Steven L. Brown represented Judie Fritz, a retired nurse, who had a permanent sciatic nerve injury caused by the negligence of Dr. Michael Oberto, an orthopedist, during the performance of a total left hip replacement surgery. She had what is called a “total foot drop,” as a result of the negligence. Despite dictating in his Operative Note that he found the self-retaining surgical retractor “impaling” the sciatic nerve during the course of the surgery, he maintained that the retractor migrated onto the nerve during the surgery. Mr. Brown was able to successfully convince the jury that Dr. Oberto placed the retractor on the sciatic nerve at the start of the surgery and it remained there for the duration of the surgery, compressing the sciatic nerve and permanently destroying 50% of the nerve. In essence, Ms. Fritz had no ability to dorsiflex or evert her left foot, which prevented her from walking. Dr. Peter Cassini likened it to trying to walk in a ski boot. Expert testimony established that she was at an increased risk of falling, which she had done several times prior to trial. She also could no longer drive and was limited in what she could do in her activities of daily living, given that she had a pre-existing palsy on the other side. Defendants hired a well-known orthopedist who on cross-examination did not agree with defendant’s theory of how the damage occurred. Plaintiffs used a Stanford orthopedic hip specialist and a Stanford neurologist in obtaining this favorable verdict.
Trial and Settlement Results
In October, 2012 a jury in the Eastern Disctrict of California (Sacramento) returned an approximately $800,000 verdict in favor of the surviving mother of a 23 year-old son who was struck while walking down Donner Pass Road in Truckee by a drunk driver. Brown & Gessell represented Mrs. Matamoros in a two week trial before Federal District Court Judge John Mendez. Doug Gessell and Steve Brown co-tried the case that featured experts in accident reconstruction and toxicology.
In April, 2012, A Yolo County Jury returned a medical malpractice verdict on behalf of Moises Garcia against Yolo County General Surgeon, Emery Chen, M.D.
WIDOW V. HOSPITAL, et al. (Northern California)
The client's husband underwent a total knee replacement, the same surgery that he had undergone four months earlier. Immediately after the surgery, the nurses placed him on a PCA (Patient Controlled Anesthesia) machine that would allow him to self-administer Dilaudid, a pain killer eight times as potent as morphine. The PCA machine is designed to respond to the patient's perceived pain levels, but to ensure safety, nurses must set a ceiling on the total amount of medicine that the patient can administer with each push of the PCA button and the total within a specific time-frame. This is intended to ultimately prevent overdoses and even death.
A father and husband suffered catastrophic injures, including massive injuries to his internal organs, internal bleeding and double retinal blindness, when a large wood recycling machine crushed him while he was cleaning the machine at the end of a work day. The machine was a large sifting machine that was manufactured by a foreign company. The manufacturer's design defect allowed the machine, when the engine was off and locked out, to still lower the huge sifting bed. This occurred when an unguarded lever was triggered.
A woman was standing on the sidewalk in front of a grocery store waiting to speak with an employee of the store. A few minutes later, the employee drove to the front of the store and lost control of his car. The employee drove the car onto the sidewalk and over the top of the woman. The employee’s car dragged the woman for several feet as she was trapped beneath the vehicle. Several people, including the woman’s husband, had to lift the vehicle to free her from beneath the car. The accident resulted in severe injury to the woman including several fractures to her pelvis and a collapsed lung.