$10,200,000

Brain Injury

Personal Injuries: Severe personal injuries, including traumatic cerebral palsy with spastic quadriparesis, gastrostomy tube; shortened life expectancy; loss of parental society

Amount of Settlement: $10,200,000.00

Date of Settlement: Settled at mediation

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone, Boston, Massachusetts

Mediator: John Fitzgerald, Esquire

Other Useful Information

The previously healthy ten month old plaintiff developed febrile seizures associated with a high fever.  The parents called 911 to request an ambulance at their home.  The 911 operator dispatched an ambulance as well as two local police cruisers.  The ambulance got lost on its way to the home resulting in a thirteen minute delay in the response time.  During that time, police from the town were at the home attempting to provide directions to the ambulance crew, which declined assistance.

Once at the home, the ambulance crew nonchalantly attended to the child who was suffering continuous seizures.  On assessment, the child was noted to be hypoxic with a blood oxygen saturation of 78%.  The ambulance team loaded the child into the ambulance and departed for the hospital.  En route, the crew received an order from the medical control officer at the hospital to give the child Valium to control her seizures and reestablish proper breathing.  The paramedic realized at that point that he had forgotten the key to the locked narcotics cabinet and therefore could not gain access to the necessary medication.  A second ambulance was dispatched to the original ambulance’s station to pick up the narcotics key and intercept the first team en route to the hospital.  There was an additional ten minute delay in the administration of Valium as a result of the forgotten key to the narcotics cabinet.  By the time the child arrived at the hospital, she had been oxygen deprived for approximately forty minutes.  She was eventually diagnosed with profound brain injury.

The minor plaintiff, who is presently five years old, is a spastic quadriplegic who is wheelchair bound and fed by a gastrostomy tube.  She cannot communicate and dependent on others for all of her needs.

In discovery, it was determined that the negligent paramedic who prepared the ambulance run report had allegedly falsified a number of important items in the report, including the times of administration of medication as well as numerous vital signs.

The defendant claimed that any delay in the administration of seizure control medication did not change the outcome.  They further contended that the minor plaintiff’s seizures were so severe that they could not be controlled in the pre-hospital setting.  Defendant also argued that the minor plaintiff’s life expectancy was significantly less than the 55 year life expectancy which the plaintiffs claimed and that the cost of care of the minor plaintiff was significantly less than what the plaintiffs claimed.

Claims for the severe personal injuries were brought on behalf of the minor plaintiff and her parents for the medical malpractice of the ambulance attendants against the ambulance company only pursuant to G.L. c. 111, § 14. The law prohibits claims against emergency medical technicians individually but permits claims against the employer who may be held vicariously liable for the negligence of its employees.

This EMT malpractice case settled following two days of mediation in the capable hands of Boston attorney, John Fitzgerald.

Details

$7,500,000

Propane Gas Explosion

Injuries: Severe explosion injuries – second and third degree burns over 80% of body, 97 minutes of conscience pain and suffering. Punitive damages.

Judge or Jury: Settled at mediation

Recovery: $7,500,000

Special Damages: $63,000

Plaintiffs’ Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Mediator: Paul Finn Commonwealth Mediation

Other Useful Information

On July 30, 2010, plaintiff’s decedent, a 48-year-old single electrician was working in the basement of a newly constructed duplex when the house exploded due to a propane leak. Decedent was trapped under burning debris for 97 minutes with severe burns over 80% of his body and major crush injuries to his head and chest. Four firefighters, who toiled to rescue him testified at depositions regarding his awareness of his dire situation. He begged firefighters to not leave him there to die. He cried out in agony as fires burned his legs. He asked firefighters to say good-bye to his fiancé and family members. He struggled to keep his head above the flooding basement water to avoid drowning. He was eventually removed alive and awake from the burning debris and transported by med flight to a Boston hospital where he died 6 hours later.

Investigation into the cause of the explosion revealed that a loose fitting on a pipe leading into the furnace allowed propane to leak into the basement. Plaintiff’s decedent had worked in the basement for almost 4 hours that morning without detecting the odor of propane. Several other workers had walked in and out of the basement without detecting an odor. Testing of gas samples 2 weeks post-explosion revealed that the chemical odorant which had been added to the propane to give it its distinctive “rotten eggs” odor, had faded from the gas. This phenomenon known as “odorant fade” has been well known in the propane industry since the 1950’s. It occurs when the chemical odorant interacts with rust or moisture on the inside of newly installed propane storage tanks. Precautions to avoid odor fade were stated on the propane storage tank warning label.

Plaintiff filed suit against the propane marketer and the plumbing company responsible for the leak. The theory against the propane company was that it violated the storage tank manufacturer’s warnings about filling the newly installed tank to its maximum liquid level to avoid the problem of odor and fade by filling the tank to only 20% capacity 3 months before the propane explosion. Plaintiff claimed the defendant knew or should have known that this would greatly increase the risk of odor fade which would endanger workers at the site in the event of a gas leak which would become undetectable. Plaintiff sued the plumbing subcontractor for failing to tighten the union which caused the leak to occur.

Plaintiff also brought a claim for gross negligence and punitive damages based on the reckless disregard shown by the defendant propane company for industry safety standards and for the safety warnings on the tank regarding preventing odor fade.

Shortly after Plaintiff filed suit, suits were filed by other injury and subrogation plaintiffs. All seven cases were consolidated for discovery. The court entered a scheduling order that required completion of discovery within a relatively short time frame. Over the next year, counsel for the eleven parties in the case took 47 depositions, most of which lasted all day.

Late in discovery, Plaintiff learned that the propane company had sold its assets for $68,000,000.00 to a publicly traded energy company in order to avoid exposure for punitive damages. Plaintiff obtained a temporary restraining order, then an injunction to prevent defendant from dissipating the cash proceeds of the asset sale until the conclusion of the case.

Plaintiff, along with two other seriously injured plaintiffs, agreed to mediate the case with Paul Finn of Commonwealth Mediation. The three plaintiffs settled the case in a global settlement. Plaintiff’s portion of the settlement was $7,500,000.

Details

$7,500,000

Brain Injury

Personal Injuries: Severe brain damage from anoxia, spastic quadraplegia, permanent and total disability, caused by medical malpractice during anesthesia and post-anesthesia care

Amount of Settlement: $7,500,000

Special Damages: Past Medical expenses: $650,000

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Marc L. Breakstone and David W. White, Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Suffolk Superior Court; Settled immediately prior to jury selection

Judge: Hon. Catherine White

Other Useful Information

On January 17, 2001, the minor plaintiff was a healthy five-week old baby, who underwent elective surgical repair of an umbilical hernia at the Columbia MetroWest Medical Center. At the beginning of the anesthesia case, the baby experienced a complication which caused aspiration of blood and diminished breathing capacity. This was evidenced by rapid respiration rate, the need for supplemental oxygen, and a chest x-ray at which demonstrated bilateral pulmonary infiltrates.

Plaintiffs contended that the treating anesthesiologist abandoned the baby in the recovery room for a period of hours. During this time, the recovery room nurse gave the baby a water bottle, in violation of a doctor’s order for nothing by mouth, which caused the baby to choke, gag, and spit up blood, worsening her complications.

After the baby turned blue and became unresponsive, the recovery room nurse had to summon help from the emergency department, since the anesthesiologists responsible for the baby, including one of the defendant physicians, were not responding to her call. The emergency room physician stabilized the baby by having her intubated, and she arranged a transfer of the baby to Children’s Hospital in Boston.

Several hours later, a transport team arrived consisting of a nurse, an anesthesiology fellow (one of the defendants), and a pediatric resident (another of the defendants). An x-ray taken at that time demonstrated that the tip of endotracheal tube was located dangerously low in the trachea, close to the tracheal bifurcation.

Following intubation, the baby was stable and her oxygen saturation levels were around 100%. However, when the baby was moved by the transport team from the Columbia MetroWest bed to the transport team stretcher, her oxygen saturation levels plummeted and she suffered cardiac arrest.

When an intubated patient suffers sudden diminished oxygen saturations, the Pediatric Advanced Life Support protocols, require checking the position of the endotracheal (ET) tube. Tube assessment is made by visualization of the tube between the vocal cords, by listening with a stethoscope for breath sounds, and by observing chest movement during ventilation.

Instead of checking the position of the tube, the defendant anesthesia fellow from Children’s Hospital squeezed the resuscitation bag with excessive pressure, which caused air to leak from the baby’s lungs into the chest cavity, and then into the sac which surrounds the heart. The presence of air around the heart caused the heart to stop beating. During the approximately 45 minute arrest, the chief of the anesthesia department at the Columbia Hospital did little to assist in the resuscitation effort, despite his duty to do so under the hospital policy manual.

The pneumopericardium (air around the heart) and the right mainstem intubation were both evident on the first post-code x-ray taken eleven minutes into the arrest. The air was removed by another doctor who had come down from the emergency department. (This physician was initially named as a defendant, but was dismissed shortly before trial.) However, the tube position was not addressed until over one hour after the Code Blue began.

After the baby was transferred to Children’s Hospital, there were no further problems maintaining proper oxygenation and blood gasses. However, the plaintiff was left with severe personal injuries, including anoxic ischemic brain damage, resulting in spastic quadraparesis.

The parents of the minor plaintiff were Guatemalan immigrants who had not graduated from high school and who spoke little English. They both worked, on opposite shifts, and took care of their baby at home, despite the overwhelming demands of her care.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers conducted extensive pre-trial discovery, including approximately fifty depositions, since many of the defendants were blaming others for the baby’s severe personal injuries.

The case settled in several stages. The first settlement was reached with the attending anesthesiologist, who paid the limits of his $1 million policy. The next settlement was with Columbia Hospital. Theories of liability against Columbia included the negligence of the recovery room nurse, the negligence of the anesthesiologists, who were not employees, but who were, plaintiffs claimed, agents of the hospital. Columbia paid $4.5 million. The next settlement was with the Chairman of the Anesthesia Department, who paid $500,000. The final settlement, reached on the morning the case was called for trial, was with the anesthesia fellow on the transport team from Children’s Hospital. $1.5 million was paid on her behalf. The other claims, against the pediatric resident and the emergency room physician, were dismissed shortly before the scheduled trial date.

The case was aggressively defended. Daubert motions were brought to disqualify the experts selected by plaintiff’s attorneys on life expectancy, which was a hotly contested issue. The motions were denied. Shortly before trial plaintiffs moved to disqualify defense counsel from representing any non-party physician witnesses. This motion was allowed to the extent the attorneys had not represented them prior to the filing of the amended complaint.

This case was specially assigned to Regional Administrative Justice Catherine White. A trust was established for the management of the child’s funds, $2 million of which will be received through structured settlements.

Details

$7,100,000

Bus Accident

Injuries: Right leg amputation above-the-knee, severe phantom limb pain.

Amount of Judgment: $7,100,000

Special Damages: Medical expenses: approximately $180,000.00; lost earning capacity: approximately $40,000.00

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston

Date of Verdict: December 4, 2008

Other Useful Information

On September 13, 2005, plaintiff, aged 58, was crossing Washington Street in the South End in a crosswalk when she was struck by the left front corner of an MBTA bus. At the point of impact, plaintiff was approximately 28-feet across the four-lane street. She was crossing with a crossing signal. The MBTA bus came up from behind and to her right. The bus had a green light and was turning left across the crosswalk.

The left front corner of the bus struck plaintiff in the right rear and knocked her to the ground. The left front tire ran over plaintiff’s right upper thigh. Plaintiff was rushed to a local emergency department where her right lower extremity was amputated approximately eight inches below the hip.

Liability was disputed by defendant MBTA. Defendant claimed the plaintiff negligently failed to see or hear the bus before it struck her. At trial, defendant argued that other pedestrians had seen and/or heard the bus and retreated to the sidewalk, but that plaintiff continued in the crosswalk and walked into the side of the bus.

The only independent witness who testified at trial stated that upon hearing the impact of the bus on the pedestrian, the witness observed the driver looking to his right and speaking to a passenger as the bus as turning left. The bus driver testified at trial that he continually scanned the roadway, looking left, forward and right, but never saw plaintiff until after the impact. It was undisputed that plaintiff had been in the crosswalk for approximately nine seconds at the time she was hit. It was further undisputed that she was approximately halfway across Washington Street at that time.

The incident was investigated by the MBTA Transit Police. The driver was cited by the MBTA Transit Police for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

At trial, the driver admitted the accident was his fault. The MBTA liability expert admitted the accident was the driver’s fault. The MBTA Transit Police officer admitted that the accident was a result of the defendant driver’s failure to yield to plaintiff in the crosswalk, and the MBTA bus operations spokesperson admitted that the driver failed to adhere to MBTA bus training guidelines in the manner in which he executed the left-hand turn. Notwithstanding these admissions, the MBTA maintained throughout trial that the accident was the fault of plaintiff.

Following a two-week trial, the jury deliberated for two days and returned a verdict for plaintiff. The jury found the MBTA 100% at fault.

Defendant MBTA disputed the extent of plaintiff’s damages. Expert witnesses were presented on both sides with regard to the future life care needs of plaintiff. It was undisputed that plaintiff had twice been fitted for prosthetic limbs, but was unable to utilize the prosthetic limbs because of her severe phantom limb pain and stump pain. As a result, plaintiff will be restricted to a wheelchair for the remainder of her life. She will require personal care attendant assistance with all activities of daily living.

The MBTA filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied. The MBTA then appealed the case. The Appeals Court affirmed the judgment, and the MBTA sought further appellate review from the Supreme Judicial Court. That petition was also denied, resulting in a complete affirmation of the judgment.

The MBTA, in its appeals, sought to overturn the verdict, and to avoid pre-trial and post-trial interest. The MBTA argued that amendments to the state’s sovereign immunity law were retroactive, but the Appeals Court rejected that argument.

Details

$5,750,000

Brain Injury

Injuries: Severe brain damage due to negligent removal of central line and air embolization

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $5.75 million

Date: June 2015

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. – Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Mediator: Paul Finn Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc.

Other Useful Information

On January 6, 2014, the 35-year-old plaintiff was about to be discharged from the defendant’s hospital where he had recently undergone a successful bone marrow transplant for leukemia.  After his discharge papers were completed, a first-year resident removed plaintiff’s central venous catheter while plaintiff was seated upright on the edge of his bed.  The standard of care required the patient be placed supine while performing this procedure so as to reduce the chance of air embolus associated with the central line removal.

According to the hospital chart, within minutes of removing the central line, plaintiff became unresponsive and went into cardiac arrest.  He was down for five minutes before he was successfully resuscitated.

As a result, plaintiff suffered air emboli in the cerebral and pulmonary vessels, which resulted in diffuse bilateral brain injury due to anoxia.

Plaintiff remained an in-patient in the ICU for three months before he was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital for five months.

Plaintiff has been left with significant cognitive and physical impairment, which will render him totally disabled from his previous occupation as an architect.  Plaintiff was also an accomplished violinist who had performed in symphony orchestras in his home country.

The case settled at mediation pre-suit.

Details

$4,350,000

Construction Accident

Injuries: Multiple life-threatening injuries after a fall due to a defective railing.

Judge or Jury: Settled at mediation

Recovery: $4,350,000

Plaintiffs’ Counsel: David White – Boston, Massachusetts

Plaintiff, a 65-year old cooling tower engineer, suffered multiple life-threatening injuries when he fell from the top of a cooling tower as a result of a defective railing. The railing defect was the result of several years of abject neglect on the part of the property owner.

Our client owned and operated a cooling tower design, construction and maintenance company which serviced facilities throughout the country. One of his clients was an institution in eastern Massachusetts which operated approximately ten cooling towers located in two central locations. On the date of the incident he was asked by the utility operations personnel at the facility to check on an overflow situation at the top of one of the cooling towers.

The tower in question was approximately 25 years old. Fall protection at the top of the tower was provided by an OSHA-compliant metal railing. The railing was steel and the connectors at the mid-rail and top rail were made from aluminum. With the exception of two connectors, no repair or replacement had been conducted on the railing since its installation. The railing was so decrepit that over twenty of the thirty-five railing connectors were cracked or broken. Some were held together with tape. Another was held together with a radiator hose clamp.

The incident occurred when the plaintiff got on his knees to peek through the railing to assess the leakage. He leaned part of his body weight on the mid-rail, which immediately gave way; the connector with the hose clamp had fractured. He fell approximately 30 feet to the concrete rooftop below.

The plaintiff was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital where he spent the next six weeks in the intensive care unit. He had suffered multiple injuries, including skull fractures, intracranial bleeding, multiple leg fractures, and multiple hand and shoulder fractures. He also sustained a number of internal injuries. He underwent multiple surgical procedures, including operations to address the brain injury and bleeding, as well as to repair fractures and to close extensive skin wounds.

Plaintiff was transferred first to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital for approximately four weeks of in-patient treatment, then to outpatient treatment near his home. Treatment was intensive for the next year and continues even after three years. Plaintiff has undergone additional surgeries for hand and shoulder injuries.

Plaintiff returned to part-time work within a year of the incident, but his work capacity has been limited by his traumatic brain injury which affects him cognitively and physically. Plaintiff also suffers from permanent hearing loss in one ear, as well as a loss of sense of smell and taste. He is also impaired by his orthopedic injuries. The injuries were documented by a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, and an orthopedic surgeon. Claims were also brought for the plaintiff’s wife, who suffered a significant loss of her husband’s consortium. Their relationship has been burdened by his injuries and disability since the date of the accident.

Discovery revealed that no person at the institution, including the utility department which ran the cooling facilities, or the in-house safety department responsible for institution-wide safety assessments, had ever bothered to inspect the failing railing system. The utility department had no preventive maintenance program for inspection of the railings or other safety systems. The safety officer had never even inspected any of the rooftop cooling facilities, despite his specific job description calling for periodic assessments of the facilities. The safety department had no system in place to proactively ensure compliance with building codes or workplace safety regulations.

The matter was settled at mediation after two years of discovery confirmed the defendant’s failure to provide any inspection, maintenance or repair of the railing. The defendant has attempted to shift the blame to plaintiff’s cooling tower company, and is still pursuing its extremely weak indemnity claim. As of the time of the settlement of the bodily injury claims, the defendant had failed to point to anything other than conjecture and surmise in support of its allegations.

Plaintiff was covered by workers’ compensation for lost earnings and medical benefits. The worker’s compensation lien was deeply compromised.

This case was handled by attorney David W. White, who has over thirty years of handing premises liability, construction accident, and other personal injury cases.

Details

$3,750,000

Motorcycle Accident

Injuries: Facial fractures, concussion, loss of vision in one eye

Court: Withheld

Attorney: Ronald E. Gluck, Esq. – Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C. Boston (For the plaintiff)

Settlement: $3,750,000

Date: February 2, 2012

Case Description

The 37 year old male plaintiff was operating a motorcycle and suffered major facial fractures, a concussion, blindness in one eye and orthopedic injuries when the defendant operating a company-owned Lexus, cut into plaintiff’s lane causing him to slam face first into the side of the Lexus. The plaintiff underwent two facial reconstruction surgeries following the motorcycle accident. He was left with no facial disfigurement with the exception of a small scar near his lip. However, in the course of one of the facial reconstruction surgeries, plaintiff’s left optic nerve was damaged, causing legal blindness in that eye.

Despite his eye injury plaintiff is able to drive and engage in most of his usual activities of daily living as it relates to his vision.  However, plaintiff is limited in some of his activities of daily living due to ongoing pain related to his orthopedic injuries suffered in the collision.

At the outset of the litigation the defendant driver denied that she was at fault or that she her driving was a substantial contributing cause of the collision.  During the defendant’s deposition, however, it was established that the defendant crossed over three lanes of traffic without giving any warning that she intended to do so and that she cut off the plaintiff who was riding his motorcycle below the speed limit squarely in his lane of traffic.  The defendant’s claim that she was not at fault was proven to be false.

The plaintiff, a high school graduate, had risen to become a network engineer and was earning approximately $95,000 per year at the time of the motor vehicle collision. While plaintiff is unable to return to work as a network engineer due to his injuries, it is likely that he will be able to work in some capacity. The degree of his loss of earning capacity was disputed by the parties.

As a result of his concussion, plaintiff was diagnosed with mild cognitive deficits by his neuropsychologist. This diagnosis was disputed by defendant’s expert who was prepared to testify that while plaintiff suffered serious injuries, there was no evidence that he suffered from any cognitive deficits.

In addition to the surgeries which he underwent to repair the facial fractures, plaintiff also underwent arthroscopic surgeries on his shoulder for a torn labrum and his ankle for nerve pain which persisted following the motorcycle accident. Plaintiff also suffered from depression resulting from his inability to resume his career and to engage in recreational activities such as ATV riding and playing basketball. Plaintiff is able to exercise at a gym, live independently, do household chores such as minor yard work, cleaning and cooking and care for his daily needs.

The motorcycle accident case settled at the end of a full day mediation which took place two weeks before the scheduled trial date.

Details

$3,500,000

Motorcycle Accident

Injuries: Severe head and chest trauma resulting in death

Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $3.5 million

Date: March 2016

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. – Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Mediator: Brian J. Mone Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc.

Other Useful Information

On June 22, 2013, 56-year-old plaintiff was riding his motorcycle in West Bridgewater, when a waste disposal truck owned by defendant, and operated by a subcontractor, pulled out across the road into the path of plaintiff. Plaintiff applied the brakes and laid the motorcycle down in an attempt to avoid the collision. His motorcycle struck the side of defendant’s truck at less than 5 mph.

Unfortunately, after he put the bike down, he continued to roll under the truck. The driver did not see plaintiff in time to stop the truck. As a result, the truck rear tires ran over his head and chest, killing him.

The driver of defendant’s vehicle was a welder for a company that had been hired by defendant to repair the truck. The driver had a “Z’ restriction on his license, which prohibited him from operating any vehicles that did not have a breathalyzer interlock on the ignition. The truck in question did not have such an interlock. As a result, the driver was charged

The decedent was the owner of a custom machine shop. He left his wife of 36 years, three adult daughters, and several grandchildren. There were no special damages, as he died at the scene.

The case settled after a second day of mediation with Attorney Brian J. Mone of CMCI.

Details

$3,000,000

Wrongful Death

Injuries: Ovarian cancer, pain and suffering, wrongful death

Amount of Award: $3,000,000

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Middlesex Superior Court

Details of the Case

Plaintiff first visited defendant gynecologist in February 1999 when she was 44 years old.  She informed him that she had a strong family history of breast cancer (mother, cousin at age 28, and grandmother) and ovarian cancer (grandmother and possibly mother).  Plaintiff herself was diagnosed with an early stage of breast cancer in January 2000.  Her sister was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 1999.  It was recommended that plaintiff receive regular surveillance for breast and ovarian cancer, which she did.

On at least three visits with defendant gynecologist between February 1999 and August 2001, plaintiff expressed a desire to have her ovaries removed to avoid the risk of developing ovarian cancer.  The defendant repeatedly advised against prophylactic oophorectomy because he felt the risk of premature menopause outweighed the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

On October 30, 2000, defendant brought the plaintiff to the operating room for an unrelated pelvic procedure.  In order to alleviate plaintiff’s fears of ovarian cancer, he told the plaintiff he would visually inspect her ovaries during the procedure.  After the procedure, he reported that her ovaries looked normal.

In January 2002, plaintiff presented at defendant’s office with complaints of pelvic pain.  Subsequent ultrasound revealed advanced ovarian cancer.  Plaintiff underwent major debulking surgery and extensive chemotherapy.  She was diagnosed with Stage IIIC ovarian cancer and her chance of five-year survival was less than 12%.

Plaintiffs filed a Daubert Motion to exclude defendant’s gynecological pathology expert who was prepared to testify that plaintiff had fallopian tube cancer, not ovarian cancer, that she had advanced cancer prior to her first visit with defendant in 1999, and that removal of ovaries would not have made a difference in her outcome.

