Gomez Obtained a Summary Judgment in a Wrongful Death Case. Jason Azzarone Successfully Argues for Affirmance to the Fourth District Court of Appeal

Gregory Glasser and Mario Gomez Obtained a Summary Judgment in a Wrongful Death Case. Jason Azzarone Successfully Argues for Affirmance to the Fourth District Court of Appeal

Gregory Glasser and Mario Gomez obtained Summary Judgment in a wrongful death case where the firm represented a Home Health Aide company. On the morning of the tragic incident, the daughter of the man for whom our client was providing services asked our home health aide to drive the father to an event. It was claimed that our aide agreed to do the driving. The father chose to drive, with the aide as a passenger. The two were involved in a motor vehicle accident which resulted in the father’s death.

The two surviving daughters brought multiple claims against the home health aide and her employer. A counterclaim against the Plaintiffs was filed asserting the enforceability of an exculpatory provision and a hold-harmless agreement. The trial court granted our Motion for Summary Judgment, finding that our clients owed no duty to prevent the father from driving his car, and that our clients’ counterclaims for the exculpatory and hold harmless provisions were valid.

The Estate appealed the Trial Court’s decision to the Fourth District Court of Appeal. On appeal, the Estate argued that the trial court erroneously granted the motion for summary judgment because the Health Aide company owed a duty to the decedent to not allow him to drive. The Estate also argued that the decedent was not competent to enter into contracts for home health services, and that the decedent’s family was a party to any contracts that were entered and therefore, could not direct his care. Following oral argument, the Fourth District Court of Appeal entered a Per Curiam Affirmance.

The Home Health Aide company is currently pursuing recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs based upon our counterclaim and strategic Proposals for Settlement served early in the case.