CVN cameras have been on hand for headline-making trials coast-to-coast the last several weeks, from bellwether trials involving the NCAA to massive medical malpractice claims. As the year draws to a close, check out critical moments in a few of the biggest trials we’ve covered recently.
NCAA Prevails in Bellwether Trial Over Ex-Football Player’s Head Injuries
In the first trial of its kind to reach a verdict, the NCAA prevailed in a suit claiming it failed to do enough to protect a student athlete from head injuries. Matthew Gee, who played football for the University of Southern California in the 1990s, died in 2018. His wife contended the NCAA was responsible because of Gee's chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease brought about by repeated blows to the head.
But the NCAA contended Gee died because of substance abuse and a variety of medical conditions unrelated to his football career. In closings, Orrick’s Will Stute laid out four points he said proved the NCAA was not liable.
“The NCAA is a sports association. It’s not a medical body.”
In October, jurors in Georgia handed down a $75 million verdict against a pair of doctors after finding them responsible for the locked-in syndrome paralysis one of their patients, Matthew Buckelew, suffered, while the jury cleared other medical providers who treated him.
Buckelew's attorneys contended critical delays in diagnosis and care of a stroke caused Buckelew’s paralysis. In closings of the 14-day trial, one of Buckelew’s attorneys, Shamp Silk’s Laura Shamp, outlined the miscommunication she said led to the catastrophic result.
"The conversations [between medical providers that] you heard evidence about lasted one minute, two minutes, 30 seconds. This critical information… was communicated in seconds when there was a person that everyone acknowledges was very sick.”
But Paul Weathington, of Weathington Attorneys at Law, representing a neurologist cleared in the case, argued in closings that his client was only brought into the suit because of an inaccurate change to a medical record made by a co-defendant.
“We’re in this case, folks, for one reason. Because this note got changed. That’s the only reason we’re in this case.”
Hospital Cleared in Bellwether Trial Over Alleged Use of Counterfeit Spinal Implants
Jurors returned a defense verdict for a hospital accused of using knockoff versions of spinal surgical implants, in the first case out of hundreds to go to trial. The plaintiff argued the hospital committed gross negligence in using counterfeit spinal surgical implants that left her in chronic pain and required removal.
But in arguing that the hospital was not responsible, Richard Carroll, of Carroll Kelly Trotter & Franzen, showed signatures he said proved the plaintiff had given her fully-informed consent to the procedure.
“She had the consent forms. Both of them.”
Iowa Jury Hands Down $27M Med Mal Verdict Over Delayed Meningitis Diagnosis
Jurors in Iowa last month awarded $27 million to a man who suffered brain damage following a bout of bacterial meningitis. The plaintiff contended that a physician assistant with defendant UnityPoint misdiagnosed him with the flu and failed to follow appropriate standards of care, which led to a delay in diagnosing his meningitis.
In closings, Nick Rowley, of Trial Lawyers for Justice, argued the physician assistant did not do enough in her care.
“That’s what it’s all about: it’s about thinking what’s going to happen to this patient… if I let this patient go out with this serious infection.”
A Florida woman received a $68.6 million medical malpractice verdict for the catastrophic brain damage she suffered from a sodium imbalance. Jurors apportioned liability among four critical care physicians who treated Miranda Crohan, with 98% of responsibility apportioned to two of the doctors.
In openings, Crohan’s attorney, Trentalange & Kelley’s Michael Trentalange, walked jurors through a timeline of Crohan’s care at the hospital, and said evidence showed Crohan’s sodium imbalance was negligently overcorrected, setting in motion her profound brain damage.
"They violated the rule very, very severely by raising the sodium that much in that period of time.”
Walmart Prevails in Florida Slip-and-Fall Trial
Walmart was cleared of responsibility for the back injuries a Florida woman says she suffered in a fall at one of the retail giant’s stores.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys contended the woman slipped on water that accumulated from wet umbrellas brought into the store. However, Walmart’s attorney, Simon Reed & Salazar’s Gregory Reed, argued in closings that there was insufficient evidence to support that claim.
“There wasn’t any water there. There wasn’t any water there.”
A jury in California handed down a $33.8 million verdict for a man who was fatally struck with a shovel during an altercation with workers for the City of Victorville.
During closings of the trial, in which the defendant city stipulated to liability, The Homampour Law Firm’s Arash Homampour asked jurors to consider the value of a father’s love to his children.
“The value of a man, the value of a father, the value of a father-daughter relationship, is not dictated by how much money they have. Do you know why? You can’t hug a paycheck. You can’t kiss a paycheck.”
Texas Jury Returns $10M Medical Malpractice Verdict at Trial Over Patient’s Paralysis
Earlier this month, a Texas jury awarded $10 million for the paralysis a woman suffered following bleeding around her spine. During closings of the trial, her attorney, Chris Carr, of Lyons & Simmons, argued evidence showed the hospital violated multiple policies and critically delayed treatment.
“Wouldn’t you expect a hospital, and the emergency room of all places, to follow its policies and procedures?”
Email Arlin Crisco at email@example.com.
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