When the parties could not get a trial date, they agreed to arbitrate the case and to have the Daubert Motion decided by a separate arbitrator.  Plaintiff deposed defendant’s gynecologic pathologist expert over two days during which the expert could not point to a single report in the medical literature to support his belief that the plaintiff already had advanced ovarian cancer prior to her first visit with the defendant.  During the arbitration of the Daubert Motion, the arbitrator repeatedly asked defendant’s expert to explain the scientific basis for his opinion that the plaintiff had advanced ovarian cancer prior to 1999; the defense expert could not do so and the arbitrator allowed plaintiffs’ Daubert motion, thereby excluding his testimony.

The arbitrator determined that based on plaintiff’s family history, defendant knew or should have known that plaintiff was a likely carrier of a genetic mutation putting her at an exceedingly high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer and therefore prophylactic oophorectomy was indicated.  The arbitrator awarded $2,500,000.00, but did not award damages for plaintiffs’ claim for anticipatory wrongful death.  The parties subsequently settled the future wrongful death claim for $500.000.00.

Choosing a Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice cases are complex and difficult, and may take a long time to resolve. If you suspect your doctor failed to diagnose or treat your cancer properly, or to treat you in a way to prevent cancer, please review our page on failure to treat and diagnose cancer. It is important to choose a malpractice attorney carefully. Our Choosing a Lawyer page answers many questions you may have about choosing an experienced Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney for your case.

Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Practice Areas

Find out more about the kinds of medical malpractice cases which the attorneys at our firm handle on our page on Personal Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice.

If you feel you have a medical malpractice case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights, as Massachusetts has strict statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases. Please call us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form.

Details

$3,000,000

Truck Accident

Case information not available.
Details

$10,200,000

Brain Injury

Personal Injuries: Severe personal injuries, including traumatic cerebral palsy with spastic quadriparesis, gastrostomy tube; shortened life expectancy; loss of parental society

Amount of Settlement: $10,200,000.00

Date of Settlement: Settled at mediation

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone, Boston, Massachusetts

Mediator: John Fitzgerald, Esquire

Other Useful Information

The previously healthy ten month old plaintiff developed febrile seizures associated with a high fever.  The parents called 911 to request an ambulance at their home.  The 911 operator dispatched an ambulance as well as two local police cruisers.  The ambulance got lost on its way to the home resulting in a thirteen minute delay in the response time.  During that time, police from the town were at the home attempting to provide directions to the ambulance crew, which declined assistance.

Once at the home, the ambulance crew nonchalantly attended to the child who was suffering continuous seizures.  On assessment, the child was noted to be hypoxic with a blood oxygen saturation of 78%.  The ambulance team loaded the child into the ambulance and departed for the hospital.  En route, the crew received an order from the medical control officer at the hospital to give the child Valium to control her seizures and reestablish proper breathing.  The paramedic realized at that point that he had forgotten the key to the locked narcotics cabinet and therefore could not gain access to the necessary medication.  A second ambulance was dispatched to the original ambulance’s station to pick up the narcotics key and intercept the first team en route to the hospital.  There was an additional ten minute delay in the administration of Valium as a result of the forgotten key to the narcotics cabinet.  By the time the child arrived at the hospital, she had been oxygen deprived for approximately forty minutes.  She was eventually diagnosed with profound brain injury.

The minor plaintiff, who is presently five years old, is a spastic quadriplegic who is wheelchair bound and fed by a gastrostomy tube.  She cannot communicate and dependent on others for all of her needs.

In discovery, it was determined that the negligent paramedic who prepared the ambulance run report had allegedly falsified a number of important items in the report, including the times of administration of medication as well as numerous vital signs.

The defendant claimed that any delay in the administration of seizure control medication did not change the outcome.  They further contended that the minor plaintiff’s seizures were so severe that they could not be controlled in the pre-hospital setting.  Defendant also argued that the minor plaintiff’s life expectancy was significantly less than the 55 year life expectancy which the plaintiffs claimed and that the cost of care of the minor plaintiff was significantly less than what the plaintiffs claimed.

Claims for the severe personal injuries were brought on behalf of the minor plaintiff and her parents for the medical malpractice of the ambulance attendants against the ambulance company only pursuant to G.L. c. 111, § 14. The law prohibits claims against emergency medical technicians individually but permits claims against the employer who may be held vicariously liable for the negligence of its employees.

This EMT malpractice case settled following two days of mediation in the capable hands of Boston attorney, John Fitzgerald.

Details

$7,500,000

Brain Injury

Personal Injuries: Severe brain damage from anoxia, spastic quadraplegia, permanent and total disability, caused by medical malpractice during anesthesia and post-anesthesia care

Amount of Settlement: $7,500,000

Special Damages: Past Medical expenses: $650,000

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Marc L. Breakstone and David W. White, Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Suffolk Superior Court; Settled immediately prior to jury selection

Judge: Hon. Catherine White

Other Useful Information

On January 17, 2001, the minor plaintiff was a healthy five-week old baby, who underwent elective surgical repair of an umbilical hernia at the Columbia MetroWest Medical Center. At the beginning of the anesthesia case, the baby experienced a complication which caused aspiration of blood and diminished breathing capacity. This was evidenced by rapid respiration rate, the need for supplemental oxygen, and a chest x-ray at which demonstrated bilateral pulmonary infiltrates.

Plaintiffs contended that the treating anesthesiologist abandoned the baby in the recovery room for a period of hours. During this time, the recovery room nurse gave the baby a water bottle, in violation of a doctor’s order for nothing by mouth, which caused the baby to choke, gag, and spit up blood, worsening her complications.

After the baby turned blue and became unresponsive, the recovery room nurse had to summon help from the emergency department, since the anesthesiologists responsible for the baby, including one of the defendant physicians, were not responding to her call. The emergency room physician stabilized the baby by having her intubated, and she arranged a transfer of the baby to Children’s Hospital in Boston.

Several hours later, a transport team arrived consisting of a nurse, an anesthesiology fellow (one of the defendants), and a pediatric resident (another of the defendants). An x-ray taken at that time demonstrated that the tip of endotracheal tube was located dangerously low in the trachea, close to the tracheal bifurcation.

Following intubation, the baby was stable and her oxygen saturation levels were around 100%. However, when the baby was moved by the transport team from the Columbia MetroWest bed to the transport team stretcher, her oxygen saturation levels plummeted and she suffered cardiac arrest.

When an intubated patient suffers sudden diminished oxygen saturations, the Pediatric Advanced Life Support protocols, require checking the position of the endotracheal (ET) tube. Tube assessment is made by visualization of the tube between the vocal cords, by listening with a stethoscope for breath sounds, and by observing chest movement during ventilation.

Instead of checking the position of the tube, the defendant anesthesia fellow from Children’s Hospital squeezed the resuscitation bag with excessive pressure, which caused air to leak from the baby’s lungs into the chest cavity, and then into the sac which surrounds the heart. The presence of air around the heart caused the heart to stop beating. During the approximately 45 minute arrest, the chief of the anesthesia department at the Columbia Hospital did little to assist in the resuscitation effort, despite his duty to do so under the hospital policy manual.

The pneumopericardium (air around the heart) and the right mainstem intubation were both evident on the first post-code x-ray taken eleven minutes into the arrest. The air was removed by another doctor who had come down from the emergency department. (This physician was initially named as a defendant, but was dismissed shortly before trial.) However, the tube position was not addressed until over one hour after the Code Blue began.

After the baby was transferred to Children’s Hospital, there were no further problems maintaining proper oxygenation and blood gasses. However, the plaintiff was left with severe personal injuries, including anoxic ischemic brain damage, resulting in spastic quadraparesis.

The parents of the minor plaintiff were Guatemalan immigrants who had not graduated from high school and who spoke little English. They both worked, on opposite shifts, and took care of their baby at home, despite the overwhelming demands of her care.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers conducted extensive pre-trial discovery, including approximately fifty depositions, since many of the defendants were blaming others for the baby’s severe personal injuries.

The case settled in several stages. The first settlement was reached with the attending anesthesiologist, who paid the limits of his $1 million policy. The next settlement was with Columbia Hospital. Theories of liability against Columbia included the negligence of the recovery room nurse, the negligence of the anesthesiologists, who were not employees, but who were, plaintiffs claimed, agents of the hospital. Columbia paid $4.5 million. The next settlement was with the Chairman of the Anesthesia Department, who paid $500,000. The final settlement, reached on the morning the case was called for trial, was with the anesthesia fellow on the transport team from Children’s Hospital. $1.5 million was paid on her behalf. The other claims, against the pediatric resident and the emergency room physician, were dismissed shortly before the scheduled trial date.

The case was aggressively defended. Daubert motions were brought to disqualify the experts selected by plaintiff’s attorneys on life expectancy, which was a hotly contested issue. The motions were denied. Shortly before trial plaintiffs moved to disqualify defense counsel from representing any non-party physician witnesses. This motion was allowed to the extent the attorneys had not represented them prior to the filing of the amended complaint.

This case was specially assigned to Regional Administrative Justice Catherine White. A trust was established for the management of the child’s funds, $2 million of which will be received through structured settlements.

Details

$5,750,000

Brain Injury

Injuries: Severe brain damage due to negligent removal of central line and air embolization

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $5.75 million

Date: June 2015

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. – Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Mediator: Paul Finn Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc.

Other Useful Information

On January 6, 2014, the 35-year-old plaintiff was about to be discharged from the defendant’s hospital where he had recently undergone a successful bone marrow transplant for leukemia.  After his discharge papers were completed, a first-year resident removed plaintiff’s central venous catheter while plaintiff was seated upright on the edge of his bed.  The standard of care required the patient be placed supine while performing this procedure so as to reduce the chance of air embolus associated with the central line removal.

According to the hospital chart, within minutes of removing the central line, plaintiff became unresponsive and went into cardiac arrest.  He was down for five minutes before he was successfully resuscitated.

As a result, plaintiff suffered air emboli in the cerebral and pulmonary vessels, which resulted in diffuse bilateral brain injury due to anoxia.

Plaintiff remained an in-patient in the ICU for three months before he was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital for five months.

Plaintiff has been left with significant cognitive and physical impairment, which will render him totally disabled from his previous occupation as an architect.  Plaintiff was also an accomplished violinist who had performed in symphony orchestras in his home country.

The case settled at mediation pre-suit.

Details

$3,750,000

Motorcycle Accident

Injuries: Facial fractures, concussion, loss of vision in one eye

Court: Withheld

Attorney: Ronald E. Gluck, Esq. – Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C. Boston (For the plaintiff)

Settlement: $3,750,000

Date: February 2, 2012

Case Description

The 37 year old male plaintiff was operating a motorcycle and suffered major facial fractures, a concussion, blindness in one eye and orthopedic injuries when the defendant operating a company-owned Lexus, cut into plaintiff’s lane causing him to slam face first into the side of the Lexus. The plaintiff underwent two facial reconstruction surgeries following the motorcycle accident. He was left with no facial disfigurement with the exception of a small scar near his lip. However, in the course of one of the facial reconstruction surgeries, plaintiff’s left optic nerve was damaged, causing legal blindness in that eye.

Despite his eye injury plaintiff is able to drive and engage in most of his usual activities of daily living as it relates to his vision.  However, plaintiff is limited in some of his activities of daily living due to ongoing pain related to his orthopedic injuries suffered in the collision.

At the outset of the litigation the defendant driver denied that she was at fault or that she her driving was a substantial contributing cause of the collision.  During the defendant’s deposition, however, it was established that the defendant crossed over three lanes of traffic without giving any warning that she intended to do so and that she cut off the plaintiff who was riding his motorcycle below the speed limit squarely in his lane of traffic.  The defendant’s claim that she was not at fault was proven to be false.

The plaintiff, a high school graduate, had risen to become a network engineer and was earning approximately $95,000 per year at the time of the motor vehicle collision. While plaintiff is unable to return to work as a network engineer due to his injuries, it is likely that he will be able to work in some capacity. The degree of his loss of earning capacity was disputed by the parties.

As a result of his concussion, plaintiff was diagnosed with mild cognitive deficits by his neuropsychologist. This diagnosis was disputed by defendant’s expert who was prepared to testify that while plaintiff suffered serious injuries, there was no evidence that he suffered from any cognitive deficits.

In addition to the surgeries which he underwent to repair the facial fractures, plaintiff also underwent arthroscopic surgeries on his shoulder for a torn labrum and his ankle for nerve pain which persisted following the motorcycle accident. Plaintiff also suffered from depression resulting from his inability to resume his career and to engage in recreational activities such as ATV riding and playing basketball. Plaintiff is able to exercise at a gym, live independently, do household chores such as minor yard work, cleaning and cooking and care for his daily needs.

The motorcycle accident case settled at the end of a full day mediation which took place two weeks before the scheduled trial date.

Details

$2,040,000

Fatal Brain Injury

Injuries: Profound brain injury, persistent vegetative state, wrongful death

Amount of Award: $2,040,000

Date of Settlement: March 2007

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Suffolk Superior Court

Other Useful Information

The 72 year old victim suffered a profound brain injury during general anesthesia when the defendant attending anesthesiologist turned off the ventilator to suction the patient, but neglected to turn it back on when he reconnected the patient to the breathing circuit.  The attending anesthesiologist left the operating room to perform another procedure and left a first year resident anesthesiologist in charge.  During several minutes of deteriorating vital signs, the negligent defendant resident failed to appreciate that the ventilator had been turned off.  The doctor tried for several minutes to restore normal respirations, but failed.  Finally, the physician called for assistance and a third anesthesiologist came in and turned the ventilator back on.  Plaintiff was successfully resuscitated, but not before he suffered a profound hypoxic episode resulting in permanent brain damage.

As a result of this malpractice, the plaintiff remained comatose in a persistent vegetative state until his death, 19 months later.  He was survived by two dependent children.  Claims against the attending anesthesiologist, the resident, the nonprofit anesthesia group and the nonprofit hospital, were resolved for the full policy limits in the amount of $2,040,000.00.

Choosing a Massachusetts Anesthesia Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice cases from anesthesia negligence are complex and difficult, and may take a long time to resolve. It is important to choose a malpractice attorney carefully. Our Choosing a Lawyer page answers many questions you may have about choosing an experienced Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney for your case.

Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Practice Areas

Find out more about the kinds of medical malpractice cases which the attorneys at our firm handle on our page on Personal Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice.

If you feel you have a medical malpractice case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights, as Massachusetts has strict statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases. Please call us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form.

Details

$1,600,000

Post-Concussion Syndrome

NEGLIGENCE

Injuries: Concussion, Post-Concussion Syndrome

Settlement: $1.6 million two weeks before trial

Date: May, 2019

Attorney: Ronald E. Gluck, Esq. Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C., Boston (for the plaintiff)

Case Description:

College Student Suffers Concussion and Post-Concussion Syndrome

The 21 year old female college student suffered a concussion and post-concussion syndrome in March, 2014.  The injury occurred at an entertainment venue at which the plaintiff was a spectator.  Further details of this incident are withheld due to a confidentiality agreement.

At the scene of the incident the plaintiff suffered a laceration to her head and was taken by ambulance to the hospital where eight staples were used to close the gash.  She was discharged from the hospital on the evening of the incident.

At the time of the incident the plaintiff was a college student in the Boston area majoring in interior design, a career which requires significant use of computers to create CAD designs.  She hoped to return to school the day after the incident but due to symptoms of concussion she returned to her parent’s home and eventually withdrew from school for the rest of that semester.  She was restricted to a darkened room for two months due to light sensitivity from the concussion.  Use of computers increased her symptoms. Four months after the incident, she received permission from her neurologist to participate in a semester abroad program in Europe on the condition that she receive accommodations in her courses including extra time on tests, limited use of computers and a reduced course load.  The plaintiff successfully completed her semester abroad although the academic requirements were far less rigorous than those at her college in the United States.  While she was abroad the plaintiff traveled throughout Europe on multiple occasions but her activities while traveling were curtailed to prevent overstimulation and exhaustion that could result from her brain injury.

 

When the plaintiff returned from her semester abroad, she re-enrolled at her college with a reduced course load and achieved a GPA consistent with what she had obtained before the incident occurred.  However, she found the work exhausting.  As a result, she further reduced her course load for the next semester.  She again received the same level of grades but still found the work cognitively exhausting.  Use of computers continued to exacerbate her post- concussion symptoms and she suffered physical symptoms from her cognitive exhaustion. As a result, she withdrew from college altogether.

The plaintiff received consistent cognitive therapy, psyche therapy, and physical therapy and had regular visits to her neurologist who confirmed ongoing symptoms of concussion and post-concussion syndrome.

The plaintiff did not return to college due to her ongoing post- concussion syndrome.  In an effort to remain productive she worked part-time at the front desk of a fitness center  and discovered that she was able to work approximately four hours per day before she would become cognitively exhausted which would lead to symptoms of physical illness, including dizziness, vision changes, mood alteration, and significant headaches.  She settled into a 16 hour per week work schedule and ultimately became certified as a yoga instructor teaching one or two classes per week.

The plaintiff’s injuries resulted in her establishing a lifestyle that was different from the one she lived before the incident occurred. She became a person who went to bed by 9:00 in the evening. She limited her socializing in order to prevent the onset of physical symptoms that would inevitably occur if she overstimulated her brain.

The plaintiff was prepared to offer testimony from multiple experts leading to an overall expert presentation which concluded that the plaintiff was unable to return to her previous course of study and that as a result she would not receive a college degree which would result in a significant loss of earning capacity.

The defendant intended to present expert testimony from a neurologist whose opinion it was that although the plaintiff suffered a concussion, she fully recovered from her injury after three months and did not require additional medical treatment after that period of time.  Defendant’s vocational rehabilitation expert would have testified that plaintiff had no loss of earning capacity and was fully capable of graduating from college and working in her desired field.

The plaintiff continues to work part time at the fitness center as a yoga instructor and in an administrative capacity.  The case settled two weeks before trial for $1.6 million dollars.  Plaintiff’s medical expenses were $45,000.

Details

$1,375,000

Pedestrian Accident

Injuries: Multiple fractures, traumatic brain injury

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $1.375 million

Date: May 2016

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Mediator: Paul A. Finn Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc.

Other Useful Information

On August 12, 2014, the 77-year-old plaintiff was crossing Dudley Street in Roxbury when he was struck by an MBTA bus. The on-board video showed that plaintiff was visible to the operator of the bus for at least three seconds before the driver took any evasive action to avoid striking plaintiff. Analysis of the video also showed the bus was traveling above the speed limit. Further, the bus driver reported to the MBTA Police that the pedestrian had run out from between parked cars. The video made clear that plaintiff stepped off the corner into the street and did not walk between parked cars. The video also demonstrated that he was not running.

Plaintiff had been a healthy, vibrant retired master barber who lived an active life prior to the incident. Following the incident, plaintiff was hospitalized and/or in rehabilitation hospitals for two months. After his release form the hospital, plaintiff demonstrated significant cognitive decline as a result of his traumatic brain injury.

The case was settled at mediation with Attorney Paul Finn of CMCI.

Details

$1,100,000

Car Accident

Injuries: Closed head injury; Multiple leg fractures requiring open reduction internal fixation

Amount of Settlement: $1,100,000

Special Damages: Medical Expenses more than $300,000

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Attorney David W. White Boston, Massachusetts

Details of the Case

Motor Vehicle Accident; Plaintiff suffered a comminuted femur fracture (shattered thigh bone) which required open reduction and internal fixation. A metal rod was inserted in her leg and it had to be removed approximately one year later. Plaintiff also suffered severe pulmonary fat embolism, which was a severe lung complication, which resulted in several days of coma, and which led to slightly compromised pulmonary function. Plaintiff also suffered post-traumatic stress injuries and recurrent nightmares.

Information

Plaintiff was a seventeen-year-old high school student in her senior year when she was injured while riding as a front seat passenger in a friend’s car. The car crash occurred as they were proceeding straight through an intersection with an on-ramp to Route 3 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, when then they were cut off by a left turning pick-up truck. The truck was owned by the defendant construction company, and was being operated by its president, though the accident occurred after working hours.

Plaintiff suffered a severe thigh bone fracture which required open reduction and internal fixation with a metal rod (intermedullary rod). She also suffered a patella contusion which required later arthroscopic surgery. Right after the rod was placed in the plaintiff’s broken leg, the plaintiff suffered a fat embolism which greatly compromised her breathing; she was placed in a coma at Children’s Hospital and was kept on a ventilator for several days. While she was in a coma, she was in critical condition.

Despite her broken leg, plaintiff was able to return to school after several weeks of recuperation, but was precluded from resuming any sports activities. She had previously been an active soccer player. Plaintiff was unable to return to her part-time jobs during this time.

Plaintiff recovered reasonably well from her physical injuries, with minor scarring from her operation, but with persistent knee pain and some compromised pulmonary function. Plaintiff did, however, continue to suffer psychologically from the post-traumatic stress, which required a period of counseling. She had recurrent, intrusive nightmares from the time that she was kept on the ventilator.

Plaintiff brought claims against the driver of the car she was in and the truck driver. The claims against her driver were settled quickly for the policy limits of $50,000. The balance of the settlement was paid by the insurer of the pick-up truck after two days of mediation.

Medical bills had been paid by PIP and by Mass Health. All outstanding insurance and medical liens were compromised for under $20,000.

Details

$800,000

Ski Accident

Injuries: Traumatic brain injury after crash into tree on ski slope caused by negligent supervision of physical education course.

Amount of Settlement: $800,000

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Attorney Ronald E. Gluck Boston, Massachusetts

Court: U.S. District Court – Springfield

Details of the Case

The 18-year old plaintiff was a resident of Japan and was attending private high school in Western, Massachusetts.  In his senior year, he enrolled in a “for credit” physical education course entitled “Recreational Skiing” during which students skied at night.  Plaintiff had never skied prior to enrolling in the course.  As was discovered in the course of the lawsuit following the personal injury, the school provided transportation to and from a local ski area, but no provided no instruction, no equipment, and no guidance on which trails were safe for students to ski based upon their level of ability.  Students were required to have ski equipment to participate in the course but were given no guidance on what equipment was safe for their level of ability.  The plaintiff, knowing no better, borrowed skies from a friend which were designed for an expert skier.  Students were advised, but not required, to wear a ski helmet to prevent head injuries.  Plaintiff, like many of the students in the course did not wear a helmet. Although he requested that he be given lessons, none were provided.  Prior to the date of the accident, the plaintiff skied approximately 11 times on the mountain as part of the course.  Typically, he would ski with a classmate who was a superior skier.  On the date of the incident, the plaintiff was skiing at night on borrowed expert skis on an intermediate trail, not wearing a helmet.  The plaintiff skied off the trail into a tree, suffering a traumatic brain injury.  There were no eyewitnesses to the accident.

The Massachusetts Charitable Immunity statute protected the school itself from liability beyond $20,000.00 for personal injury.  The lawsuit seeking compensation for personal injury was filed against the school and its Director and Assistant Director of Physical Education, both of whom had responsibility for administration of the ski course and who were not protected by the charitable immunity statute.

In the lawsuit, it was discovered that instruction was mandatory in 15 of the 16 physical education courses offered by the school.  This included courses such as golf, tennis and badminton. The only exception to the mandatory instruction rule was the ski course in which students received no instruction.   The school’s Physical Education Director admitted that skiing put students at a higher level of risk for personal injury than any of the other courses which had a mandatory lesson rule.

The defendants and their attorney in the case maintained that plaintiff was 18-years old, was old enough to serve in the military and was old enough to decide whether or not to wear a helmet.  Defendants’ attorney also argued that after skiing approximately 10 times on the mountain, plaintiff was proficient enough at skiing to be on an intermediate slope.  The Defendants also argued that plaintiff knew or should have known the difference between a beginner slope and an intermediate slope, as the slopes were clearly marked with signs indicating the level of difficulty of each trail.  Defendants also took the position that since no one witnessed the accident, it was not possible to say what caused the plaintiff to ski off the trail and into the tree.  Defendants argued that even skiers who have taken lessons and who have proper ski equipment for their level of expertise ski off trails and suffer personal injuries, and that there was no way plaintiff could prove his personal injuries would have been avoided if he had received lessons and was wearing proper equipment.  Finally, Defendant maintained that ski helmets were not required at any mountain in the country other than for small children in ski programs and that defendants’ helmet policy, even in the context of a physical education course, was reasonable to prevent personal injury.

Plaintiff countered that as this incident occurred during a physical education course the standard of care to prevent personal injury was the one that applied to physical education teachers in America.  Plaintiff’s physical education expert testified in the case that to prevent personal injury these standards require teachers to assess students’ ability, to monitor their progress in the activity, to make sure that the equipment being used in the activity is appropriate for their level of expertise, to monitor students’ selection of terrain so that it is appropriate for their level of expertise, and, finally, to require that students wear helmets which can minimize injuries.   The expert testified that defendants’ failure to adhere to the standard of care exposed the student to personal injury.  Plaintiff’s attorney  contended that if plaintiff had received proper instruction, was using proper equipment for his level of expertise, had been required to wear a helmet and was instructed on what trails were safe for his level of ability, this incident would probably not have occurred.

Defendants filed a motion for Summary Judgment, which plaintiff opposed.  The case went to mediation at which time the case settled for $800,000.00.

Plaintiff attempted to go to college after his lengthy rehabilitation following his initial personal injuries. As a result of his head injury, his academic performance was significantly below what his high school academic achievement would have predicted and he had to drop out.  Plaintiff is now in China undergoing therapy and treatment to improve his cognitive abilities.

Following the accident and all that was discovered in the course of the litigation by the plaintiff’s attorney, it is believed that the school implemented a mandatory lesson policy and discontinued the night skiing portion of the ski course.


For more information on choosing a car accident lawyer, please refer to our page on Personal Injury Caused by a Motor Vehicle Accident.

Details

$477,989

Personal Injury

Injuries: Brain Hemorrhage, Traumatic Brain Injury

Amount of Settlement: $477,989.08

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Attorney Marc L. Breakstone Boston, MA

Details of the Case

The plaintiff in this case was a 62-year old stay-at-home dad. He was involved in a car accident when his car was hit head-on by defendant at a high speed in Topsfield, Massachusetts.  As a result of the head-on collision, plaintiff was hospitalized at Beverly Hospital for six days.  He was diagnosed with a concussion and released.

Approximately one week later, he developed significant headaches. He was rushed back the hospital where they found that the car accident had caused a brain hemorrhage.

The plaintiff was rushed into emergency surgery for removal of the bleeding inside his skull.  He underwent a burr hole procedure where holes were drilled in his skull to release the blood and pressure on his brain.

Following the surgery, plaintiff noted difficulty with language and memory.  The traumatic brain injury caused mild cognitive deficits, which were documented on neuropsychological examination.

The case was resolved at arbitration with an award in the amount of $477,989.08.  The arbitrator was Jeffrey Stern of Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen.  The arbitrator found 100% fault against the driver of the car that caused the head-on collision.


For more information on choosing a car accident lawyer, please refer to our page on Massachusetts Personal Injury Cases Caused by a Motor Vehicle Accident.

Read about some our other Massachusetts car accident and truck accident cases.

Details

Catastrophic Injury Cases

$1,900,000

Traumatic Injury

Personal Injuries: Medical malpractice resulting from failure to diagnose and treat breast cancer causing metastatic disease and shortened life expectancy; loss of consortium.

Amount of Settlement: $1,900,000.00

Date of Settlement: Settled at mediation three weeks before trial

Plaintiffs’ Lawyers: Attorney Marc L. Breakstone and Attorney David W. White Boston, Massachusetts

Mediator: Peter Contuzzi, Esquire

Court: Suffolk Superior Court

Other Useful Information

Plaintiff was 45 years old in August, 1992 when she saw her primary care physician, an internist, for an annual physical examination. The internist ordered a screening mammogram which revealed an abnormality in the right breast. A follow-up compression mammogram demonstrated a mass in the upper inner quadrant of the right breast which was reported “highly suspicious for carcinoma”. The radiologists recommended needle localization and removal of this mass.

In October, 1992, plaintiff’s internist referred her to a surgeon in the same group practice. At the first visit, the surgeon palpated a thickened area in the upper inner aspect of the right breast. He decided to perform the biopsy without needle localization. On November 2, 1992, the surgeon mistakenly removed tissue from the upper outer aspect of the right breast. The pathology report was negative for carcinoma. In the first post-operative visit, the surgeon dismissed the plaintiff’s concerns about the location of the incision (outer vs. inner), and told her the remaining lump in the inner breast was either scar tissue or hematoma. The surgeon failed to order further testing or mammograms which would have revealed that the suspicious mass had not been removed.

Approximately six months after the biopsy, plaintiff saw her internist and received a prescription for estrogen and progesterone for menopausal symptoms. Prior to prescribing these medications, the internist performed no physical examination. The package inserts for the two medications instruct the prescribing physician to perform a physical examination with particular attention to the breasts before prescribing the medication. The inserts also instruct that the medications are contraindicated in patients with known or suspected breast cancer.

Plaintiff returned to her internist for an annual physical examination in November, 1993. She informed him that the lump in her right breast, which was palpable since the biopsy and about which the surgeon told her not to worry, felt as if it had grown. The internist immediately ordered mammograms which revealed that the mass in the upper inner right breast had grown to over 5 centimeters in diameter. The internist sent plaintiff back to the surgeon who excised the mass in November, 1993. The pathological diagnosis was poorly differentiated infiltrating ductal carcinoma. Further tests in December, 1993, revealed that the cancer had metastasized into plaintiff’s liver. The plaintiff was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer which is terminal. As of the date of the diagnosis, the 47 year old plaintiff had a median life expectancy of 18 to 24 months.

Shortly thereafter, at counsel’s urging, plaintiff obtained her complete medical records directly from the group practice. Three weeks later, plaintiff’s counsel received a copy of the plaintiff’s records pursuant to a written request. The second set of records contained a number of significant changes in the surgeons first two office notes with regard to the location in the breast of the palpable abnormality. The original records stated the abnormality was in the upper inner breast. The altered records indicated the thickened area was in the upper outer breast.

Plaintiff brought claims against the surgeon, the internist, and the medical center which employed them. Claims were also brought on behalf of the husband and the two children, one of whom was a minor, for loss of consortium. The consortium claims on behalf of the adult child were dismissed on defendants’ motion for summary judgment.

At his deposition in June, 1994, the surgeon admitted that he had altered plaintiff’s records after and as a result of receiving a letter from her attorneys. Shortly thereafter, the defendant, surgeon filed an amended answer to the complaint in which he admitted he was negligent in failing to remove the correct mass from the plaintiff’s breast. Defendant intended, however, to contest the issue of whether his negligence had caused damages to the plaintiff. The defendants maintained that plaintiff probably had metastatic disease as early as Fall, 1992, based upon the size of her liver tumors in December, 1993.

Plaintiffs’ experts were prepared to testify that, when she presented in Fall, 1992, plaintiff probably had Stage I breast cancer, with a mass less than 2 centimeters and no positive axillary nodes. They were further prepared to testify that during the approximately one year delay, the cancer grew and spread systemically, and that plaintiff’s life expectancy, measured from the date of her diagnosis, was approximately 18 to 24 months. They were also prepared to testify that if treated in 1992, the plaintiff would likely have been cured of the cancer. The experts were also prepared to testify that the prescription of estrogen and progesterone without an examination of the breasts was poor medical practice and that the administration of these hormones hastened the growth and spread of the disease.

Plaintiff was employed as a special education teacher in the public schools, earning approximately $35,000 per year. She had attained her master’s degree when she was 43 years old. Plaintiffs intended to call her supervising principal who would have testified regarding her excellent professional qualifications and performance. Plaintiffs were also prepared to call an economist who would have testified that the present value of plaintiff’s earning capacity was approximately $500,000.00.

The trial had been scheduled for March 6, 1995, after a motion for speedy trial was allowed. The parties agreed to pre-trial mediation in January 1995. This personal injury medical malpractice case settled shortly after the conclusion of the all day mediation conducted by Peter Contuzzi, Esq.

Choosing a Massachusetts
Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice cases are complex and difficult, and often take a long time to resolve. It is important to choose a malpractice attorney carefully. If you suspect your doctor failed to diagnose or treat your cancer properly, please review our page on failure to diagnose cancer.  Our Choosing a Lawyer page answers many questions you may have about choosing an experienced Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney for your case.

Massachusetts Medical Malpractice
Practice Areas

Find out more about the kinds of medical malpractice cases which the attorneys at our firm handle on our page on Personal Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice.

If you feel you have a medical malpractice case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights, as Massachusetts has strict statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases. Please call us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form.

Details

$1,000,000

Traumatic Injury

Injuries: Blindness in left eye, hearing loss

Amount of Award: $1,000,000

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Suffolk Superior Court

Details of the Case

The victim of this medical malpractice case was age 17 when she went to her pediatrician’s office with severe headaches.  She had an elevated white blood cell count and other laboratory evidence of infection.  No imaging of the head was done.

Eleven days later, plaintiff was still feeling ill and sought treatment at a local Emergency Department for neck and abdominal pain.  She was discharged with a prescription for analgesics.

Two days later, plaintiff returned to the Emergency Department with complaints of severe throbbing headaches, severe photophobia (sensitivity to light), nausea, vomiting, decreased intake and lethargy.  Plaintiff was seen by defendant; his assessment was dehydration and migraine headache.  Plaintiff was admitted to the hospital for observation.  No imaging tests were done.

The following morning, the plaintiff was noted to have periorbital swelling (swelling around the eyes), bilateral ptosis (drooping of the eyelids), and worsening symptoms.  She saw several consultants, and was emergently transferred that afternoon to a Boston area teaching hospital for a presumed orbital abscess in the left eye.  Magnetic resonance imaging of the head demonstrated sinusitis and bilateral cavernous sinus thrombosis.  Her course was further complicated by meningitis and stroke.  The plaintiff was left with significant medical problems, including blindness in the left eye and hearing loss.

Claim was brought against her pediatrician who failed to order appropriate head imaging tests which would have revealed an acute sinus infection, which would have been easily treated with IV antibiotics.  Plaintiff was prepared to prove the as a result of the negligence of the defendant, plaintiff’s sphenoid sinusitis (sinus infection) advanced to bacterial meningitis, leading to her stroke and loss of vision.

This case was settled for the full amount of the pediatrician’s insurance liability limits. The insurance company for the pediatrician recognize that this injury affected every aspect of this young woman’s life. She was hit with this injury at a time when she was preparing to graduate from high school and go on to college. She would have been the first person in her family to attend college. Because of her stroke and blindness in one eye, her ability to complete her high school education was impaired. While she eventually did graduate from high school, she was unable to maintain the focus and attention necessary to complete college courses. The defendant insurance company recognized that this was a life altering and profound injury for this lovely young woman whose life was derailed by the negligence of her pediatrician in whose trust and care she placed her well-being.

Choosing a Massachusetts
Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice cases are complex and difficult, and may take a long time to resolve. It is important to choose a malpractice attorney carefully. Our Choosing a Lawyer page answers many questions you may have about choosing an experienced Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney for your case.

Massachusetts Medical Malpractice
Practice Areas

Find out more about the kinds of medical malpractice cases which the attorneys at our firm handle on our page on Personal Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice.

If you feel you have a medical malpractice case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights, as Massachusetts has strict statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases. Please call us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form.

Details

$550,000

Traumatic Physical and Emotional Injuries

Injuries: Physical and Emotional Injuries

Attorney: Ronald E. Gluck, Esq. – Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C. Boston (For the plaintiff)

Settlement: $550,000

Court: May 2014

Case Description

The plaintiff was an Ivy League school graduate and the mother of a teenage son. She was raising her son while employed by a Boston area non-profit organization. She was also attending a graduate program at a Boston area college until she began to deteriorate emotionally and physically while under the care of the defendant, a Boston psychiatrist with more than 20 years of experience.

The plaintiff consulted the psychiatrist for panic and anxiety issues for several years. During this time, the doctor breached the standard of care and overprescribed the patient multiple medications, including anti-depressants, anti-psychotic medications, mood stabilizing agents, benzodiazepines, psycho-stimulants and an assortment of other non-psychiatric medications. These medications included Paxil, which the doctor prescribed at four times the maximum dosage for several years, causing the patient to become toxic.

As a result, the plaintiff suffered psychological trauma, became wheelchair bound for a period of time, neurologically impaired and she was chronically fatigued. She had to visit hospital emergency rooms multiple times and undergo psychiatric hospitalizations to become detoxified.

The plaintiff was unable to work for several years. The state department of children and family services removed her son from her care for more than a year. During that time, he had to live with a Foster family, which disrupted his daily routine and caused him long-term emotional suffering, anxiety and nightmares.

After the plaintiff’s care was transferred to a different psychiatrist, and after she was put on a proper medication regimen, the court allowed her to regain custody of her son. They were reunited in 2010. The plaintiff is actively involved as a volunteer for a non- profit organization, and as the mother of her son.

The case is important for the public at large as an example of a doctor who violated the duty she owed to her patient to safely prescribe medications to her.  In prescribing medications to psychiatric patients, psychiatrists must monitor the effects of the medications in a variety of ways one of which includes clinical monitoring which means seeing the patient, evaluating behaviors, and generally checking the effects the medications are having on the patient.

Many medications require monitoring through blood testing. It is critical for the psychiatrist to check black box warnings for dosage to be certain that the prescription levels are safe for the patient.  In this case, the psychiatrist failed to properly monitor the wide variety of medications that she was prescribing to the patient and failed to recognize the very apparent effects the medications were having on the patient whose life was spiraling out of control. In these cases, patients become completely dependent on the advice and judgment of the psychiatrists.  Improperly prescribed medications alter patient judgment, making it difficult if not impossible for the patient to realize that the reason they are losing their faculties is the treatment they are receiving from the person they need to trust the most is causing their life to spiral out of control.

Details

$550,000

Traumatic Injury After a Reaction to Lamictal

Injuries: Plaintiff suffered a reaction to Lamictal–anti-anxiety medication–resulting in severe Stevens-Johnson Syndrome reaction, mild scarring, and permanent loss of fingernails and toenails.

Amount of Settlement: $550,000.00

Date of Recovery: January 2009

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Details of the Case

Attorney Marc Breakstone obtained a settlement in the amount of $550,000 for a 28-year-old woman who suffered a life-threatening reaction which permanently scarred her for life after receiving a prescription Lamictal for postpartum depression.

The psychiatric nurse who prescribed the medication gave the plaintiff no warnings or instructions about the serious risk of an allergic reaction to the drug that can produce a deadly reaction called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS). This condition, which can cause severe burns to not only the skin but also the internal mucosa of the mouth, rectum and the vagina, is so dangerous that the drug manufacturer puts a black box warning on the package insert to alert prescribing physicians and nurses about this danger. The warning states that as soon as any person taking this drug develops any type of rash, they must stop the drug immediately.

Unfortunately, the psychiatric nurse, who prescribed the medication gave no information to the plaintiff about these risks. A lawsuit was filed. In the lawsuit, the psychiatric nurse claimed that she warned the patient about the risk of Stevens-Johnson syndrome with this medication and also warned her to stop taking it if she developed any reaction such as a rash. Fortunately for the plaintiff, a social worker was present at the meeting when the nurse prescribed the medication. During the litigation, the social worker testified under oath that the psychiatric nurse gave no warnings to the patient about this deadly risk.

Approximately eight days after starting Lamictal, plaintiff developed a rash on her legs. She called defendant psychiatric nurse at the clinic to inquire whether the rash might be related to the Lamictal. The nurse did not return any of the patient’s telephone messages. During the lawsuit, the clinic receptionist who took the three or four phone messages from the patient, testified under oath that she handed the defendant psychiatric nurse  three written phone message slips regarding calls from the plaintiff, and that on at least one occasion, the defendant stated “Oh, her again!” The receptionists further testify that she was disgusted and shocked by the nurse’s disregard for her patient’s well-being.

Out of desperation, Plaintiff went to her local emergency department on two occasions to have someone look at her rash.  A dermatologist, and a gynecologist within the first week after the rash developed examined her but did not associate the rash with the Lamictal.  As a result, plaintiff continued to take the Lamictal even after the rash started and spread across her body. Finally, when plaintiff’s lips and gums began to blister, she stopped taking the Lamictal.

She went back to a local emergency room which had her transported immediately to the Massachusetts General Hospital Burn Intensive Care Unit where she was admitted with severe burns over 60% of her body as a result of the Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. She also had blistering and burns to her oral, vaginal and rectal mucosa. Plaintiff remained an in-patient at the ICU Burn Unit for 21 days.

Plaintiff survived the episode, but was left with mild scarring on her arms, legs, chest and neck. Plaintiff was also left with no fingernails or toenails. During this entire ordeal, plaintiff was unable to care for her newborn child. This emotional injury compounded the severe physical pain and suffering that she endured.

Attorney Marc Breakstone obtained as an expert one of the world’s leading expert psychiatrists who has written extensively on Lamictal and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. That expert was prepared to testify at trial, if necessary, that the defendant psychiatric nurse deviated from the standard of care by failing to warn plaintiff regarding the risks associated with Lamictal and the necessity to stop Lamictal at the first sign of any rash, as severe rashes leading to Stevens-Johnson Syndrome have been associated with this drug. Plaintiff’s expert was prepared to testify that as a result of taking the drug for four days after the rash developed, plaintiff unwittingly exposed herself to the risk of a far greater reaction. After two years of intensive discovery and multiple depositions, the case was settled on the eve of trial for $550,000.

Details

$400,000

Traumatic Injury

Injuries: Medical negligence during hysterectomy causing severe injury to both ureters

Amount of Recovery: $400,000.00.

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Middlesex Superior Court

Details of the Case

This medical malpractice case was brought on behalf of a previously active 37-year-old plaintiff who suffered severe  complications as a result of a negligent hysterectomy.  The failure of the doctors to protect plaintiff’s ureters (the tubes between the kidneys and the bladder) during surgery led to the stapling of the ureters.  As a result, she suffered complete obstruction of the right ureter and near complete obstruction of the left ureter.

As a result of the uretral obstructions, plaintiff required sixteen additional surgeries and invasive diagnostic procedures.  The doctors’ negligence caused her to suffer significantly. She has had incontinence since the incident and now faces a greater risk of developing complications from kidney stones than she would have had the procedure been performed properly.  Plaintiff’s relationship with her husband was negatively impacted by the incident, and, as a result, the settlement included payment for loss of consortium.

Choosing a Massachusetts
Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice cases are complex and difficult, and may take a long time to resolve. It is important to choose a malpractice attorney carefully. Our Choosing a Lawyer page answers many questions you may have about choosing an experienced Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney for your case.

Massachusetts Medical Malpractice
Practice Areas

Find out more about the kinds of medical malpractice cases which the attorneys at our firm handle on our page on Personal Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice.

If you feel you have a medical malpractice case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights, as Massachusetts has strict statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases. Please call us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form.

Details

$300,000

Traumatic Injury

Injuries: Medical malpractice–failure to diagnose skin cancer on face

Amount of Recovery: $300,000.00

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Middlesex Superior Court

Details of the Case

This medical malpractice case arose from the failure of a doctor to diagnose skin cancer on the plaintiff’s face.

Plaintiff was 72 years old in August of 1997 when he was referred by his internist to the defendant doctor for evaluation of possible cancer on his left cheek.  Defendant’s differential diagnosis was “lentigo maligna vs. seborrheic keratosis.”  A biopsy was performed by defendant. The biopsy was positive for cancer, but plaintiff was informed about a month after his initial visit that the spot on his left cheek was benign, that he did not have cancer, and that it did not need removal.  As a result, plaintiff did not follow up with defendant.

Over the next two and a half years, the “benign” spot on the plaintiff’s left cheek grew in size.  Finally, in January 2000, plaintiff was referred to a new dermatologist for further evaluation of the now significantly larger growth on his left cheek, which had grown and extended to under the left eyelid.  The new doctor diagnosed plaintiff with cancer known as lentigo maligna and determined that he needed to undergo surgery.  Plaintiff had three major surgeries, resulting in severe facial scarring and disfigurement, as well as dysfunction.

If defendant had correctly diagnosed plaintiff’s skin cancer, the malignancy could have been removed in a simple procedure.  The evidence was overwhelming that at the time the cancer should have been diagnosed, definitive treatment would have involved a small incision without the need for any major reconstruction, chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Due to the delay, the required surgery had to be performed in a three stage series which involved months of disability, significant permanent disfigurement and equally significant mental distress.

As is often the case, the responsible doctor tried to blame the patient for the physicians own mistake. Defendant claimed that he informed plaintiff to follow up clinically after the biopsy and that plaintiff failed to do so.  Although the doctor attempted to blame the patient for his error, there was no evidence to prove his claim, and the case ultimately settled.

Choosing a Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice cases are complex and difficult, and may take a long time to resolve. It is important to choose a malpractice attorney carefully. Our Choosing a Lawyer page answers many questions you may have about choosing an experienced Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney for your case.

Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Practice Areas

Find out more about the kinds of medical malpractice cases which the attorneys at our firm handle on our page on Personal Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice.

If you feel you have a medical malpractice case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights, as Massachusetts has strict statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases. Please call us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form.

Details

Vehicle Accident Cases

$7,100,000

Bus Accident

Injuries: Right leg amputation above-the-knee, severe phantom limb pain.

Amount of Judgment: $7,100,000

Special Damages: Medical expenses: approximately $180,000.00; lost earning capacity: approximately $40,000.00

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston

Date of Verdict: December 4, 2008

Other Useful Information

On September 13, 2005, plaintiff, aged 58, was crossing Washington Street in the South End in a crosswalk when she was struck by the left front corner of an MBTA bus. At the point of impact, plaintiff was approximately 28-feet across the four-lane street. She was crossing with a crossing signal. The MBTA bus came up from behind and to her right. The bus had a green light and was turning left across the crosswalk.

The left front corner of the bus struck plaintiff in the right rear and knocked her to the ground. The left front tire ran over plaintiff’s right upper thigh. Plaintiff was rushed to a local emergency department where her right lower extremity was amputated approximately eight inches below the hip.

Liability was disputed by defendant MBTA. Defendant claimed the plaintiff negligently failed to see or hear the bus before it struck her. At trial, defendant argued that other pedestrians had seen and/or heard the bus and retreated to the sidewalk, but that plaintiff continued in the crosswalk and walked into the side of the bus.

The only independent witness who testified at trial stated that upon hearing the impact of the bus on the pedestrian, the witness observed the driver looking to his right and speaking to a passenger as the bus as turning left. The bus driver testified at trial that he continually scanned the roadway, looking left, forward and right, but never saw plaintiff until after the impact. It was undisputed that plaintiff had been in the crosswalk for approximately nine seconds at the time she was hit. It was further undisputed that she was approximately halfway across Washington Street at that time.

The incident was investigated by the MBTA Transit Police. The driver was cited by the MBTA Transit Police for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

At trial, the driver admitted the accident was his fault. The MBTA liability expert admitted the accident was the driver’s fault. The MBTA Transit Police officer admitted that the accident was a result of the defendant driver’s failure to yield to plaintiff in the crosswalk, and the MBTA bus operations spokesperson admitted that the driver failed to adhere to MBTA bus training guidelines in the manner in which he executed the left-hand turn. Notwithstanding these admissions, the MBTA maintained throughout trial that the accident was the fault of plaintiff.

Following a two-week trial, the jury deliberated for two days and returned a verdict for plaintiff. The jury found the MBTA 100% at fault.

Defendant MBTA disputed the extent of plaintiff’s damages. Expert witnesses were presented on both sides with regard to the future life care needs of plaintiff. It was undisputed that plaintiff had twice been fitted for prosthetic limbs, but was unable to utilize the prosthetic limbs because of her severe phantom limb pain and stump pain. As a result, plaintiff will be restricted to a wheelchair for the remainder of her life. She will require personal care attendant assistance with all activities of daily living.

The MBTA filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied. The MBTA then appealed the case. The Appeals Court affirmed the judgment, and the MBTA sought further appellate review from the Supreme Judicial Court. That petition was also denied, resulting in a complete affirmation of the judgment.

The MBTA, in its appeals, sought to overturn the verdict, and to avoid pre-trial and post-trial interest. The MBTA argued that amendments to the state’s sovereign immunity law were retroactive, but the Appeals Court rejected that argument.

Details

$3,750,000

Motorcycle Accident

Injuries: Facial fractures, concussion, loss of vision in one eye

Court: Withheld

Attorney: Ronald E. Gluck, Esq. – Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C. Boston (For the plaintiff)

Settlement: $3,750,000

Date: February 2, 2012

Case Description

The 37 year old male plaintiff was operating a motorcycle and suffered major facial fractures, a concussion, blindness in one eye and orthopedic injuries when the defendant operating a company-owned Lexus, cut into plaintiff’s lane causing him to slam face first into the side of the Lexus. The plaintiff underwent two facial reconstruction surgeries following the motorcycle accident. He was left with no facial disfigurement with the exception of a small scar near his lip. However, in the course of one of the facial reconstruction surgeries, plaintiff’s left optic nerve was damaged, causing legal blindness in that eye.

Despite his eye injury plaintiff is able to drive and engage in most of his usual activities of daily living as it relates to his vision.  However, plaintiff is limited in some of his activities of daily living due to ongoing pain related to his orthopedic injuries suffered in the collision.

At the outset of the litigation the defendant driver denied that she was at fault or that she her driving was a substantial contributing cause of the collision.  During the defendant’s deposition, however, it was established that the defendant crossed over three lanes of traffic without giving any warning that she intended to do so and that she cut off the plaintiff who was riding his motorcycle below the speed limit squarely in his lane of traffic.  The defendant’s claim that she was not at fault was proven to be false.

The plaintiff, a high school graduate, had risen to become a network engineer and was earning approximately $95,000 per year at the time of the motor vehicle collision. While plaintiff is unable to return to work as a network engineer due to his injuries, it is likely that he will be able to work in some capacity. The degree of his loss of earning capacity was disputed by the parties.

As a result of his concussion, plaintiff was diagnosed with mild cognitive deficits by his neuropsychologist. This diagnosis was disputed by defendant’s expert who was prepared to testify that while plaintiff suffered serious injuries, there was no evidence that he suffered from any cognitive deficits.

In addition to the surgeries which he underwent to repair the facial fractures, plaintiff also underwent arthroscopic surgeries on his shoulder for a torn labrum and his ankle for nerve pain which persisted following the motorcycle accident. Plaintiff also suffered from depression resulting from his inability to resume his career and to engage in recreational activities such as ATV riding and playing basketball. Plaintiff is able to exercise at a gym, live independently, do household chores such as minor yard work, cleaning and cooking and care for his daily needs.

The motorcycle accident case settled at the end of a full day mediation which took place two weeks before the scheduled trial date.

Details

$3,500,000

Motorcycle Accident

Injuries: Severe head and chest trauma resulting in death

Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $3.5 million

Date: March 2016

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. – Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Mediator: Brian J. Mone Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc.

Other Useful Information

On June 22, 2013, 56-year-old plaintiff was riding his motorcycle in West Bridgewater, when a waste disposal truck owned by defendant, and operated by a subcontractor, pulled out across the road into the path of plaintiff. Plaintiff applied the brakes and laid the motorcycle down in an attempt to avoid the collision. His motorcycle struck the side of defendant’s truck at less than 5 mph.

Unfortunately, after he put the bike down, he continued to roll under the truck. The driver did not see plaintiff in time to stop the truck. As a result, the truck rear tires ran over his head and chest, killing him.

The driver of defendant’s vehicle was a welder for a company that had been hired by defendant to repair the truck. The driver had a “Z’ restriction on his license, which prohibited him from operating any vehicles that did not have a breathalyzer interlock on the ignition. The truck in question did not have such an interlock. As a result, the driver was charged

The decedent was the owner of a custom machine shop. He left his wife of 36 years, three adult daughters, and several grandchildren. There were no special damages, as he died at the scene.

The case settled after a second day of mediation with Attorney Brian J. Mone of CMCI.

Details

$3,000,000

Truck Accident

Case information not available.
Details

$2,500,000

Truck Accident

Injuries: Multiple fractures, 2 spinal fusions, erectile dysfunction, loss of consortium

Amount of Recovery: $2,500,000

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Ronald E. Gluck Boston, MA

Other Useful Information

On September 28, 2007, defendant’s 18-wheel truck slammed into the rear of the car that our 51-year-old plaintiff was operating in Marlboro, Massachusetts while on a business trip from his home in California.  Plaintiff’s vehicle was propelled over a sidewalk and through a pole which landed on top of the car.  Plaintiff, a previously healthy executive, suffered major orthopedic injuries, including an L1 burst fracture requiring emergency spinal fusion in Massachusetts, fractured eye socket, fractures in his fingers which were surgically repaired, and rib fractures.  After a lengthy period of recuperation, plaintiff discovered that he also suffered from erectile dysfunction, which his spine surgeon related to injuries suffered in the collision.  Plaintiff’s first spinal fusion failed, and a second spinal fusion was performed in California approximately one year after the collision occurred.  Plaintiff’s rehabilitation was long and difficult. He was diligent in doing everything possible to make as close to a full recovery as possible. Plaintiff’s medical bills and some a portion of his lost earnings were paid by his employer’s workers compensation insurance company which was reimbursed from his settlement.

Plaintiff made great efforts to continue working through much of his rehabilitation.  Prior to the accident, he was a valued member of the management team at his company.  The deposition of the CEO of his company revealed that plaintiff’s reduced ability to work for two years at the same capacity he had in the years before the incident contributed to the declining revenues of the company.

Prior to the collision, plaintiff was an active cyclist, hiker, and gardener.  His inability to engage in these activities for two years was a profound loss for him. Following his two-year recovery from his injuries, the only restrictions placed on plaintiff’s activities by his spine surgeon relate to how much weight plaintiff can carry while hiking.  Plaintiff continues in his capacity as an executive with his company on a full-time basis.

Plaintiff’s wife filed a claim for loss of consortium.  Her deposition testimony related to the loss she suffered in connection with the intimate aspects of their marriage was compelling.

Defendant entered into a stipulation as to liability.  At each deposition taken in various states including Florida, Tennessee and California, a representative of defendant’s risk management committee was present.

The case settled for 2.5 million dollars approximately one month after an all-day mediation.

The case is illustrative of cases against trucking companies.  Often the owner of the cab will lease the trailer from another company. They may have separate insurers.  The causes of the collision range from equipment problems to driver error to company induced pressure for the driver to drive too many hours in violation of Federal rules and regulations.  Cases against trucking companies are often removed to Federal court by the defendants to avoid what they may perceive as more generous state court juries.

Details

$2,200,000

Automobile Accident

Details of the Case:

The plaintiff, a 53-year-old married man and father of a teenage child, was seriously injured when his car was struck from behind in rush hour traffic. The car accident occurred as the plaintiff was driving south through the Braintree Split on Route 3. The impact occurred when he was stopped. The car that hit him was traveling between 5 and 10 mph. Plaintiff felt immediate pain in his neck, which was radiating down his right arm. After exchanging information, he drove home, then sought immediate attention at the local emergency room.

Plaintiff then embarked on an 18-month quest to find relief from the relentless pain in his neck and shoulder, and the shooting pain and paresthesias (numbness) in his right arm. He tried various medications, physical therapy and acupuncture, but could obtain no relief. Radiology studies and EMG’s (nerve tests) did not identify a clear cause of the problems. He was not a candidate for surgery on the cervical spine. Finally, a local neurosurgeon offered him a trial of a spinal nerve stimulator. The stimulator was placed externally, with the electronic leads over the right side of his neck. The trial device provided excellent relief. Since the trial was so successful, a permanent stimulator was implanted a few weeks later.

The device included a battery/transmitter unit which was placed in a skin pocket on the buttocks, with leads threaded up along the spine, ending in the electrodes that provided the stimulus to distract the pain. The stimulator worked for a few months, until the leads inadvertently moved out of place. Additional surgeries were required to replace the leads and also to clear an infection that occurred in the stimulator pocket.

Since the plaintiff was in the course of his employment when the automobile accident occurred, his medical bills and lost wages were covered by workers’ compensation. The medical bills were in the range of $640,000, but were paid at a reduced workers’ compensation rate. Plaintiff’s lost earnings were minimal, since he made every effort to continue his work as a salesperson, despite the disabling nature of his injuries. He did, however, lose some clients and their commissions, and his ability to expand his sales practice was diminished.

The case was litigated in the Superior Court. Extensive discovery was conducted regarding the plaintiff’s medical treatment and his medical history. Depositions of all the parties, including the plaintiff’s wife who brought a claim for loss of her husband’s consortium, were conducted.

The defendant driver was candid: The accident occurred because he was distracted. He had taken his eyes off the road while reaching for his sunglasses. He admitted the accident was completely his fault.

After discovery was concluded, and after plaintiff had identified one of his two expected medical experts, the parties agreed to mediate the matter. The case was resolved during mediation, which took place just one week before the scheduled pre-trial conference.

Ten percent of the settlement was allocated to the plaintiff’s wife for her consortium claim. The Hunter offset (which operates sort of like a future lien on medical payments) was limited to $150,000 for all future treatment. If that amount is reached, then workers’ compensation will again be fully responsible for all remaining medical bills for the rest of the plaintiff’s life. It is anticipated that the plaintiff, who is now 55, will probably require two replacements to his stimulator as the batteries wear out over time, and other regular treatment to keep the stimulator properly tuned.

Details

$2,150,000

Pedestrian Accident

Injuries: Polytrauma and death by car strike

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $2.15 million

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Other Useful Information

On November 24, 2015, the 73-year-old retired plaintiff and his buddy were exiting a suburban strip mall store when an 87-year old driver lost control of her car, careened across the sidewalk and struck and killed plaintiff. Plaintiff suffered massive internal injuries resulting in his immediate death. His friend, and one other pedestrian were seriously injured. The elderly driver had no idea why she lost control of the vehicle. The evidence suggested that she hit the accelerator instead of the brake as she maneuvered through the mall parking area. The gruesome crash was captured on multiple surveillance cameras.

Plaintiff was prepared to prove that the owner of the shopping plaza failed to provide appropriate protective measures for pedestrians at or about the store’s entrance. Over the years, the owner had placed more than 30 bollards at the rear and side of the shopping complex to protect the building, delivery bays and mechanical structures from vehicle strikes. Bollards had also been placed at the entrance of another retail store in the mall, but none in front of the subject entrance.

Plaintiff’s engineering expert was prepared to testify that the failure to provide pedestrian protection at this location was a breach of industry standards for providing safe walkways for pedestrians.

Details

$1,800,000

Automobile Accident

Injuries: Multiple rib fractures, pulmonary contusion leading to respiratory compromise and death

Amount of Award: $1,800,000.00

Plaintiffs’ Lawyer: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Settled before trial

Other Useful Information

On August 28, 2009, defendant’s motor vehicle crossed over the center line and struck the vehicle operated by the 83-year-old plaintiff.  Property damage to the vehicles was minimal.  Liability of defendant was never in question.  Defendant claimed that his vehicle slid on a wet roadway.

On impact, the 83-year-old plaintiff struck his chest on the steering wheel.  Plaintiff was admitted to a local hospital with shortness of breath and a diagnosis of multiple rib fractures.  Plaintiff had a history of pulmonary edema.  Within days of the motor vehicle accident, he developed respiratory difficulties which led to acute respiratory distress syndrome.  Plaintiff had to be intubated and began to deteriorate rapidly.  Within nine days of the crash, plaintiff passed away leaving his 83-year-old wife.  Prior to the motor vehicle accident, plaintiff was the sole caregiver for his wife who suffered from advanced dementia.  As a result of plaintiff’s death, his wife had to be placed in an assisted living facility.


For more information on choosing a Boston car accident lawyer with extensive experience in personal injuries and wrongful death, please refer to our page on Personal Injury Caused by a Motor Vehicle Accident.

Details

$1,725,000

Automobile Accident

Injuries: Motor Vehicle Accident; L5-S1 burst fracture requiring spinal fusion, Lisfranc fracture (forefoot fracture-dislocation) requiring surgery, temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), fracture of right orbit (eye sicket), fractured jaw, fracture palette requiring surgery

Amount of Settlement: $1,725,000.00

Special Damages: Medical expenses: approximately $180,000.00; lost earning capacity: approximately $40,000.00

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Ronald E. Gluck, Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Nassau County Supreme (New York state) Settled after twelve months of litigation

Other Useful Information

Plaintiff, a 26-year-old former minor league hockey player was a passenger in a Mazda Navaho vehicle. On the day of the accident he and four other young men had traveled from New York State to Western Massachusetts to go skiing. On the return trip to New York, after a full day of skiing, the driver fell asleep at the wheel. He awakened in time to realize that his vehicle had drifted approximately one foot off the roadway. The driver then attempted corrective action but overcompensated by turning his vehicle to the right causing it to flip over three times as it crossed one side of Route 84 to the other. The vehicle landed in the ditch. The plaintiff was hospitalized for approximately one month and underwent multiple surgeries over this period of time. Upon his discharge from the hospital, he underwent a rigorous regiment of physical therapy for approximately eight months. The plaintiff made a good recovery and is now employed in a scouting capacity by a national hockey league team. Plaintiff’s counsel, Ron Gluck, was admitted to the New York Bar, pro hac vice.

Details

$1,250,000

Negligence

Injuries: Death

Settlement: $1,250,000 (Policy Limits)

Date: November, 2015

Attorney: Ronald E. Gluck, Esq. Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C., Boston (For the plaintiff)

Case Description: Video Proves That Pedestrian Was Struck in Crosswalk and Killed

Other Useful Information

The 33 year old victim was the mother of a 13 year old boy who lived in Kenya. She had moved to the United States four years prior to her death. While here, she married and established herself in the Boston community. Her goal was to bring her son to live with her in Massachusetts. She worked two jobs for three years to save money so that she would have a safe and secure home for her son to live in once he was allowed to immigrate to the United States. He was scheduled to come to the United States one month after she was killed.

On the date of the incident the victim left her house at 5:00 in the morning to walk to the bus to go to her job as a nursing assistant. A few minutes after she left the house she was hit by a car and killed. Due to the early morning hour that the fatality occurred there were no witnesses to the incident. Police came to the scene and the driver that hit her stayed at the scene and identified himself. However, he did not provide the police with any specifics as to how the incident occurred. The day after the incident the police obtained a copy of a supermarket parking lot security video which captured the intersection in question.

Police and the District Attorney would not reveal to the family’s attorney, Ronald E. Gluck of Breakstone, White and Gluck of Boston, what was shown on the video and requested that the supermarket not reveal the contents of the video due to a pending criminal investigation into the incident. The defendant driver would provide no testimony or information due to the potential criminal action against him stemming from the incident. As a result, the victim’s family had no idea for over one year how it came to be that she was hit by the car and killed.

Month by month Mr. Gluck contacted the director of security at the supermarket to inform him of the importance of the video to the family. Each month he refused to turn over the video. However, when the director of security for the supermarket left his job, efforts were made to persuade the new director to turn over the video. The new director agreed that it was unjust that the police and District Attorney knew how the innocent victim was killed but would not provide the information to the family. He agreed to bring the video to his deposition. At that time Mr. Gluck and the lawyer representing the driver in the civil law suit brought against him had an opportunity to see, for the first time, how the incident occurred.

The video showed that the woman was crossing the street in the crosswalk when the driver plowed into her when she was one step away from reaching the sidewalk. The defendant driver’s pickup truck propelled her into the air. She landed in the roadway with the pickup truck on top of her chest.

Within two weeks of the production of the video the defendant’s insurer offered its policy limits. The victim’s son, who continues to reside in Kenya, received 75% of the net proceeds from the settlement. The victim’s husband of two years received 25%. The son’s proceeds were placed into a structured settlement which will afford him a good education and financial security for the rest of his life.

Details

$1,250,000

Motorcycle Accident

Case Handled by: Ronald E. Gluck

This horrific motorcycle accident occurred because the driver of a sedan made a left turn right in front of our client’s motorcycle leaving him no room to stop before he crashed into the side of the sedan. Before the crash occurred our client was driving his motorcycle safely in a line of traffic, wearing proper motorcycle clothing to ensure his safety. In spite of all of his efforts to be safe, he suffered very serious injuries which resulted in an extensive hospitalization, multiple surgeries, extensive post hospitalization inpatient rehabilitation and permanent injuries. The driver of the sedan was cited by the police for her negligent driving and her insurance company ultimately paid $1,250,000 to compensate our client for his injuries and extensive damages.

The client’s injuries included multiple fractures of his pelvis, fractures of his lower leg, an injury to his peroneal nerve which caused a significant foot drop and other less severe injuries. Unfortunately, during the course of surgery to repair his fractures, a piece of bone fragment cut an artery, causing a major loss of blood on the operating table. Doctors used heroic efforts to stop the bleeding and were successful in saving his life. Unfortunately, due to the significant blood loss and the complications during surgery the client was required to stay in the hospital for approximately two weeks and then spend another two weeks in a rehabilitation hospital.

Prior to the accident the client was employed as an executive at a national company. His job required him to do extensive traveling throughout the world. Due to his injuries and lengthy rehabilitation process, he was absent from work for several months. When he returned to work he had great difficulty walking, and required the use of crutches and a cane for several more months. Long distance travel was problematic for him for an extended period of time.

In the years leading up to the motorcycle collision, the client enjoyed staying in good physical shape by playing basketball, riding his bicycle, playing golf and walking around the lake near his home. As a result of the severe injuries that he suffered, he is no longer able to play basketball, he can no longer play golf and he has difficulty walking on uneven surfaces. At the end of his treatment, his most serious lasting problem was the significant foot drop caused by the injury to his peroneal nerve. As a result of the foot drop he is required to wear a brace in his shoe to enable him to walk steadily on many surfaces.

Attorney Ron Gluck, who has successfully represented many seriously injured motorcyclists, was successful in persuading the insurance company at the outset of the case that the client would never accept an offer of less than the full policy limits of $1,250,000. As a result, our client was fairly compensated for his injuries when the insurance company paid the policy limits, one and a half years after the collision occurred.

Details

$1,200,000

Car Accident

Injuries: Knee injuries requiring multiple surgeries; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Amount of Settlement: $1,200,000 one week before trial

Special Damages: Medical Expenses approximately $150,000; Lost Earnings approximately $50,000

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Attorney Ronald E. Gluck Boston, Massachusetts

Details of the Case

The plaintiff was a thirty-one year old school teacher who was walking on a sidewalk of a privately owned strip mall when the elderly defendant attempted to park her car in a diagonal parking space. The defendant negligently accelerated the car onto the sidewalk plowing the plaintiff through a plate glass window of a store.

At the deposition of the defendant driver she showed no remorse and tried to avoid responsibility for her mistake by claiming that her car mal-functioned which she claimed caused her to accelerate over the curb onto the sidewalk. There was no evidence that her claim was true and this defense was dropped by her lawyer. It seemed that the defendant driver’s biggest concern at her deposition was that her license not be taken away for her careless driving.

At the mediation that took place shortly before the scheduled trial date, Attorney Ronald E. Gluck who represented the teacher was able to negotiate a significant settlement for his client. The driver’s insurance company was in a weak negotiating position because it was clear that the driver would make a bad witness in front of a jury because she expressed no willingness to take responsibility for her actions which increased the likelihood of a large verdict in the plaintiff’s favor.

As a result of the car accident, the plaintiff suffered a tibial plateau compression fracture, tears of three of the four major ligaments in her knee and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Initially, she underwent open reduction internal fixation surgery for repair of the tibial plateau compression fracture. She was hospitalized for nine days and then was an inpatient at a rehabilitation facility for two weeks. She then underwent rigorous physical therapy.

Approximately one year later, she underwent surgery for removal of hardware. Two years post accident she underwent reconstructive surgery to repair the three torn ligaments followed by another round of physical therapy.

Prior to the car accident, plaintiff had an outstanding record as a teacher. In addition, she worked in the summer for public television as the science and math coordinator for a children’s television program. She was substantially unable to engage in her employment for approximately six months. She returned to both jobs using a cane for six months. Plaintiff returned to her pre-accident level of excellent performance through hard work and determination. She struggled with recurring nightmares and accident related anxiety on a decreasing level over time.

It is expected that the plaintiff will require knee replacement surgery within the next seven to ten years and probably a second knee replacement in the course of her lifetime.

Plaintiff’s medical bills at the time of the settlement were approximately $150,000.00 which resulted in a health insurance lien of $46,200. Plaintiff suffered no actual lost earnings. Her loss of earning capacity was approximately $50,000.00.

Plaintiff enjoyed skiing, rollerblading, and dancing prior to the car accident. It is unlikely that she will be able to engage in these activities as a result of ongoing difficulties with her leg. She is able to engage in other activities that she enjoys such as traveling, walking her dogs, working and caring for her child.

Details

$1,100,000

Car Accident

Injuries: Closed head injury; Multiple leg fractures requiring open reduction internal fixation

Amount of Settlement: $1,100,000

Special Damages: Medical Expenses more than $300,000

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Attorney David W. White Boston, Massachusetts

Details of the Case

Motor Vehicle Accident; Plaintiff suffered a comminuted femur fracture (shattered thigh bone) which required open reduction and internal fixation. A metal rod was inserted in her leg and it had to be removed approximately one year later. Plaintiff also suffered severe pulmonary fat embolism, which was a severe lung complication, which resulted in several days of coma, and which led to slightly compromised pulmonary function. Plaintiff also suffered post-traumatic stress injuries and recurrent nightmares.

Information

Plaintiff was a seventeen-year-old high school student in her senior year when she was injured while riding as a front seat passenger in a friend’s car. The car crash occurred as they were proceeding straight through an intersection with an on-ramp to Route 3 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, when then they were cut off by a left turning pick-up truck. The truck was owned by the defendant construction company, and was being operated by its president, though the accident occurred after working hours.

Plaintiff suffered a severe thigh bone fracture which required open reduction and internal fixation with a metal rod (intermedullary rod). She also suffered a patella contusion which required later arthroscopic surgery. Right after the rod was placed in the plaintiff’s broken leg, the plaintiff suffered a fat embolism which greatly compromised her breathing; she was placed in a coma at Children’s Hospital and was kept on a ventilator for several days. While she was in a coma, she was in critical condition.

Despite her broken leg, plaintiff was able to return to school after several weeks of recuperation, but was precluded from resuming any sports activities. She had previously been an active soccer player. Plaintiff was unable to return to her part-time jobs during this time.

Plaintiff recovered reasonably well from her physical injuries, with minor scarring from her operation, but with persistent knee pain and some compromised pulmonary function. Plaintiff did, however, continue to suffer psychologically from the post-traumatic stress, which required a period of counseling. She had recurrent, intrusive nightmares from the time that she was kept on the ventilator.

Plaintiff brought claims against the driver of the car she was in and the truck driver. The claims against her driver were settled quickly for the policy limits of $50,000. The balance of the settlement was paid by the insurer of the pick-up truck after two days of mediation.

Medical bills had been paid by PIP and by Mass Health. All outstanding insurance and medical liens were compromised for under $20,000.

Details

$1,100,000

Car Accident

Injuries: Leg fractures requiring surgery, fractured eye socket, fractured ribs

Amount of Award: Including interest, $1.1 million

Plaintiffs’ Lawyer: Ronald E. Gluck Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Plymouth Superior Court

Other Useful Information

Plaintiff was a 31-year-old healthy young man who was traveling to the gym in his pick-up truck when he was struck head-on by defendant’s employee who had asleep at the wheel after taking over-the-counter cold medication. As a result of this motor vehicle accident, plaintiff suffered a major tibial plateau compression fracture, fractured eye socket, and fractured ribs. He underwent emergency surgery on his leg fractures. Following a lengthy period of rehabilitation, plaintiff attempted return to his job as a construction supervisor. Unfortunately he was unable to perform the physical aspects of his job due to his ongoing disability and he stopped working after four months. Plaintiff will likely require knee replacement surgery and will require retraining in a career which involves little if any manual labor.

Plaintiff was evaluated by a defendant’s vocational expert who opined that plaintiff will be employable in many capacities such that he will not suffer a significant loss of earning capacity. Plaintiff’s vocational expert disagreed and opined that although plaintiff is able to work he will have limited employment prospects due to the injuries he sustained in the car accident and due to his limited education. As a result, plaintiff’s loss of earning capacity will be significant.

Defendant’s insurer initially offered $175,000.00 at a time when plaintiff’s medical bills exceeded $100,000.00. Three months before the scheduled trial date, the offer was increased to $400,000.00. Each succeeding month thereafter leading to the trial date the insurer increased its offer by $100,000.0 making a final offer of $700,000.00 just before trial. When the trial date was continued on two occasions, due to the Court’s calendar, the parties agreed to submit the case to binding arbitration with full interest on top of any arbitration award granted in the case. The arbitration award, with interest, amounted to approximately $1,100,000.00.

The accident occurred in Carver, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

Plaintiff filed a G.L. c. 93A action against defendant’s insurer, Commerce Insurance Company. Discovery on that case is ongoing. Plaintiff is seeking triple damages for the bad faith insurance settlement practices of Commerce Insurance Company.

Obtaining consistently superb results for our clients is no accident. Our diligent investigation, thorough preparation and dogged litigation techniques ensure our success for you. We are experienced trial lawyers who handle every case as if it were our only case. Insurance companies and defense lawyers know that we will take every case the distance if necessary. There are many personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers who settle every case, no matter what the offer may be. We are not those lawyers. If we do not receive a fair offer of settlement of your case, we will file suit and litigate the case to verdict, if necessary. Only by having seasoned trial lawyers in your corner can you rest assured that your case is being handled at the highest level of care and competence.


For more information on choosing a car accident lawyer, please refer to our page on Personal Injury Caused by a Motor Vehicle Accident.

Details

$1,018,500

Uninsured Motorist

Injuries: The case involves the claims of six family members who suffered personal injuries as a result of a car accident. The most seriously injured plaintiff suffered liver laceration, post-traumatic stress disorder induced dementia.

Amounts of Settlement:

Plaintiff #1: $750,000.00
Plaintiff #2: $150,000.00
Plaintiff #3: $85,000.00
Plaintiff #4: $17,500.00
Plaintiff #5: $15,000.00
Plaintiff #6: $1,000.00

Special Damages: Medical Bills – $27,000.00

Plaintiffs’ Lawyer: Attorney Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Court: All claims settled out of court

Other Useful Information

The six plaintiffs were injured in a car crash in October 1996, when their minivan was struck on the passenger side by an uninsured vehicle which had run a red light. The collision caused the van to roll over three times. The negligent defendant operator was cited for numerous violations, including operating an uninsured vehicle.

Uninsured motorist claims were asserted on behalf of the plaintiffs against the automobile insurance policy on the vehicle in which they were passengers. None of the victims had a personal automobile insurance policy at the time of the accident. Therefore, they could all pursue uninsured claims against the substantial uninsured motorist benefits policy on the minivan.

Plaintiff #1, a sixty-nine year old women previously healthy, independent woman, suffered a liver laceration with internal bleeding. She spent three days in an intensive care unit, after which she was discharged home. Remarkably, she recovered from her personal injuries with one month of the accident. However, during her recuperation, she began to exhibit subtle changes in her mental status indicating brain injury. She became forgetful, confused and disoriented. Over the next six months she exhibited signs of profound dementia which resulted in her having to move in with her children.

She came under the care of a gerentologist, geriatric psychiatrist and neuropsychologist who all felt that she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder which triggered acute onset of dementia. They also stated that as a result of the accident, she will require 24 hour assistance with activities of daily living.

The personal injuries of the five other car accident victims included a variety of orthopedic and self-limited neurological injuries. All of the cases settled following direct negotiations with the uninsured carrier.

Details

$1,000,000

Car Accident

Injuries: Facial and skull fractures

Amount of Settlement: $1,000,000

Court: Norfolk Superior Court

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Attorney Ronald E. Gluck Boston, Massachusetts

Details of the Case

The 20 year old male plaintiff was a passenger in a car which was struck head on by a drunk driver. The collision was so violent that both cars were barely recognizable. Plaintiff suffered severe personal injuries in the form of facial and skull fractures and underwent surgery for placement of plates and screws. As a result of exceptional work by the surgical team, the plaintiff recovered well from his personal injuries.

The defendant drunk driver was convicted of two charges, operating under the influence of alcohol and operating so as to endanger causing personal injuries. He served six months for these offenses.

The lawsuit filed by plaintiff’s attorney against the driver and the restaurant at which the driver had been drinking alleged negligence against each defendant which caused plaintiff’s personal injuries. The restaurant took the position during the early part of the lawsuit that the defendant driver left the restaurant after approximately two and a half hours, having had five beers.

However, through the course of discovery, it was proven by plaintiff’s attorney that the defendant driver paid his initial check and then changed tables on his way out of the restaurant before consuming five more beers and two shots before his ultimate departure after five hours of drinking. The deposition by plaintiff’s attorney of the waitress who served the defendant driver revealed that she served him all of his alcohol and violated her restaurant’s policy on service of alcoholic beverages when she failed to monitor his alcoholic intake and behavior over the five hour period of drinking.

Information obtained in the course of the lawsuit revealed that the restaurant was not busy on the evening of the accident and that the waitress had ample opportunity to observe the behavior of the defendant driver.

The defendant driver sustained serious personal injuries and was hospitalized. Plaintiff’s attorney obtained defendant’s medical records which confirmed a blood alcohol level of .256, which is more than three times the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle. Plaintiff’s expert forensic toxicologist was prepared to testify that the defendant driver would have been demonstrating visible signs of intoxication before he was served his last drink at the restaurant which is the essential element of proof in liquor liability cases.

In the deposition taken by plaintiff’s attorney the defendant driver admitted that he called his girlfriend from the restaurant an hour before he began driving home. In that phone call the girlfriend told him he sounded drunk and should not drive. The defendant driver was then served additional alcoholic beverages at the restaurant before getting into the car to drive home. Less than ten minutes later the defendant driver crossed into the lane of the plaintiff’s vehicle and caused the horrific head on collision causing plaintiff’s personal injuries.

The restaurant’s insurance carrier paid its policy limits of $1 million after plaintiff’s attorney disclosed the expected testimony of the toxicologist and the court assigned the trial date. The driver’s insurance carrier paid its policy limits of $20,000.

Following a period of rehabilitation from his personal injuries, the plaintiff began his education and training to become a sound engineer and has been successful in that pursuit.

For more information on choosing a car accident lawyer, please refer to our page on Personal Injury Caused by a Motor Vehicle Accident.

Details

$1,000,000

Car Accident

Injuries: Multiple bone fractures and surgery, collapsed lung

Amount of Settlement: $1,000,000.00

Special Damages:

Medical expenses:
Plaintiff number 1: $120,000.00
Plaintiff number 2: $10,000.00.

Plaintiffs’ Lawyer: Ronald E. Gluck

Court: Essex Superior Court Settled before trial

Other Useful Information

Plaintiffs were passengers in a car struck by the operator of a pickup truck who crossed a double yellow line causing a head-on collision and severe personal injuries. The motor vehicle accident was clearly the fault of the negligent truck driver.

Plaintiff number 1 was 77 years old. As a result of the car crash, she suffered a fractured hip, which required surgery, along with a collapsed lung. Prior to the accident, she lived independently, which she was unable to do following her recovery from injuries.

Plaintiff number 2 was 65 years old. As a result of the collision, she suffered several personal injuries, including multiple fractures, none requiring surgery. She was left with a tingling sensation in a burning feeling in her major hand which was caused by nerve damage. Both plaintiffs had retired from employment well before this accident happened.

Details

$750,000

Automobile Accident

Injuries: Motor Vehicle Accident; Plaintiff suffered a comminuted femur fracture (shattered thigh bone) which required open reduction and internal fixation. A metal rod was inserted in her leg and it had to be removed approximately one year later. Plaintiff also suffered severe pulmonary fat embolism, which was a severe lung complication, which resulted in several days of coma, and which led to slightly compromised pulmonary function. Plaintiff also suffered post-traumatic stress injuries and recurrent nightmares.

Amount of Settlement: $750,000

Special Damages: Medical expenses: approximately $130,000.00; lost earning capacity: approximately $15,000

Plaintiff’s Counsel: David W. White

Court: Plymouth Superior Court, Settled after two days of mediation.

Other Useful Information

Plaintiff was a seventeen year-old high school student in her senior year when she was injured while riding as a front seat passenger in a friend’s car. The car crash occurred as they were proceeding straight through an intersection with an on-ramp to Route 3 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, when then they were cut off by a left turning pick-up truck. The truck was owned by the defendant construction company, and was being operated by its president, though the accident occurred after working hours.

Plaintiff suffered a severe thigh bone fracture which required open reduction and internal fixation with a metal rod (intermedullary rod). She also suffered a patella contusion which required later arthroscopic surgery. Right after the rod was placed in the plaintiff’s broken leg, the plaintiff suffered a fat embolism which greatly compromised her breathing; she was placed in a coma at Children’s Hospital and was kept on a ventilator for several days. While she was in a coma, she was in critical condition.

Despite her broken leg, plaintiff was able to return to school after several weeks of recuperation, but was precluded from resuming any sports activities. She had previously been an active soccer player. Plaintiff was unable to return to her part-time jobs during this time.

Plaintiff recovered reasonably well from her physical injuries, with minor scarring from her operation, but with persistent knee pain and some compromised pulmonary function. Plaintiff did, however, continue to suffer psychologically from the post-traumatic stress, which required a period of counseling. She had recurrent, intrusive nightmares from the time that she was kept on the ventilator.

Plaintiff brought claims against the driver of the car she was in and the truck driver. The claims against her driver were settled quickly for the policy limits of $50,000. The balance of the settlement was paid by the insurer of the pick-up truck after two days of mediation.

Medical bills had been paid by PIP and by Mass Health. All outstanding insurance and medical liens were compromised for under $20,000.

Additional Notes

The plaintiff almost lost her life in this very serious accident caused by a left-turning vehicle. Fortunately, she was treated in one of the finest pediatric hospitals in Massachusetts.

The driver who caused the accident had been playing golf with his friend all afternoon at a nearby golf club. There was suspicion that he had been drinking, which he denied. In the end, the case was resolved for its full value, even without proving that alcohol may have contributed to the accident.

Details

$750,000

Car Accident

Leg and Ankle Fractures

Details

$697,000

Limousine Liability

Injuries: Lumbar disc herniation with fusion

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $650,000.00

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Other Useful Information

On June 8, 2012, the 24-year-old plaintiff was injured when an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer side swiped his vehicle. Following contact, the tractor-trailer left the scene. Plaintiff contacted the state police and followed the vehicle. Approximately one mile away, the state police pulled the truck over. The Canadian driver claimed she was unaware that her vehicle made contact with plaintiff’s vehicle.

Plaintiff had no immediate complaints following the incident. However, later that day, he began to have low back pain. He went to a local emergency department where he was diagnosed with a back strain.

Plaintiff next saw a doctor approximately six months later, at which time he complained of persistent low back pain with shooting pains into his left leg. He gave a history at that time of persistent low back pain, which he assumed would spontaneously resolve. Several months later, he received an MRI which demonstrated a herniated L5-S1 disc.

For the next twelve months, plaintiff received conservative treatment consisting of acupuncture, physical therapy, steroid injections and opioid medication. None of these treatments helped. Approximately twenty months post incident, he underwent an L5-S1 spinal fusion. Unfortunately, he continued to have persistent low back pain and shooting pain into his left leg postoperatively. Thereafter, he received an additional seven epidural steroid injections which provided only temporary relief.

The case went to mediation shortly before the scheduled trial date. At that time, plaintiff was scheduled to receive a trial surgical spinal cord stimulator to address his ongoing pain.

The case settled at mediation with mediator attorney Richard Corbett.

Details

$697,000

Limousine Liability

Injuries: Pedestrian-Motor vehicle crash resulting in severe degloving facial injuries

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Arbitration Award Plus Settlement

Recovery: $697,000.00

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. Boston

Other Useful Information

In March 2010, our client, a 25-year-old woman, was a member of a bachelorette party that rented a limousine from Entourage Livery, Inc. for a night of barhopping and celebration. The group had purchased a “VIP Package” which entitled them to door-to-door service. At the time of the incident, the air temperature was in the mid-thirties. There was a wind-driven rain blowing at about 25 miles per hour.

None of the women had rain gear, jackets or umbrellas, as they had expected door-to-door service. Immediately prior to the incident, the defendant limo driver deposited the group across the street from the bar to which they were going. Each of the women got out of the limo and darted across Dorchester Avenue.

Plaintiff was the sixth woman to run across the street. Unfortunately, she did not make it. She was struck by a car driven by co-defendant as she ran across Dorchester Avenue. She sustained massive facial lacerations as her head struck the windshield of the vehicle

Plaintiff testified she looked but did not see the vehicle until her face was planted in its windshield. Defendant driver testified he never saw plaintiff in the roadway until she was on his hood. Neither saw the other due to the severe weather and poor visibility at the time of the crash.

Plaintiff suffered severe facial lacerations to her mouth, chin and cheeks. Miraculously, she only suffered a non-displaced tibial fracture which required no treatment. She underwent three laceration repair/scar revision surgeries and was left with moderate facial scarring.

Entourage Livery, Inc. had an online training manual which stated that its drivers were never allowed to drop passengers in a place which would require them to cross the street to get to their destination. The manual stated that the driver should maneuver the vehicle so that passengers were dropped directly in front of their desired venue. Defendant claimed this was a customer service rule, not a safety policy.

Defendant moved for Summary Judgment on the theory that the company owed plaintiff no duty of care once she was discharged in a “place of safety,” namely, on the sidewalk across the street from their destination. The Court denied defendants’ motion for Summary Judgment.

Plaintiff and Entourage Livery, Inc. agreed to submit the case to binding arbitration. Plaintiff settled separately with co-defendant operator of the vehicle which struck her for $25,000.00. Following a one-day arbitration which focused heavily on defendants’ legal defenses on scope and duty of care, the arbitrator found for the plaintiff, awarded $750,000 and reduced that amount by the 20% for plaintiff’s comparative negligence. Prior to the arbitration, the parties negotiated interest of 12% on the award. After adjustments for plaintiff’s comparative negligence and the 12% interest, the award totaled $672,000. Plaintiff’s net recovery totaled $697,000.

Details

$575,000

Personal Injury

Injuries: Multiple rib fractures, lacerated spleen, vertebral fractures, hip fracture.

Amount of Recovery: $575,000.00

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, MA

Court: Middlesex Superior Court

Other Useful Information

The 33-year old plaintiff was exiting the Massachusetts Turnpike in Springfield, Massachusetts, when his car was struck broadside by a delivery truck operated by defendant. Plaintiff suffered fractures of all of his ribs on the left-hand side, as well as a fractured pelvis, fractured vertebral processes and a closed head injury. Aggressive investigation revealed several witnesses who observed the defendant operator drive through a red light at the time of the collision. Defendant was an employee of a South Dakota corporation, which was delivering playsets to a local retailer. Plaintiff was disabled from his job for approximately four months and returned to his position halftime for another six months. After nine months of total and partial disability, he returned to his full-time duties. Plaintiff was left with a slight limp and an inability to lift heavy objects with his left side.

Details

$477,989

Personal Injury

Injuries: Brain Hemorrhage, Traumatic Brain Injury

Amount of Settlement: $477,989.08

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Attorney Marc L. Breakstone Boston, MA

Details of the Case

The plaintiff in this case was a 62-year old stay-at-home dad. He was involved in a car accident when his car was hit head-on by defendant at a high speed in Topsfield, Massachusetts.  As a result of the head-on collision, plaintiff was hospitalized at Beverly Hospital for six days.  He was diagnosed with a concussion and released.

Approximately one week later, he developed significant headaches. He was rushed back the hospital where they found that the car accident had caused a brain hemorrhage.

The plaintiff was rushed into emergency surgery for removal of the bleeding inside his skull.  He underwent a burr hole procedure where holes were drilled in his skull to release the blood and pressure on his brain.

Following the surgery, plaintiff noted difficulty with language and memory.  The traumatic brain injury caused mild cognitive deficits, which were documented on neuropsychological examination.

The case was resolved at arbitration with an award in the amount of $477,989.08.  The arbitrator was Jeffrey Stern of Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen.  The arbitrator found 100% fault against the driver of the car that caused the head-on collision.


For more information on choosing a car accident lawyer, please refer to our page on Massachusetts Personal Injury Cases Caused by a Motor Vehicle Accident.

Read about some our other Massachusetts car accident and truck accident cases.

Details

Pedestrian Accident Cases

$7,100,000

Bus Accident

Injuries: Right leg amputation above-the-knee, severe phantom limb pain.

Amount of Judgment: $7,100,000

Special Damages: Medical expenses: approximately $180,000.00; lost earning capacity: approximately $40,000.00

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston

Date of Verdict: December 4, 2008

Other Useful Information

On September 13, 2005, plaintiff, aged 58, was crossing Washington Street in the South End in a crosswalk when she was struck by the left front corner of an MBTA bus. At the point of impact, plaintiff was approximately 28-feet across the four-lane street. She was crossing with a crossing signal. The MBTA bus came up from behind and to her right. The bus had a green light and was turning left across the crosswalk.

The left front corner of the bus struck plaintiff in the right rear and knocked her to the ground. The left front tire ran over plaintiff’s right upper thigh. Plaintiff was rushed to a local emergency department where her right lower extremity was amputated approximately eight inches below the hip.

Liability was disputed by defendant MBTA. Defendant claimed the plaintiff negligently failed to see or hear the bus before it struck her. At trial, defendant argued that other pedestrians had seen and/or heard the bus and retreated to the sidewalk, but that plaintiff continued in the crosswalk and walked into the side of the bus.

The only independent witness who testified at trial stated that upon hearing the impact of the bus on the pedestrian, the witness observed the driver looking to his right and speaking to a passenger as the bus as turning left. The bus driver testified at trial that he continually scanned the roadway, looking left, forward and right, but never saw plaintiff until after the impact. It was undisputed that plaintiff had been in the crosswalk for approximately nine seconds at the time she was hit. It was further undisputed that she was approximately halfway across Washington Street at that time.

The incident was investigated by the MBTA Transit Police. The driver was cited by the MBTA Transit Police for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

At trial, the driver admitted the accident was his fault. The MBTA liability expert admitted the accident was the driver’s fault. The MBTA Transit Police officer admitted that the accident was a result of the defendant driver’s failure to yield to plaintiff in the crosswalk, and the MBTA bus operations spokesperson admitted that the driver failed to adhere to MBTA bus training guidelines in the manner in which he executed the left-hand turn. Notwithstanding these admissions, the MBTA maintained throughout trial that the accident was the fault of plaintiff.

Following a two-week trial, the jury deliberated for two days and returned a verdict for plaintiff. The jury found the MBTA 100% at fault.

Defendant MBTA disputed the extent of plaintiff’s damages. Expert witnesses were presented on both sides with regard to the future life care needs of plaintiff. It was undisputed that plaintiff had twice been fitted for prosthetic limbs, but was unable to utilize the prosthetic limbs because of her severe phantom limb pain and stump pain. As a result, plaintiff will be restricted to a wheelchair for the remainder of her life. She will require personal care attendant assistance with all activities of daily living.

The MBTA filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied. The MBTA then appealed the case. The Appeals Court affirmed the judgment, and the MBTA sought further appellate review from the Supreme Judicial Court. That petition was also denied, resulting in a complete affirmation of the judgment.

The MBTA, in its appeals, sought to overturn the verdict, and to avoid pre-trial and post-trial interest. The MBTA argued that amendments to the state’s sovereign immunity law were retroactive, but the Appeals Court rejected that argument.

Details

$2,150,000

Pedestrian Accident

Injuries: Polytrauma and death by car strike

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $2.15 million

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Other Useful Information

On November 24, 2015, the 73-year-old retired plaintiff and his buddy were exiting a suburban strip mall store when an 87-year old driver lost control of her car, careened across the sidewalk and struck and killed plaintiff. Plaintiff suffered massive internal injuries resulting in his immediate death. His friend, and one other pedestrian were seriously injured. The elderly driver had no idea why she lost control of the vehicle. The evidence suggested that she hit the accelerator instead of the brake as she maneuvered through the mall parking area. The gruesome crash was captured on multiple surveillance cameras.

Plaintiff was prepared to prove that the owner of the shopping plaza failed to provide appropriate protective measures for pedestrians at or about the store’s entrance. Over the years, the owner had placed more than 30 bollards at the rear and side of the shopping complex to protect the building, delivery bays and mechanical structures from vehicle strikes. Bollards had also been placed at the entrance of another retail store in the mall, but none in front of the subject entrance.

Plaintiff’s engineering expert was prepared to testify that the failure to provide pedestrian protection at this location was a breach of industry standards for providing safe walkways for pedestrians.

Details

$1,375,000

Pedestrian Accident

Injuries: Multiple fractures, traumatic brain injury

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $1.375 million

Date: May 2016

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Mediator: Paul A. Finn Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc.

Other Useful Information

On August 12, 2014, the 77-year-old plaintiff was crossing Dudley Street in Roxbury when he was struck by an MBTA bus. The on-board video showed that plaintiff was visible to the operator of the bus for at least three seconds before the driver took any evasive action to avoid striking plaintiff. Analysis of the video also showed the bus was traveling above the speed limit. Further, the bus driver reported to the MBTA Police that the pedestrian had run out from between parked cars. The video made clear that plaintiff stepped off the corner into the street and did not walk between parked cars. The video also demonstrated that he was not running.

Plaintiff had been a healthy, vibrant retired master barber who lived an active life prior to the incident. Following the incident, plaintiff was hospitalized and/or in rehabilitation hospitals for two months. After his release form the hospital, plaintiff demonstrated significant cognitive decline as a result of his traumatic brain injury.

The case was settled at mediation with Attorney Paul Finn of CMCI.

Details

$1,250,000

Negligence

Injuries: Death

Settlement: $1,250,000 (Policy Limits)

Date: November, 2015

Attorney: Ronald E. Gluck, Esq. Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C., Boston (For the plaintiff)

Case Description: Video Proves That Pedestrian Was Struck in Crosswalk and Killed

Other Useful Information

The 33 year old victim was the mother of a 13 year old boy who lived in Kenya. She had moved to the United States four years prior to her death. While here, she married and established herself in the Boston community. Her goal was to bring her son to live with her in Massachusetts. She worked two jobs for three years to save money so that she would have a safe and secure home for her son to live in once he was allowed to immigrate to the United States. He was scheduled to come to the United States one month after she was killed.

On the date of the incident the victim left her house at 5:00 in the morning to walk to the bus to go to her job as a nursing assistant. A few minutes after she left the house she was hit by a car and killed. Due to the early morning hour that the fatality occurred there were no witnesses to the incident. Police came to the scene and the driver that hit her stayed at the scene and identified himself. However, he did not provide the police with any specifics as to how the incident occurred. The day after the incident the police obtained a copy of a supermarket parking lot security video which captured the intersection in question.

Police and the District Attorney would not reveal to the family’s attorney, Ronald E. Gluck of Breakstone, White and Gluck of Boston, what was shown on the video and requested that the supermarket not reveal the contents of the video due to a pending criminal investigation into the incident. The defendant driver would provide no testimony or information due to the potential criminal action against him stemming from the incident. As a result, the victim’s family had no idea for over one year how it came to be that she was hit by the car and killed.

Month by month Mr. Gluck contacted the director of security at the supermarket to inform him of the importance of the video to the family. Each month he refused to turn over the video. However, when the director of security for the supermarket left his job, efforts were made to persuade the new director to turn over the video. The new director agreed that it was unjust that the police and District Attorney knew how the innocent victim was killed but would not provide the information to the family. He agreed to bring the video to his deposition. At that time Mr. Gluck and the lawyer representing the driver in the civil law suit brought against him had an opportunity to see, for the first time, how the incident occurred.

The video showed that the woman was crossing the street in the crosswalk when the driver plowed into her when she was one step away from reaching the sidewalk. The defendant driver’s pickup truck propelled her into the air. She landed in the roadway with the pickup truck on top of her chest.

Within two weeks of the production of the video the defendant’s insurer offered its policy limits. The victim’s son, who continues to reside in Kenya, received 75% of the net proceeds from the settlement. The victim’s husband of two years received 25%. The son’s proceeds were placed into a structured settlement which will afford him a good education and financial security for the rest of his life.

Details

$1,200,000

Car Accident

Injuries: Knee injuries requiring multiple surgeries; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Amount of Settlement: $1,200,000 one week before trial

Special Damages: Medical Expenses approximately $150,000; Lost Earnings approximately $50,000

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Attorney Ronald E. Gluck Boston, Massachusetts

Details of the Case

The plaintiff was a thirty-one year old school teacher who was walking on a sidewalk of a privately owned strip mall when the elderly defendant attempted to park her car in a diagonal parking space. The defendant negligently accelerated the car onto the sidewalk plowing the plaintiff through a plate glass window of a store.

At the deposition of the defendant driver she showed no remorse and tried to avoid responsibility for her mistake by claiming that her car mal-functioned which she claimed caused her to accelerate over the curb onto the sidewalk. There was no evidence that her claim was true and this defense was dropped by her lawyer. It seemed that the defendant driver’s biggest concern at her deposition was that her license not be taken away for her careless driving.

At the mediation that took place shortly before the scheduled trial date, Attorney Ronald E. Gluck who represented the teacher was able to negotiate a significant settlement for his client. The driver’s insurance company was in a weak negotiating position because it was clear that the driver would make a bad witness in front of a jury because she expressed no willingness to take responsibility for her actions which increased the likelihood of a large verdict in the plaintiff’s favor.

As a result of the car accident, the plaintiff suffered a tibial plateau compression fracture, tears of three of the four major ligaments in her knee and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Initially, she underwent open reduction internal fixation surgery for repair of the tibial plateau compression fracture. She was hospitalized for nine days and then was an inpatient at a rehabilitation facility for two weeks. She then underwent rigorous physical therapy.

Approximately one year later, she underwent surgery for removal of hardware. Two years post accident she underwent reconstructive surgery to repair the three torn ligaments followed by another round of physical therapy.

Prior to the car accident, plaintiff had an outstanding record as a teacher. In addition, she worked in the summer for public television as the science and math coordinator for a children’s television program. She was substantially unable to engage in her employment for approximately six months. She returned to both jobs using a cane for six months. Plaintiff returned to her pre-accident level of excellent performance through hard work and determination. She struggled with recurring nightmares and accident related anxiety on a decreasing level over time.

It is expected that the plaintiff will require knee replacement surgery within the next seven to ten years and probably a second knee replacement in the course of her lifetime.

Plaintiff’s medical bills at the time of the settlement were approximately $150,000.00 which resulted in a health insurance lien of $46,200. Plaintiff suffered no actual lost earnings. Her loss of earning capacity was approximately $50,000.00.

Plaintiff enjoyed skiing, rollerblading, and dancing prior to the car accident. It is unlikely that she will be able to engage in these activities as a result of ongoing difficulties with her leg. She is able to engage in other activities that she enjoys such as traveling, walking her dogs, working and caring for her child.

Details

$1,100,000

Car Accident

Injuries: Closed head injury; Multiple leg fractures requiring open reduction internal fixation

Amount of Settlement: $1,100,000

Special Damages: Medical Expenses more than $300,000

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Attorney David W. White Boston, Massachusetts

Details of the Case

Motor Vehicle Accident; Plaintiff suffered a comminuted femur fracture (shattered thigh bone) which required open reduction and internal fixation. A metal rod was inserted in her leg and it had to be removed approximately one year later. Plaintiff also suffered severe pulmonary fat embolism, which was a severe lung complication, which resulted in several days of coma, and which led to slightly compromised pulmonary function. Plaintiff also suffered post-traumatic stress injuries and recurrent nightmares.

Information

Plaintiff was a seventeen-year-old high school student in her senior year when she was injured while riding as a front seat passenger in a friend’s car. The car crash occurred as they were proceeding straight through an intersection with an on-ramp to Route 3 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, when then they were cut off by a left turning pick-up truck. The truck was owned by the defendant construction company, and was being operated by its president, though the accident occurred after working hours.

Plaintiff suffered a severe thigh bone fracture which required open reduction and internal fixation with a metal rod (intermedullary rod). She also suffered a patella contusion which required later arthroscopic surgery. Right after the rod was placed in the plaintiff’s broken leg, the plaintiff suffered a fat embolism which greatly compromised her breathing; she was placed in a coma at Children’s Hospital and was kept on a ventilator for several days. While she was in a coma, she was in critical condition.

Despite her broken leg, plaintiff was able to return to school after several weeks of recuperation, but was precluded from resuming any sports activities. She had previously been an active soccer player. Plaintiff was unable to return to her part-time jobs during this time.

Plaintiff recovered reasonably well from her physical injuries, with minor scarring from her operation, but with persistent knee pain and some compromised pulmonary function. Plaintiff did, however, continue to suffer psychologically from the post-traumatic stress, which required a period of counseling. She had recurrent, intrusive nightmares from the time that she was kept on the ventilator.

Plaintiff brought claims against the driver of the car she was in and the truck driver. The claims against her driver were settled quickly for the policy limits of $50,000. The balance of the settlement was paid by the insurer of the pick-up truck after two days of mediation.

Medical bills had been paid by PIP and by Mass Health. All outstanding insurance and medical liens were compromised for under $20,000.

Details

$697,000

Limousine Liability

Injuries: Pedestrian-Motor vehicle crash resulting in severe degloving facial injuries

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Arbitration Award Plus Settlement

Recovery: $697,000.00

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. Boston

Other Useful Information

In March 2010, our client, a 25-year-old woman, was a member of a bachelorette party that rented a limousine from Entourage Livery, Inc. for a night of barhopping and celebration. The group had purchased a “VIP Package” which entitled them to door-to-door service. At the time of the incident, the air temperature was in the mid-thirties. There was a wind-driven rain blowing at about 25 miles per hour.

None of the women had rain gear, jackets or umbrellas, as they had expected door-to-door service. Immediately prior to the incident, the defendant limo driver deposited the group across the street from the bar to which they were going. Each of the women got out of the limo and darted across Dorchester Avenue.

Plaintiff was the sixth woman to run across the street. Unfortunately, she did not make it. She was struck by a car driven by co-defendant as she ran across Dorchester Avenue. She sustained massive facial lacerations as her head struck the windshield of the vehicle

Plaintiff testified she looked but did not see the vehicle until her face was planted in its windshield. Defendant driver testified he never saw plaintiff in the roadway until she was on his hood. Neither saw the other due to the severe weather and poor visibility at the time of the crash.

Plaintiff suffered severe facial lacerations to her mouth, chin and cheeks. Miraculously, she only suffered a non-displaced tibial fracture which required no treatment. She underwent three laceration repair/scar revision surgeries and was left with moderate facial scarring.

Entourage Livery, Inc. had an online training manual which stated that its drivers were never allowed to drop passengers in a place which would require them to cross the street to get to their destination. The manual stated that the driver should maneuver the vehicle so that passengers were dropped directly in front of their desired venue. Defendant claimed this was a customer service rule, not a safety policy.

Defendant moved for Summary Judgment on the theory that the company owed plaintiff no duty of care once she was discharged in a “place of safety,” namely, on the sidewalk across the street from their destination. The Court denied defendants’ motion for Summary Judgment.

Plaintiff and Entourage Livery, Inc. agreed to submit the case to binding arbitration. Plaintiff settled separately with co-defendant operator of the vehicle which struck her for $25,000.00. Following a one-day arbitration which focused heavily on defendants’ legal defenses on scope and duty of care, the arbitrator found for the plaintiff, awarded $750,000 and reduced that amount by the 20% for plaintiff’s comparative negligence. Prior to the arbitration, the parties negotiated interest of 12% on the award. After adjustments for plaintiff’s comparative negligence and the 12% interest, the award totaled $672,000. Plaintiff’s net recovery totaled $697,000.

Details

Bicycle Accident Cases

$3,000,000

Bicycle Accident

Injuries: Skull fractures, traumatic brain injury, multiple fractures, internal injuries

Amount of Settlement: $3,000,000

Plaintiff’s Attorney: David W. White, Boston

Details of the Case

The minor plaintiff was riding her bicycle to school when she was struck by an on-coming, large pick-up truck. Accident reconstruction indicated the truck had moved over into the breakdown lane where the plaintiff was riding. The mirror of the truck struck her head, causing severe skull fractures and intracranial bleeding. She sustained multiple other fractures and internal injuries. At the time of the collision, the roads were clear and dry, it was daylight, direct sunlight was not a factor, and the sightlines for the truck were excellent. In short, there was no reason why the driver should not have seen the cyclist; the liability was very clear.

Plaintiff’s injuries were severe. She was Med-Flighted to the local trauma hospital where she remained for just over three weeks in the trauma intensive care unit. She was then transferred to a rehabilitation hospital where she was inpatient for two months. After discharge she continued with intensive therapies focused on restoring cognitive functions, physical strength and coordination.

Plaintiff was able to return to public school the following year in a special needs classroom. She has begun participating in sports and a number of social activities, though her rehabilitation still has a considerable way to go. Plaintiff is fortunate to have the amazing support of her loving family who have dedicated themselves to her recovery.

Medical bills exceeded $1,000,000. Medical liens were reduced by negotiation. A portion of the settlement funds were placed in a structured settlement, and the balance was placed in a special needs trust.

The case was settled prior to suit for the full limits of the insurance liability policies.

Details

$1,800,000

Bicyclist Hit in Crosswalk

Case information not available.
Details

$450,000

Bicycle Accident

Case information not available.
Details

$350,000

Cyclist Hit By Driver

Client Represented by: Attorney Ronald E. Gluck

Amount of Settlement: $350,000

Injuries: Hip and pelvic injuries, including multiple displaced fractures.

Details of the Case: In May 2014, our client, a 59-year-old cyclist, met members of his cycling club at an elementary school in Concord, Massachusetts. The group was planning to take a 28-mile bike ride. As our client followed the other cyclists out of the parking lot and onto the long driveway leading to the street, there was a four-way stop sign.

Our client came to a full stop at his stop sign at the end of the driveway and then proceeded into the intersection to make a left turn onto the nearby street. A driver rolled straight through his stop sign while our client was in the intersection, striking and slamming him to the ground. Our client suffered serious injuries.

The driver was cited by Concord Police for failing to come to a complete stop at the stop sign and for proceeding into the intersection before it was safe to do so.   In spite of this citation and eye witness testimony that he did not stop at the stop sign, the driver testified that he did stop and that the cyclist rode into his vehicle.  His testimony was proven to be not believable through depositions taken by Mr. Gluck of the witness and police.

Our client was physically fit at the time of the accident. He taught at a private school for more than a decade and lived on a farm where he woke up early to feed horses and tend to the farm every day.

After the accident, our client was transported to a local hospital and was then transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital.  He was hospitalized for five days during which time he underwent major surgery with placement of a great deal of metal to piece back together his shattered pelvis and hip area. He was transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital for an additional 13 days and was unable to engage in most of his usual activities for the next six months, including tending to his farm. Family members had to change their schedules to handle these responsibilities. After undergoing a lengthy period of rehabilitation he was able to return to most of his usual activities.

The case was litigated for 18 months. Six months before the scheduled trial date a mediation took place at which the insurance company for the driver made an inadequate offer of settlement which our client rejected. Over the next several months the final steps were taken to ready the case for trial. Two weeks before the scheduled trial date, the same insurance company more than doubled its offer and the case settled.


About Attorney Ron Gluck

Attorney Ronald E. Gluck has practiced law in Boston for more than 35 years, specializing in personal injury cases. He has been consistently recognized for his verdicts and settlements, including as a top rated personal injury attorney in the Super Lawyers ratings, which are published annually by Boston Magazine.

Details

$300,000

Bicycle Accident

Case information not available.
Details

$250,000

Bicycle Accident

Total Settlement and Award: $250,000

Case Handled by:
David W. White
It was a beautiful summer day in July 2008. Our client was riding his bicycle from his home to work, a route of approximately 19 miles. He rode this route to and from work for several reasons: He liked the exercise, he liked saving the environment and the gas, and, most important of all, he was training for the Pan Mass Challenge which he had ridden for several years.The time was approximately seven in the morning, the sun was just peeking through the trees, the roads were dry and there was very little traffic. Our client was an experienced cyclist, and he obeyed all of the rules of the road. In addition, he was wearing brightly colored clothing and, of course, his helmet.

As he traveled through Framingham, he entered a three-way intersection (he was going straight, traffic was coming from his right), a motorist gunned his way into the intersection, striking our client and throwing him the road. Liability was very clear: the motorist not only had a stop sign, he had a duty to yield to on-coming traffic in the three-way intersection even without the stop sign. The only excuse the motorist could offer was that the sun was in his eyes. This was an incredible excuse, considering the sun was still rising directly behind him, and was probably not even over the trees yet.

Our client suffered a fracture in his low back and a serious shoulder injury. The low back injury required the wearing of a body brace for a few months, and the shoulder injury required surgical repair. Our client was out of work for six weeks, then slowly returned to his job over the next six weeks after that.

Claims were made with two insurance companies—the liability carrier for the negligent motorist, and the underinsured motorist for the cyclist. There was also the claim for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits against the responsible vehicle.

The bodily injury carrier (the first insurance company) initially resisted the claim, contending that the client was on the wrong side of the road, and contending the sun was in the insured driver’s eyes. Our investigation included gathering a statement from an independent witness who confirmed that our client was definitely riding on the right side of the road, and that the motorist accelerated straight into him even though the motorist had a stop sign. Investigation also included gathering basic astronomical data which showed the angle of the sun (technically the altitude and the azimuth). Simply put, unless the laws of physics were somehow suspended just before the accident, the sun was not in the driver’s eyes. The company paid its policy limits of $100,000.

The underinsured carrier would not agree to pay its policy limits, so arbitration was required. Liability was not contested at the arbitration, but damages were. The insurance company’s arguments were rejected by the arbitrator, who awarded the full $150,000 in benefits.

Our client was doing everything properly at the time of the bike accident. He was dressed for safety and visibility, and he was observing all of the rules of the road. Unfortunately, it appears the driver simply failed to look for on-coming traffic, which was the sole cause of this serious accident.

The good news: Our client is back on his bike, and has resumed riding the Pan Mass Challenge.

IMPORTANT LESSON FOR ALL CYCLISTS: You may not be able to prevent an accident, but you can make sure that you have adequate insurance. The most important insurance you can buy is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. The insurance is very inexpensive for the benefits provided. For more information, see our page What Every Massachusetts Bicyclist Needs to Know About Car Insurance.

Details

$250,000

Bicycle Accident

Settlement amount: $250,000, policy limits

Case handled by: David White

Plaintiff’s injuries: Concussion; Face and neck lacerations with scarring; neck and back sprain; dental injuries; temporomandibular joint (TMJ) injury; severe wrist sprain.

Special damages: Approximately $55,000 in medical bills; significant lost earnings during disability.

Plaintiff was all set to enjoy a hundred mile training ride with a buddy on a beautiful summer day. As they were traveling through the suburbs of Boston on a narrow country lane, an angry driver pulled along-side and started screaming that the cyclists should get off the road. She fell back, then passed quickly, forcing the other cyclist off the road. Plaintiff chased the offending vehicle to get the license plate. As he neared, the driver slammed on her brakes and stopped short. The plaintiff was unable to slow in time, and went right through the back windshield. He suffered severe personal injuries and his bicycle was destroyed.

Plaintiff was transported to the local hospital by ambulance. He had loss of memory up to the time he was being treated in the Emergency Department. He was hospitalized for two days before being released to home in a hard collar for his neck sprain and in a splint for his wrist and hand injuries. Plaintiff’s treatment included occupational and physical therapy for the hand, wrist, neck, back and TMJ injuries, and dental treatment to replace a fractured tooth.

The driver was arrested and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (the car), and negligent operation of her motor vehicle. Because of the criminal charges, the insurance company defended the claim under a “reservation of rights.” The insurance company contended that if the accident was caused deliberately, then only the minimal policy limits of $20,000 (versus the full policy limits of $100,000) would be available. Accordingly, the case moved slowly since the question regarding intent would not be resolved until the criminal trial.

The defendant chose to reject the plea offer made by the prosecuting attorney, and the criminal case went to trial. The jury found the defendant guilty on both counts, but specifically found that the accident was not caused intentionally, but rather by recklessness. As a result of that finding, the liability insurance carrier promptly offered its full policy limits of $100,000.

Remaining to be resolved was the plaintiff’s claim for underinsured motorist benefits against his own insurance company. Fortunately, the plaintiff had $250,000 in underinsured motorist benefits. The policy limits were offered after a brief period of negotiation and supplementation of medical records and bills. The settlement would likely have been significantly greater, but it was limited by the amount of insurance coverage available.

Plaintiff recovered well from the concussion and physical injuries, though he is left with scars on his face and neck that will need treatment at some point.

This case illustrates why cyclists should make sure their own auto insurance policies have adequate coverage for accidents like this. Read our article on how you can protect yourself with your automobile insurance.


From the Client:

“David White was absolutely terrific in handling my case a few years back and my wife’s this year. Dealing with David is a totally seamless affair – he regularly communicates with you, provides superb counsel and is simply an easy person with whom to work. We were very satisfied with our respective outcomes and I highly recommend him.”

Details

$115,000

Dooring Bicycle Accident

Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone.

Amount of Settlement: $115,000

Injuries: Serious dental fracture

Details of the Case: In September 2011, our client was the victim of a bicycle dooring accident in Brookline, Massachusetts and suffered serious dental injuries.

Our client was traveling westbound in a bike lane on Beacon Street, when suddenly and without warning, the driver of a parked car opened the door, directly into our client’s path. The driver did not look prior to opening her car door.  Our client had no time to avoid the door.

As the operator of a motor vehicle, the driver had a duty to use reasonable care in opening her car door so as to not interfere with the path of a bicyclist. G.L. c. 90, § 14 (“No person shall open a door on a motor vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of other traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians.”) The driver admitted at the scene that she had not seen our client on her bike before opening her car door.

Our client was struck with the door face first. Over the next few days, she was treated for very serious dental fractures at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and two dental offices. She later required additional treatment from an endodontics specialist.

Over the next two years, our client underwent numerous dental procedures to treat injuries from the bicycle crash. She had several teeth extracted and received implants. She required dental splints, root canals, ultrasonic file irrigation procedures and whitening. She was left with functional limitations to her front teeth, including an inability to chew tough or hard food without pain.

At the time of settlement, our client had incurred $23,000 in past medical expenses. There were also future medical expenses.

Details

$100,000

Careless Cyclist

Total Settlement: $100,000

Case Handled by: David W. White

Our client was participating in a local sprint triathlon. She was on the bike leg of the race, traveling on a town road in southeast Massachusetts. Everything was going fine until a rider, who was not part of the event but who was riding on the same street, decided to take a right hand turn from the main road to the side street. He did not signal his turn or the fact that he was slowing. Instead, he just slowed suddenly and cut across the path of our client. Both riders crashed to the pavement. Coincidentally, a detail police officer, who was working on the event, was right there. He recorded the basic facts of the crash, including the identity of the errant rider.

Our client suffered a severe fracture of her forearm, which required surgical repair (open reduction with internal fixation by means of a metal plate). After a period or recovery from the surgery, our client went through a course of physical therapy to regain strength and range of motion.

After our office was retained, we immediately sent an investigator to talk to the negligent cyclist. Although he did not give a signed statement, he did admit to the investigator that he did not turn to look before making his turn; and that he did not signal his turn before making it. In Massachusetts, cyclists must obey all of the rules of the road. He violated the rules of the road by failing to signal his turn.

The insurance company initially resisted the claim and blamed our client for the accident. The adjuster claimed that the accident was caused by our client’s negligence. However, the adjuster was forced to back down when she was given a copy of the insured’s statement.

Because the metal plate continued to irritate our client’s elbow, and also because it limited the recovery of her full range of motion, she had a second surgery to remove the plate. She had a brief round of physical therapy to complete her treatment, and regained good function in her arm.

Fortunately, her work schedule allowed her to work from home, so time lost from work was fairly minimal even though her rehabilitation was extensive. In all, the medical bills were approximately $42,000.

Unfortunately, the cyclist responsible for the accident had only $100,000 in liability coverage. Once the treatment was concluded, the insurance adjuster offered the full policy limits to settle the claim. The matter was concluded less than ten months after the accident had occurred.

Accidents involving two bicycles are not a major cause of cycling injuries, but that does not mean they are infrequent. Riders need to be aware of other cyclists on the road, to obey the rules of the road, and to take care to signal their intentions with hand signals and verbal cues. In addition, riding against traffic is extremely dangerous, and puts yourself and others at risk for serious injury.

About our Experience: Cycling Accidents

Read more about our attorneys’ experience representing cyclists who have been injured by the negligence of others.


From the Client:

“David White was absolutely terrific in handling my case a few years back and my wife’s this year. Dealing with David is a totally seamless affair – he regularly communicates with you, provides superb counsel and is simply an easy person with whom to work. We were very satisfied with our respective outcomes and I highly recommend him.”

Details

MBTA Accidents

$7,100,000

Bus Accident

Injuries: Right leg amputation above-the-knee, severe phantom limb pain.

Amount of Judgment: $7,100,000

Special Damages: Medical expenses: approximately $180,000.00; lost earning capacity: approximately $40,000.00

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston

Date of Verdict: December 4, 2008

Other Useful Information

On September 13, 2005, plaintiff, aged 58, was crossing Washington Street in the South End in a crosswalk when she was struck by the left front corner of an MBTA bus. At the point of impact, plaintiff was approximately 28-feet across the four-lane street. She was crossing with a crossing signal. The MBTA bus came up from behind and to her right. The bus had a green light and was turning left across the crosswalk.

The left front corner of the bus struck plaintiff in the right rear and knocked her to the ground. The left front tire ran over plaintiff’s right upper thigh. Plaintiff was rushed to a local emergency department where her right lower extremity was amputated approximately eight inches below the hip.

Liability was disputed by defendant MBTA. Defendant claimed the plaintiff negligently failed to see or hear the bus before it struck her. At trial, defendant argued that other pedestrians had seen and/or heard the bus and retreated to the sidewalk, but that plaintiff continued in the crosswalk and walked into the side of the bus.

The only independent witness who testified at trial stated that upon hearing the impact of the bus on the pedestrian, the witness observed the driver looking to his right and speaking to a passenger as the bus as turning left. The bus driver testified at trial that he continually scanned the roadway, looking left, forward and right, but never saw plaintiff until after the impact. It was undisputed that plaintiff had been in the crosswalk for approximately nine seconds at the time she was hit. It was further undisputed that she was approximately halfway across Washington Street at that time.

The incident was investigated by the MBTA Transit Police. The driver was cited by the MBTA Transit Police for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

At trial, the driver admitted the accident was his fault. The MBTA liability expert admitted the accident was the driver’s fault. The MBTA Transit Police officer admitted that the accident was a result of the defendant driver’s failure to yield to plaintiff in the crosswalk, and the MBTA bus operations spokesperson admitted that the driver failed to adhere to MBTA bus training guidelines in the manner in which he executed the left-hand turn. Notwithstanding these admissions, the MBTA maintained throughout trial that the accident was the fault of plaintiff.

Following a two-week trial, the jury deliberated for two days and returned a verdict for plaintiff. The jury found the MBTA 100% at fault.

Defendant MBTA disputed the extent of plaintiff’s damages. Expert witnesses were presented on both sides with regard to the future life care needs of plaintiff. It was undisputed that plaintiff had twice been fitted for prosthetic limbs, but was unable to utilize the prosthetic limbs because of her severe phantom limb pain and stump pain. As a result, plaintiff will be restricted to a wheelchair for the remainder of her life. She will require personal care attendant assistance with all activities of daily living.

The MBTA filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied. The MBTA then appealed the case. The Appeals Court affirmed the judgment, and the MBTA sought further appellate review from the Supreme Judicial Court. That petition was also denied, resulting in a complete affirmation of the judgment.

The MBTA, in its appeals, sought to overturn the verdict, and to avoid pre-trial and post-trial interest. The MBTA argued that amendments to the state’s sovereign immunity law were retroactive, but the Appeals Court rejected that argument.

Details

$1,375,000

Pedestrian Accident

Injuries: Multiple fractures, traumatic brain injury

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $1.375 million

Date: May 2016

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Mediator: Paul A. Finn Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc.

Other Useful Information

On August 12, 2014, the 77-year-old plaintiff was crossing Dudley Street in Roxbury when he was struck by an MBTA bus. The on-board video showed that plaintiff was visible to the operator of the bus for at least three seconds before the driver took any evasive action to avoid striking plaintiff. Analysis of the video also showed the bus was traveling above the speed limit. Further, the bus driver reported to the MBTA Police that the pedestrian had run out from between parked cars. The video made clear that plaintiff stepped off the corner into the street and did not walk between parked cars. The video also demonstrated that he was not running.

Plaintiff had been a healthy, vibrant retired master barber who lived an active life prior to the incident. Following the incident, plaintiff was hospitalized and/or in rehabilitation hospitals for two months. After his release form the hospital, plaintiff demonstrated significant cognitive decline as a result of his traumatic brain injury.

The case was settled at mediation with Attorney Paul Finn of CMCI.

Details

Construction Site and Premises Liability Cases

$7,500,000

Propane Gas Explosion

Injuries: Severe explosion injuries – second and third degree burns over 80% of body, 97 minutes of conscience pain and suffering. Punitive damages.

Judge or Jury: Settled at mediation

Recovery: $7,500,000

Special Damages: $63,000

Plaintiffs’ Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Mediator: Paul Finn Commonwealth Mediation

Other Useful Information

On July 30, 2010, plaintiff’s decedent, a 48-year-old single electrician was working in the basement of a newly constructed duplex when the house exploded due to a propane leak. Decedent was trapped under burning debris for 97 minutes with severe burns over 80% of his body and major crush injuries to his head and chest. Four firefighters, who toiled to rescue him testified at depositions regarding his awareness of his dire situation. He begged firefighters to not leave him there to die. He cried out in agony as fires burned his legs. He asked firefighters to say good-bye to his fiancé and family members. He struggled to keep his head above the flooding basement water to avoid drowning. He was eventually removed alive and awake from the burning debris and transported by med flight to a Boston hospital where he died 6 hours later.

Investigation into the cause of the explosion revealed that a loose fitting on a pipe leading into the furnace allowed propane to leak into the basement. Plaintiff’s decedent had worked in the basement for almost 4 hours that morning without detecting the odor of propane. Several other workers had walked in and out of the basement without detecting an odor. Testing of gas samples 2 weeks post-explosion revealed that the chemical odorant which had been added to the propane to give it its distinctive “rotten eggs” odor, had faded from the gas. This phenomenon known as “odorant fade” has been well known in the propane industry since the 1950’s. It occurs when the chemical odorant interacts with rust or moisture on the inside of newly installed propane storage tanks. Precautions to avoid odor fade were stated on the propane storage tank warning label.

Plaintiff filed suit against the propane marketer and the plumbing company responsible for the leak. The theory against the propane company was that it violated the storage tank manufacturer’s warnings about filling the newly installed tank to its maximum liquid level to avoid the problem of odor and fade by filling the tank to only 20% capacity 3 months before the propane explosion. Plaintiff claimed the defendant knew or should have known that this would greatly increase the risk of odor fade which would endanger workers at the site in the event of a gas leak which would become undetectable. Plaintiff sued the plumbing subcontractor for failing to tighten the union which caused the leak to occur.

Plaintiff also brought a claim for gross negligence and punitive damages based on the reckless disregard shown by the defendant propane company for industry safety standards and for the safety warnings on the tank regarding preventing odor fade.

Shortly after Plaintiff filed suit, suits were filed by other injury and subrogation plaintiffs. All seven cases were consolidated for discovery. The court entered a scheduling order that required completion of discovery within a relatively short time frame. Over the next year, counsel for the eleven parties in the case took 47 depositions, most of which lasted all day.

Late in discovery, Plaintiff learned that the propane company had sold its assets for $68,000,000.00 to a publicly traded energy company in order to avoid exposure for punitive damages. Plaintiff obtained a temporary restraining order, then an injunction to prevent defendant from dissipating the cash proceeds of the asset sale until the conclusion of the case.

Plaintiff, along with two other seriously injured plaintiffs, agreed to mediate the case with Paul Finn of Commonwealth Mediation. The three plaintiffs settled the case in a global settlement. Plaintiff’s portion of the settlement was $7,500,000.

Details

$4,350,000

Construction Accident

Injuries: Multiple life-threatening injuries after a fall due to a defective railing.

Judge or Jury: Settled at mediation

Recovery: $4,350,000

Plaintiffs’ Counsel: David White – Boston, Massachusetts

Plaintiff, a 65-year old cooling tower engineer, suffered multiple life-threatening injuries when he fell from the top of a cooling tower as a result of a defective railing. The railing defect was the result of several years of abject neglect on the part of the property owner.

Our client owned and operated a cooling tower design, construction and maintenance company which serviced facilities throughout the country. One of his clients was an institution in eastern Massachusetts which operated approximately ten cooling towers located in two central locations. On the date of the incident he was asked by the utility operations personnel at the facility to check on an overflow situation at the top of one of the cooling towers.

The tower in question was approximately 25 years old. Fall protection at the top of the tower was provided by an OSHA-compliant metal railing. The railing was steel and the connectors at the mid-rail and top rail were made from aluminum. With the exception of two connectors, no repair or replacement had been conducted on the railing since its installation. The railing was so decrepit that over twenty of the thirty-five railing connectors were cracked or broken. Some were held together with tape. Another was held together with a radiator hose clamp.

The incident occurred when the plaintiff got on his knees to peek through the railing to assess the leakage. He leaned part of his body weight on the mid-rail, which immediately gave way; the connector with the hose clamp had fractured. He fell approximately 30 feet to the concrete rooftop below.

The plaintiff was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital where he spent the next six weeks in the intensive care unit. He had suffered multiple injuries, including skull fractures, intracranial bleeding, multiple leg fractures, and multiple hand and shoulder fractures. He also sustained a number of internal injuries. He underwent multiple surgical procedures, including operations to address the brain injury and bleeding, as well as to repair fractures and to close extensive skin wounds.

Plaintiff was transferred first to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital for approximately four weeks of in-patient treatment, then to outpatient treatment near his home. Treatment was intensive for the next year and continues even after three years. Plaintiff has undergone additional surgeries for hand and shoulder injuries.

Plaintiff returned to part-time work within a year of the incident, but his work capacity has been limited by his traumatic brain injury which affects him cognitively and physically. Plaintiff also suffers from permanent hearing loss in one ear, as well as a loss of sense of smell and taste. He is also impaired by his orthopedic injuries. The injuries were documented by a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, and an orthopedic surgeon. Claims were also brought for the plaintiff’s wife, who suffered a significant loss of her husband’s consortium. Their relationship has been burdened by his injuries and disability since the date of the accident.

Discovery revealed that no person at the institution, including the utility department which ran the cooling facilities, or the in-house safety department responsible for institution-wide safety assessments, had ever bothered to inspect the failing railing system. The utility department had no preventive maintenance program for inspection of the railings or other safety systems. The safety officer had never even inspected any of the rooftop cooling facilities, despite his specific job description calling for periodic assessments of the facilities. The safety department had no system in place to proactively ensure compliance with building codes or workplace safety regulations.

The matter was settled at mediation after two years of discovery confirmed the defendant’s failure to provide any inspection, maintenance or repair of the railing. The defendant has attempted to shift the blame to plaintiff’s cooling tower company, and is still pursuing its extremely weak indemnity claim. As of the time of the settlement of the bodily injury claims, the defendant had failed to point to anything other than conjecture and surmise in support of its allegations.

Plaintiff was covered by workers’ compensation for lost earnings and medical benefits. The worker’s compensation lien was deeply compromised.

This case was handled by attorney David W. White, who has over thirty years of handing premises liability, construction accident, and other personal injury cases.

Details

$2,500,000

Fire Pit Injury

Action: Negligence

Injuries Alleged: Second and third degree burns

Name of Case: Withheld

Court/Case Number: Middlesex Superior/Case No. withheld

Jury or Judge: N/A, settled at mediation

Amount: $2,500,000 (plus $500,000 previously paid directly to plaintiff)

Counsel for Plaintiff: David W. White Jr Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston, MA

Mediator: William Mulvey, Esq.

Date: January 2014

Plaintiff, a 19-year old nursing student from Boston, was a guest at a friend’s parent’s house on Cape Cod on November 27, 2008, the night before Thanksgiving. She and a group of friends were sitting on the deck around a portable fire pit which was burning haltingly. One guest told the host that he would “get something to get the fire going.” The host, knowing that the guest intended to get gasoline or some other accelerant, said, “OK.” A minute or so later the guest returned with a can of gasoline which he then poured directly onto the fire without warning. Plaintiff was completely unaware of his plan to dump the fuel on the fire.

Plaintiff was instantly burned by the flash and her clothes caught fire. She suffered extensive second and third degree burns to the backs of both of her hands, her neck, face and scalp. She was taken by MedFlight to Massachusetts General Hospital where she was in-patient for eighteen days. She underwent split-thickness skin grafting on the burns on her hands. She was discharged to allow her facial and neck burns to begin to heal. She then underwent a series of laser treatments of her facial burns at the Shriners Hospital, but with little effect.

Plaintiff then sought alternative treatment which eventually led her to Dr. Robert Spence, a renowned plastic surgeon in Baltimore. Dr. Spence performed a series of treatments over the course of a year, including the implantation of tissue expanders, scar excisions, skin flap advancements, debriding, and laser treatments. Plaintiff underwent numerous other treatments for scar excisions and revisions in the Boston area as well. She remains with diminished but still significant scarring on her face, shoulder, neck, hands and scalp, and also on the graft donor sites on her thighs.

Plaintiff had settled the claim against the guest who threw the gasoline without counsel for $500,000, the extent of his policy limits. Claims were then brought against the host of the party, who was covered by multiple insurance policies, including the primary policy on the premises where the injuries occurred, three household policies on his parents’ home and two rental units which they owned, and an umbrella policy. The total coverage was $3.2 million.

Shortly after suit was filed, Vermont Mutual Insurance Company filed a declaratory judgment action in Federal court. Vermont Mutual sought a declaration that the three policies they issued on the parents’ properties (i.e., the non-Cape Cod properties) did not afford coverage for the claims. The District Court ruled against Vermont Mutual, which then appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. The District Court ruling was affirmed. Vermont Mutual Ins. Co. v. Zamsky, No. 13-1172 (1ST Cir. October 9, 2013).

The matter was scheduled for trial in February 2014. The video deposition of Dr. Spence was taken in Baltimore. The deposition was notable for the fact that Dr. Spence demonstrated a great respect and fondness for his patient, particularly with her remarkable motivation to get treatment and to move on with her life. Plaintiff was also prepared to call a psychiatrist to testify about post-traumatic stress disorder, and a local plastic surgeon to talk about future treatment options and their costs.

Special damages included approximately $450,000 in past medical bills, $150,000 in lost earning capacity due to the two year delay in her education, and $50,000 in future medical bills. The case was mediated in January 2014, three weeks prior to trial. All of the primary insurance policies were tendered at the outset of the mediation. The matter settled after the excess carrier made a substantial contribution to the settlement.

Plaintiff has, in fact, moved on with her life. She has completed her education as a Registered Nurse and is gainfully employed. She married in July 2014.

Details

$2,400,000

Driver Injured in a Fall

Injuries: Complex regional pain syndrome from necessary knee surgery

Amount of Settlement: $2,400,000

Plaintiff’s Attorney:
Ronald E. Gluck – Boston, Massachusetts

Details of the Case

Secured a $2.4 million settlement for a truck driver who suffered an injury known as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). The injury occurred as a result of a fall that he suffered due to a dangerous condition in a plant where he was collecting materials for delivery. The complex regional pain syndrome resulted from a surgery that he underwent due to an injury to his knee that resulted from his fall.

Details

$2,150,000

Pedestrian Accident

Injuries: Polytrauma and death by car strike

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $2.15 million

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Other Useful Information

On November 24, 2015, the 73-year-old retired plaintiff and his buddy were exiting a suburban strip mall store when an 87-year old driver lost control of her car, careened across the sidewalk and struck and killed plaintiff. Plaintiff suffered massive internal injuries resulting in his immediate death. His friend, and one other pedestrian were seriously injured. The elderly driver had no idea why she lost control of the vehicle. The evidence suggested that she hit the accelerator instead of the brake as she maneuvered through the mall parking area. The gruesome crash was captured on multiple surveillance cameras.

Plaintiff was prepared to prove that the owner of the shopping plaza failed to provide appropriate protective measures for pedestrians at or about the store’s entrance. Over the years, the owner had placed more than 30 bollards at the rear and side of the shopping complex to protect the building, delivery bays and mechanical structures from vehicle strikes. Bollards had also been placed at the entrance of another retail store in the mall, but none in front of the subject entrance.

Plaintiff’s engineering expert was prepared to testify that the failure to provide pedestrian protection at this location was a breach of industry standards for providing safe walkways for pedestrians.

Details

$1,350,000

Crane Accident

Injuries: Massive internal injuries and crush injuries; conscious pain and suffering; wrongful death

Amount of Settlement: $1,350,000

Special Damages: Medical expenses and funeral expenses approximately $75,000

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Attorney David W. White Boston, Massachusetts

Details of the Case

The accident occurred when the plaintiff was crushed by a crane which tipped over on a construction site. The construction site accident caused severe internal injuries, and the plaintiff died later on the same day of the accident.

The plaintiff, who was twenty-eight years old, was a licensed crane operator who, along with his assistant known as an oiler, had set up a crane at an industrial site to perform a brief lifting operation. The set-up of the crane included extending the outriggers, then raising the crane up on the outrigger pads. The crane was set up on a freshly prepared gravel bed, which concealed the true nature of the soil.

Shortly after the crane was set up and the boom was extended, the crane became unstable due to a failure of the soil. The plaintiff was pinned under the crane after it fell over, and suffered severe crush injuries from the his abdomen to his feet. Extrication from the site took about an hour, and plaintiff was rushed to the hospital, where he expired the same day as a result of severe internal injuries. Plaintiff was fully conscious while he was being rescued from under the crane.

The multiple defendants in the case attempted to blame the plaintiff for the manner in which the crane was set up. However, extensive discovery revealed that the operators of the industrial site were aware that the ground water levels were extremely high, and that the soil was fill over a wetland, which  made the soil very unstable. The site manager, though he had worked on the site for over a dozen years, claimed he was unaware of the soil conditions. He also disclaimed any responsibility for investigating or warning about the soil.

Plaintiff’s experts were prepared to testify that the site operator had a duty to investigate and to warn about soil conditions in order to prevent construction site accidents, and that it failed to do so. Plaintiff’s experts were also prepared to testify that the plaintiff had made a reasonable evaluation of the site before setting up the crane, and that the manner in which the crane was set up was within industry standards.

Plaintiff was not married and was survived by his mother and father.


What to Do If You Have Been Injured in a Crane Accident or Other Construction Accident

Unfortunately, crane accidents are still fairly common in Massachusetts. Accidents in recent years have included cranes pulling away from buildings after anchor bolt failures, crane tip-overs, and loads dropped from cranes. When a crane accident occurs, the effects are usually devastating, as in the case above. Our lawyers have decades of experience handling crane accident and other construction accident cases.

Acting promptly to preserve your rights is essential after a construction site accident. For more information on choosing a crane accident lawyer, please refer to our page on Personal Injury Caused by Construction Accidents.

Details

$1,200,000

Construction Site Accident

Injuries: Right leg below-the-knee amputation, left knee replacement

Name of Case: Withheld

Court: Withheld

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Settled prior to suit

Recovery: $1,200,000.00

Special Damages: Medical expenses totaling $230,000.00

Date of Recovery: August 2010

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone Boston

Other Useful Information

On November 21, 2007, the 46-year-old plaintiff, a steel worker at a construction site, had his right foot and ankle crushed by a lull (large forklift on wheels) being operated by a co-employee. Plaintiff and the co-employee were in the process of moving steel joists when the co-employee disregarded a hand signal from plaintiff and turned in the wrong direction.

The defendant general contractor had a written health and safety policy which stated that only experienced and qualified personnel could operate lulls. The lull operator at the time of plaintiff’s accident was neither licensed nor qualified to operate the lull. Minutes before the incident, the co-employee jumped behind the controls of the lull and was having some difficulty operating the telescopic boom of the machine. The accident occurred when the co-employee turned the wrong way following a hand signal by plaintiff who was walking alongside the load being carried by the forks of the lull.

Liability against the general contractor was based on the general contractor’s failure to supervise the job site, its failure to require subcontractors to provide proof of licensure of machine operators, its failure to monitor the work for safety at the jobsite, and its failure to comply with its own health and safety policy.

Plaintiff, a former Division 1 running back, suffered a major crush injury to his right lower extremity resulting in a below-the-knee amputation of the right leg. He required three additional stump revisions, but eventually was able to be fitted for a prosthesis. In addition, plaintiff suffered an injury to the left knee, which required two arthroscopic repairs and eventually a left total knee replacement.

Details

$900,000

Premises Liability

Injuries: Bilateral ankle fractures, comminuted shoulder fracture, nerve damage, lacerations, infection

Amount of Recovery: $900,000

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: David W. White Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Suffolk Superior Court

Details of the Case

Plaintiff was a 59-year-old businessman who was visiting a commercial building in downtown Boston. He was leaving the building on a back stairway. When he stepped on one of the landings, which was made of slate, the slate fractured, and he fell through the landing approximately 12 feet to the landing below. As a result of the landlord’s negligence, he broke both ankles and his left shoulder, and had several lacerations from the broken slate floor which sliced him as he fell through and which also landed on top of him.

Investigation and discovery revealed that the negligent landlord had no inspection program for the property, including the aging stairway. The landlord failed to recognize that the multiple cracks in the landings and stairs were an obvious indication that the floor had structural problems. After the accident, the landlord replaced all of the landings and many of the steps on the stairway. Even after the repairs, the wear in the slate steps which remained was evident.

Plaintiff required multiple surgeries for his personal injuries, and was left with a permanent partial disability in one leg and his left arm. Plaintiff was self-employed, and was gradually able to return to work on a modified schedule.

Though liability was reasonably clear, the landlord vigorously denied liability and defended the case. Obviously, the plaintiff did nothing wrong; he was merely using a staircase that was open to the visiting public.

Multiple depositions of the landlord’s staff and maintenance personnel were taken. It became clear from the discovery that the stairs were open for use by visitors to the building. It was also clear that even though the stairs were cleaned by the staff regularly, nobody bothered to assess the stability or integrity of the stairway, which was at least 100 years old. The cracks in the slate were readily observable to the landlord’s staff, but they took no notice. Perhaps the most glaring evidence of negligence on the part of the landlord was that it had no system in place to check the integrity of the aging building.

The case was settled at mediation shortly before trial. The settlement also included payments to the injured plaintiff’s wife for her loss of consortium.

Choosing a Massachusetts Premises Liability Lawyer

Premises liability cases are often complex and difficult, and may take a long time to resolve. It is important to choose an attorney carefully.

Find out more about Massachusetts premises liability cases which the attorneys at our firm handle on our page on Personal Injury Caused by Premises Liability.

For more information, please call us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form.

Details

$900,000

Premises Liability

Injuries: Fractured skull and concussion

Case Name: Withheld

Court: Withheld

Mediator: Paul Finn, Esq.

Settlement: $900,000

Date: November 2011

Attorney: Ronald E. Gluck, Esq. Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C., Boston (For the plaintiff)

Case Description

The 19 year old plaintiff was leaning against a balcony railing at a mall in Woburn, Massachusetts. Suddenly, the railing gave way and the plaintiff fell from the second floor to the first floor, striking his head and causing skull fractures.

The plaintiff initially was in very serious condition and was in an induced coma for approximately one week. Thereafter, the plaintiff made a good recovery after attending three months of daily occupational and physical therapy for his personal injuries.

At the time of the mall accident, the plaintiff worked part-time at McDonald’s. He was a high school graduate who lived at home with his parents. After his lengthy period of rehabilitation, the plaintiff was able to resume working and was able to engage in most, if not all, of his usual activities of daily living.

The plaintiff alleged that the owner of the mall knew, or should have known, that the railing was in serious disrepair and that routine inspections would have revealed the serious decay in the concrete beneath the plate that secured the railing. The owner of the mall contended that the disrepair was hidden and that to the extent that the railing failed, it was because of work that had been done previously by the iron fabricator two years before the fall occurred.

At the mediation for the premises liability accident, the mall owner’s insurer paid the full settlement amount and is pursuing a third-party case against the iron fabrication company.

Details

$825,000

Premises Liability

Injuries: Trimalleolar Fracture with ankle fusionTried Before Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $825,000

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Other Useful Information

On January 16, 2015, our 49-year-old client was walking down a handicap ramp at a small commercial property in Walpole Massachusetts when she slipped and fell on ice which had accumulated on the bottom portion of the ramp.  EMTs from the local fire department reported in the ambulance trip sheet that the area was covered with ice. Photographs taken by a tenant in the building shortly after the incident, showed ice hanging from a downspout next to the bottom portion of the ramp. In addition, the hand railing was absent from the part of the ramp where plaintiff fell.

As a result of the fall, plaintiff suffered a trimalleolar fracture of the ankle. She underwent open reduction internal fixation. Nine months later, she had the hardware removed due to intractable pain.  After undergoing months of physical therapy and injections, she decided to undergo an ankle fusion in an attempt to mitigate the pain.  Ultimately, she was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Type 1.

Plaintiff’s engineering expert was prepared to testify that the location of the incident was in a dangerous and defective condition at the time of plaintiff’s injury. First, the subject ramp had no hand railing in the location where plaintiff fell, in violation of state and local codes. Second, the presence of ice on the ramp constituted an extremely hazardous condition. Third, the absence of a diverter at the bottom of the downspout allowed water to accumulate on the bottom of the ramp and freeze. Fourth, the property manager failed to properly mitigate the ice with sand and/or salt.

Plaintiff’s meteorology expert was prepared to testify that despite the above-freezing temperatures on the morning of the incident, the location of the concrete section of the ramp at the Northwest shaded corner of the property caused the water dripping from the downspout to freeze on contact with the concrete pad at the bottom of the ramp.

Plaintiff’s personal and work life were greatly impacted by the fracture and subsequent surgery. We spent a great deal of time communicating with the client and presenting to the insurance company not only the injuries, but the damage to plaintiff’s life. The combination of proving the legal liability, presenting the medical injuries through providers and experts, and conveying the impact and damage to plaintiff’s personal life was the key to victory, and a hallmark of our advocacy.

The case settled after two days of mediation with Brian Mone of CMCI.

Our Experience and Results
When you have seasoned trial lawyers in your corner, you can rest assured that your case is being handled with the highest level of care and competence. Our results and experience speak louder than any words.  Our client testimonials bear witness to the quality of our representation. We take pride in helping our clients get full compensation and peace of mind knowing that everything that should be done is being done.

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone has established a reputation as one of the top medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers in Massachusetts and New England. He has been recognized as a Top 100 New England Super Lawyer, a Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyer and a Massachusetts Super Lawyer in Plaintiff’s Medical Malpractice.

Details

$445,000

Premises Liability

Personal Injuries: Traumatic L4 –5 disc herniation L5; S1 disc protrusion; right palm puncture; severe tendon injury of the fourth finger of the right handAmount of Settlement: $445,000.00

Special Damages: Medical expenses: approximately $33,736.92

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Suffolk Superior Court

Other Useful Information

The 39 year old previously healthy plaintiff suffered severe personal injury while walking down an interior stairway in a six-family home when a pine board stair tread snapped, causing him to fall on his back and right arm and then bounce down to bottom of the stairway. The accident occurred as a result of the dangerous and defective condition of the stair tread at the time of the accident. The subject tread was a ¾ inch pine board which did not have any rubber tread or other covering. All of the other treads on this stairway were oak and had rubber tread covering.

Pre-trial discovery revealed that approximately two months before the plaintiff’s accident, a previous tenant in the building had dropped a piece of furniture on the stair causing the tread to split. Following that mishap, the defendant or defendant’s employees replaced the broken step with a piece of pine board which was not suitable for the staircase. The plaintiff contended that the pine board step violated all applicable safety standards and was inadequate for use on these stairs.

Following plaintiff’s accident, defendant “repaired” the broken step by nailing four scrap strips of strapping beneath the fractured lip of the step in order to secure the step. Plaintiff obtained photographs of the broken step and the pathetic repair job.

Unbelievably, defendant testified that he never observed a broken or repaired step at the premises. Plaintiff presented photographs of both conditions. In addition, plaintiff obtained testimony from two witnesses who were tenants in the building regarding the conditions described above. Plaintiff also had evidence regarding numerous code violations and the criminal complaint filed against defendant for failing to correct code violations at the premises.

Plaintiff was prepared to prove through independent witness testimony as well as expert testimony that defendant negligently violated the state building code and created an unreasonably dangerous condition when he performed his ”do-it-yourself” sloppy repair job on the subject stairway. The shabby repair made this stairway more dangerous than leaving the stairway with a broken step. At least with a broken step, visitors would use greater caution on the compromised step.

As a result of the accident, plaintiff suffered traumatic L4 –5 disc herniation L5; S1 disc protrusion; right palm puncture; severe tendon injury of the fourth finger of the right hand and sprains of the lumbosacral joint, left shoulder and right wrist. Plaintiff had two surgeries on his right arm and hand, including tenolysis of the right fourth digit and carpal tunnel release. Plaintiff’s medical expenses were in the amount of $33,736.92.

At the time of the accident, plaintiff worked as an independent contractor installing carpeting, tile and linoleum. He earned on average approximately $110,00.00 per year. His earnings were significantly reduced to approximately $600.00 a week. Therefore, plaintiff suffered a past loss of earnings in the amount of approximately $280,000.00.

The case settled following two days of mediation.

Details

$390,000

Construction Accident

Injuries: Spinal fracture with surgeryAmount of Recovery: $390,000

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Ronald E. Gluck Boston

Special Damages: Medical Expenses – Approx. $105,000

Details of the Case

The injury occurred when the plaintiff fell from a roof due to unsafe staging by the general contractor. The plaintiff, a 47-year-old roofer, was acting as an independent contractor at the time of the incident. Several OSHA violations were found in the post-accident investigation.

The plaintiff, an experienced roofer, suffered a fracture of the spine and underwent surgery. He made a good recovery and has transitioned into another line of work.

The major obstacle in the case involved allegations that the plaintiff consumed several beers approximately two hours before the incident occurred and that this contributed to his fall. This obstacle was overcome by use of laboratory results confirming that no alcohol was found in his blood, by strategic exposure of the witnesses’ bias toward their employer, who was the defendant general contractor in the case, and by exposing the criminal record of one of the key witnesses for crimes related to dishonesty.

Choosing a Massachusetts Premises Liability Lawyer

Premises liability cases are often complex and difficult, and may take a long time to resolve. It is important to choose an attorney carefully.

Find out more about Massachusetts premises liability cases which the attorneys at our firm handle on our page on Personal Injury Caused by Premises Liability.

For more information, please call us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form.

Details

$350,000

Construction Accident

Injuries: Back injuryAmount of Recovery: $350,000

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Ronald E. Gluck Boston

Special Damages: Medical Expenses: Approx. $35,000.00 Lost Earnings: $50,000.00

Details of the Case

The injury occurred when the plaintiff fell over a pipe covered with snow on the floor of an indoor construction site. As a result of this fall, plaintiff suffered a back injury, which prevented him from returning to his work as an iron worker. The 38 year old plaintiff was a union iron worker, who, along with his co-worker, was carrying a heavy iron stringer to a storage room at the construction site. During the course of discovery in the litigation it was proven that, in violation of his duty to provide a safe work site, the general contractor failed to remove debris from the floor the night before the incident occurred and then left the building open to the weather overnight, allowing snow to blow in.

Early the next morning, the Plaintiff stepped on the snow covered loose pipe which he could not have seen as he carried the iron stringer toward the storage room. As he stepped on the snow covered pipe, his foot rolled forward and he fell while carrying the heavy stringer, injuring his back.  Had the case gone to trial, plaintiff was prepared to present evidence that the general contractor knew or should have known that the worksite was unsafe in several ways due to failures by the general contractor to follow basic guidelines for work place safety.

The general contractor was required to inspect and monitor the work site to make sure that the walking surfaces were safe for workers on the site. The general contractor failed to do so. The general contractor was required to clear snow from the walking surfaces to make sure that any debris on the surfaces was cleared away and or could be seen by the workers using said surfaces.

The general contractor failed to do this as well. Finally, the general contractor failed to warn the workers using the walking surfaces of the danger associated with the general contractor’s failures as described above. Defendant contended that the plaintiff had a pre-existing back injury and that they were not responsible for his inability to return to his job as an ironworker. Mr. Gluck used expert medical testimony to establish that while plaintiff had some pre- accident back pain, he was able to work without limitation, in spite of the pain, because the back pain was caused by minor soft tissue irritation. Following the accident the pain was entirely different in its location and severity.

The case settled after a lengthy mediation, which took place approximately two weeks before the scheduled trial date.

Choosing a Massachusetts Premises Liability LawyerPremises liability cases are often complex and difficult, and may take a long time to resolve. It is important to choose an attorney carefully. Find out more about Massachusetts premises liability cases which the attorneys at our firm handle.

For more information, please call us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form.

Details

$350,000

Construction Accident

Injuries: Fracture of right wrist, including distal radius fracture and avulsion fracture at the second carpo-metacarpal joint.

Amount of Recovery: $300,000.00.

Date of Settlement: Settled at mediation before final pre-trial conference

Plaintiffs’ Lawyer: David W. White Boston, Massachusetts

Other Useful Information

Plaintiff was working as a laborer for a subcontractor at a construction site. He was injured while unloading a hamper of construction debris into a dumpster. The accident occurred when a metal plate, which was being used as a bridge from the loading dock to the dumpster, slipped, causing the plaintiff to fall between the dumpster and the loading dock.

Plaintiff never required surgery for his injuries, but he did develop a pain syndrome that precluded his return to work as a laborer. The defendants sharply contested the cause and extent of the injuries claimed by the plaintiff.

A workers’ compensation lien of over $200,000 was significantly compromised as part of the settlement.

The matter was resolved prior to trial.

Choosing a Massachusetts Construction Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a construction accident, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights, as Massachusetts has strict statutes of limitations for construction accident cases. Please call us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form.

Details

$225,000

Premises Liability

Settlement Amount: $225,000

Attorney: David W. White Jr.

Case Summary: Plaintiff injured when exiting restaurant; slip and fall on entranceway defect; femur fracture with surgical repair.

Our client, a frequent customer of a North Shore restaurant and bar, suffered a severe leg injury when he slipped on a metal plate that was located at the exit doorway of the restaurant.

Client Review:  David secured a settlement for me that is at the top of what could be expected for my particular circumstances and did it in a professional and supportive manner. Don’t hire any attorney until you speak with David White – you’ll be glad you did.

The metal plate, made from metal commonly known as “diamond plate,” was placed right at the exit between the vestibule and the exterior sidewalk. The plate, which was about twelve inches long and the width of the door, was placed to cover a height difference between the threshold and the sidewalk at the handicap entrance. The plate formed a short ramp. To the casual observer, it looked like a reasonably decent repair (though a far better repair would have been to fix the sidewalk itself). But, according to the expert witness we retained, the steep angle of the small ramp was actually a violation of the building codes regarding handicap access. Then steep angle made the metal ramp dangerous.

On the night of the accident, the weather was cold and very damp. The temperature hovered around freezing, and there was a steady drizzle. These were perfect conditions for making the ramp even more dangerous by making it slippery. It was foreseeable that moisture would make the ramp slippery.

After an evening at the restaurant, our client was leaving to go home. As he stepped out of the vestibule onto the metal ramp, his foot slipped out and his leg twisted beneath him. He had previously had his right knee replaced, and the accident caused his femur (the thigh bone) to fracture around his artificial knee.

Our client required a surgical repair of the knee, followed by an extensive period of rehabilitation. Our client was not working at the time, so he did not suffer any loss of earning capacity.

Claim was brought against the restaurant. When the case did not settle, suit was filed. While the matter was in the early phase of the written discovery period, efforts were once again undertaken to resolve the matter by settlement.

The defendant alleged that the plaintiff had used the door many times before, as had others, without any problems. They alleged the condition was not dangerous. They also contested the extent of the damages, and whether all of the damages were related to the accident. Nevertheless, the matter was settled without trial and before extensive discovery had to be completed.

Keys to the settlement of this case included the analysis by our expert witness regarding the building code violation. The plaintiff also was seen by an orthopedic surgeon retained by our firm who provided a detailed medical report focused on the permanent limitations the plaintiff would endure.


About Attorney David W. White

Attorney White is a past president of the Massachusetts Bar Association and has distinguished himself for his advocacy on behalf of his clients and his leadership among Massachusetts lawyers. He has been consistently recognized as a Top 100 Super Lawyer in New England and Massachusetts, as well as a Super Lawyer in the field of personal injury.
Details

Motorcycle Accident Cases

$3,750,000

Motorcycle Accident

Injuries: Facial fractures, concussion, loss of vision in one eye

Court: Withheld

Attorney: Ronald E. Gluck, Esq. – Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C. Boston (For the plaintiff)

Settlement: $3,750,000

Date: February 2, 2012

Case Description

The 37 year old male plaintiff was operating a motorcycle and suffered major facial fractures, a concussion, blindness in one eye and orthopedic injuries when the defendant operating a company-owned Lexus, cut into plaintiff’s lane causing him to slam face first into the side of the Lexus. The plaintiff underwent two facial reconstruction surgeries following the motorcycle accident. He was left with no facial disfigurement with the exception of a small scar near his lip. However, in the course of one of the facial reconstruction surgeries, plaintiff’s left optic nerve was damaged, causing legal blindness in that eye.

Despite his eye injury plaintiff is able to drive and engage in most of his usual activities of daily living as it relates to his vision.  However, plaintiff is limited in some of his activities of daily living due to ongoing pain related to his orthopedic injuries suffered in the collision.

At the outset of the litigation the defendant driver denied that she was at fault or that she her driving was a substantial contributing cause of the collision.  During the defendant’s deposition, however, it was established that the defendant crossed over three lanes of traffic without giving any warning that she intended to do so and that she cut off the plaintiff who was riding his motorcycle below the speed limit squarely in his lane of traffic.  The defendant’s claim that she was not at fault was proven to be false.

The plaintiff, a high school graduate, had risen to become a network engineer and was earning approximately $95,000 per year at the time of the motor vehicle collision. While plaintiff is unable to return to work as a network engineer due to his injuries, it is likely that he will be able to work in some capacity. The degree of his loss of earning capacity was disputed by the parties.

As a result of his concussion, plaintiff was diagnosed with mild cognitive deficits by his neuropsychologist. This diagnosis was disputed by defendant’s expert who was prepared to testify that while plaintiff suffered serious injuries, there was no evidence that he suffered from any cognitive deficits.

In addition to the surgeries which he underwent to repair the facial fractures, plaintiff also underwent arthroscopic surgeries on his shoulder for a torn labrum and his ankle for nerve pain which persisted following the motorcycle accident. Plaintiff also suffered from depression resulting from his inability to resume his career and to engage in recreational activities such as ATV riding and playing basketball. Plaintiff is able to exercise at a gym, live independently, do household chores such as minor yard work, cleaning and cooking and care for his daily needs.

The motorcycle accident case settled at the end of a full day mediation which took place two weeks before the scheduled trial date.

Details

$3,500,000

Motorcycle Accident

Injuries: Severe head and chest trauma resulting in death

Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $3.5 million

Date: March 2016

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. – Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Mediator: Brian J. Mone Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc.

Other Useful Information

On June 22, 2013, 56-year-old plaintiff was riding his motorcycle in West Bridgewater, when a waste disposal truck owned by defendant, and operated by a subcontractor, pulled out across the road into the path of plaintiff. Plaintiff applied the brakes and laid the motorcycle down in an attempt to avoid the collision. His motorcycle struck the side of defendant’s truck at less than 5 mph.

Unfortunately, after he put the bike down, he continued to roll under the truck. The driver did not see plaintiff in time to stop the truck. As a result, the truck rear tires ran over his head and chest, killing him.

The driver of defendant’s vehicle was a welder for a company that had been hired by defendant to repair the truck. The driver had a “Z’ restriction on his license, which prohibited him from operating any vehicles that did not have a breathalyzer interlock on the ignition. The truck in question did not have such an interlock. As a result, the driver was charged

The decedent was the owner of a custom machine shop. He left his wife of 36 years, three adult daughters, and several grandchildren. There were no special damages, as he died at the scene.

The case settled after a second day of mediation with Attorney Brian J. Mone of CMCI.

Details

$1,250,000

Motorcycle Accident

Case Handled by: Ronald E. Gluck

This horrific motorcycle accident occurred because the driver of a sedan made a left turn right in front of our client’s motorcycle leaving him no room to stop before he crashed into the side of the sedan. Before the crash occurred our client was driving his motorcycle safely in a line of traffic, wearing proper motorcycle clothing to ensure his safety. In spite of all of his efforts to be safe, he suffered very serious injuries which resulted in an extensive hospitalization, multiple surgeries, extensive post hospitalization inpatient rehabilitation and permanent injuries. The driver of the sedan was cited by the police for her negligent driving and her insurance company ultimately paid $1,250,000 to compensate our client for his injuries and extensive damages.

The client’s injuries included multiple fractures of his pelvis, fractures of his lower leg, an injury to his peroneal nerve which caused a significant foot drop and other less severe injuries. Unfortunately, during the course of surgery to repair his fractures, a piece of bone fragment cut an artery, causing a major loss of blood on the operating table. Doctors used heroic efforts to stop the bleeding and were successful in saving his life. Unfortunately, due to the significant blood loss and the complications during surgery the client was required to stay in the hospital for approximately two weeks and then spend another two weeks in a rehabilitation hospital.

Prior to the accident the client was employed as an executive at a national company. His job required him to do extensive traveling throughout the world. Due to his injuries and lengthy rehabilitation process, he was absent from work for several months. When he returned to work he had great difficulty walking, and required the use of crutches and a cane for several more months. Long distance travel was problematic for him for an extended period of time.

In the years leading up to the motorcycle collision, the client enjoyed staying in good physical shape by playing basketball, riding his bicycle, playing golf and walking around the lake near his home. As a result of the severe injuries that he suffered, he is no longer able to play basketball, he can no longer play golf and he has difficulty walking on uneven surfaces. At the end of his treatment, his most serious lasting problem was the significant foot drop caused by the injury to his peroneal nerve. As a result of the foot drop he is required to wear a brace in his shoe to enable him to walk steadily on many surfaces.

Attorney Ron Gluck, who has successfully represented many seriously injured motorcyclists, was successful in persuading the insurance company at the outset of the case that the client would never accept an offer of less than the full policy limits of $1,250,000. As a result, our client was fairly compensated for his injuries when the insurance company paid the policy limits, one and a half years after the collision occurred.

Details

Dog Attack Cases

$525,000

Dog Bite

Case Details

Pitbull bites woman’s arm, causing scarring. Attack and neighbor’s social media bullying cause PTSD.

Details

$450,000

Dog Bite

Injuries: Dog bite to face, minor child, severe facial injuries, scarring, psychological distress, emotional distress damages for parentsAmount of Award: $450,000

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Attorney Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Details of the Case

On May 3, 2001, plaintiff, a healthy 11 year old boy, was playing in the backyard of his next door neighbors with his neighbors’ son.  The neighbors’ dog, a German Shepard / Chow-Chow mix, was chained in the yard where the children were playing.  Plaintiff approached the dog to pet him, as he had done many times before that day.  As he was petting the dog, he placed his face next to the dog’s face for a kiss, and, without warning, the dog mauled the boy’s face.  Plaintiff ran home, bleeding profusely from severe lacerations to his forehead and nose.  Upon seeing his son’s bloodied and cut face, plaintiff’s father fainted on the spot.

Plaintiff was rushed by ambulance to the hospital where he underwent five hours of reconstructive surgery to repair his injuries.  As a result of his injuries, the boy suffered significant permanent facial scarring, anxiety and depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.  In addition, plaintiff’s psychological distress has caused him to experience severe abdominal distress.

The boy’s parents, also plaintiffs in the case, received compensation for severe emotional distress experienced after witnessing their son’s injuries.


For more information on choosing a dog bite or dog attack lawyer, please refer to our page on Personal Injury Caused by a Dog Bite or Dog Attack.

Details

$300,000

Dog Bite

Case Details

$300,000 Dog Bite – Bite on ankle of elderly woman leads to infection, sepsis, wrongful death

Details

$300,000

Bicycle Accident

Case information not available.
Details

$200,000

Dog Attack

Injuries: Ruptured globe (eyeball) of one-and-half-year-old boy

Amount of Judgment: $200,000

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Ronald E. Gluck Boston, Massachusetts

Details of the Case

A Plymouth County jury awarded Mr. Gluck’s client approximately $200,000 for an injury to his eye which caused hypersensitivity to light.  The incident, which happened when the boy was one-and-half-years-old, occurred when a friend’s dog clawed or bit the boy in the eye, causing a hole which resulted in photophobia (light sensitivity). Typically, cases of this nature are resolved without having to go to trial. However, in this case, the insurance company for the owner of the dog continually minimized the severity of the injury to the victim of this dog attack and made small offers of settlement.   The opportunity for a jury of Plymouth County to award a fair amount for the plaintiff’s damages is exactly the reason that the right to a jury trial is critical to people suffering serious injuries.  The dog owner himself did not challenge the severity of the injury and likely wished that his insurance company would have been fair to the boy who was injured without the case having to go to trial.

Initially, the boy was taken to the hospital where a procedure was done to close the hole. However, due to his young age, the hole could not be completely closed.  The hypersensitivity to light became apparent immediately.  Although the boy adapted to his condition and is able to engage in sports, he does so while squinting. In the years between the injury and the date of the trial the boy attempted to play baseball and other sports during which his light sensitivity was problematic. He wore sunglasses, and after his surgery wore a patch to protect his eye.

Defendants argued that a tinted contact lens would solve the problem, but the jury accepted the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert ophthalmologist that the boy would, nonetheless, always experience some sensitivity to light as he got older.  One item that the jury considered in rendering its verdict was the potential that the boy’s career options would be limited to jobs that did not involve working in the outdoors due to his light sensitivity.  In cases involving children, predicting the affect that injuries will have on their career options and activities can be challenging.  However, jurors are often able to use their common sense in arriving at a fair and reasonable assessment of these damages to arrive at a verdict.

At the time of trial, the boy was ten-years-old and looked perfectly healthy.  However, he testified that although he has learned to deal with his condition he experiences sensitivity to light and feels as if he is always squinting with the injured eye when he is outside. The jury’s award of approximately $200,000.00 was $150,000.00 more than the insurance company’s top offer prior to trial.

For more information on choosing a dog bite or dog attack lawyer, please refer to our page on Personal Injury Caused by a Dog Bite or Dog Attack.

Details

$170,000

Bicycle Accident

Injuries: Elbow fracture with open reduction and internal fixation; broken teeth

Amount of Award: $150,000

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Attorney Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Details of the Case

The 42-year old plaintiff and his wife were enjoying a weekend bicycle ride in Central Massachusetts when a dog came running out of the defendant’s yard and started chasing the plaintiff. Plaintiff, an experienced bicyclist, attempted to avoid the attacking dog and lost control of his bicycle. Plaintiff crashed his bicycle and was thrown, head-over-heels onto the pavement. As a result of this bicycle crash, plaintiff, a computer scientist, suffered a displaced fracture of the elbow and several broken teeth.

Plaintiff underwent surgery for his right elbow fracture and received a plate and screws to fixate the fracture. The surgical hardware was removed approximately one year later. Plaintiff was left with a surgical scar and essentially full use of the affected arm. He also was required to undergo extensive dental restoration of his broken teeth caused by this bicycle crash. The case settled prior to filing of a law suit.

Liability in this case was based on Massachusetts General Laws c. 140, § 155, which establishes strict liability against the owner of a dog that causes injury to another person. Even though the dog never touched the plaintiff, counsel was able to establish the liability of the owner of the dog, since the dog caused the plaintiff to crash on his bicycle.


For more information on choosing a dog bite or dog attack lawyer, please refer to our page on Personal Injury Caused by a Dog Bite or Dog Attack.

Details

Spinal Cord Injury Cases

$2,030,000

Fatal Spinal Cord Injury

Injuries: Medical malpractice resulting in traumatic spinal cord compression at C5-C6 resulting in quadriplegia and death. Loss of spousal consortium.

Amount of Settlement: $2,030,000.00

Date of Settlement: Settled at mediation one week before trial

Plaintiffs’ Lawyers: Marc L. Breakstone and David W. White Boston, Massachusetts

Mediator: Peter Contuzzi, Esquire

Court: Middlesex Superior Court

Other Useful Information

In July, 1995, the plaintiff’s decedent was a 72 year old man in excellent health who fell down a flight of stairs in his home. He was taken by ambulance on a back board in full cervical spine precautions to a Massachusetts hospital where he presented in the emergency department with a large scalp abrasion and complaints of neck pain and weakness and tingling in his hands. He was seen initially by one of the defendant physicians who was “moonlighting” in the emergency department. The other defendant physician in the emergency room was a full-time staff physician, board certified in emergency medicine. Shortly after the plaintiff’s arrival, the first physician removed the cervical collar and refused to order x-rays to rule out cervical spine injuries. Two of the nurses in the emergency department requested cervical spine x-rays but the first defendant declined stating he had “cleared the patient clinically.” One of the nurses then asked the second defendant physician to order x-rays. That physician spoke with the first physician, but refused to intervene or supersede in the care of the patient. Thus no x-rays were taken.Approximately 90 minutes after the plaintiff’s arrival, and after his hand weakness and tingling had worsened, the moonlighting defendant, with the second defendant standing by and watching, lifted the plaintiff off the stretcher to a seated position in order to examine the patient’s cervical range of motion. When his torso was lifted to approximately 45 degrees, the plaintiff’s head flopped over, he screamed in pain and he cried out “the bones are breaking in my neck.” The defendants immediately laid the plaintiff down and replaced the cervical collar. Within minutes, plaintiff lost all sensation in his legs, abdomen and eventually up to his shoulder blades. An emergency MRI demonstrated compression of the spinal cord at C4-C5. The plaintiff underwent emergency spinal fusion that day, but, nevertheless, was rendered quadriplegic. He survived for 18 months as a ventilator dependent quadriplegic in a Boston area spinal cord hospital before his death from complications related to repeated aspiration pneumonia.

The nurse who cared for the plaintiff testified in her deposition that at the end of her shift, she exclaimed to the nursing staff “We’ve just broken somebody’s neck. We just paralyzed him…[defendant number 1] sat him up, but [defendant number 2] would not intervene.” That nurse carefully recorded all of the events of that morning in the patient’s chart and she also kept personal notes of all of her conversations with the defendants. Those notes were obtained through discovery.

The third defendant physician was the Chairman of the emergency department who was not present but had hired the two defendant physicians. The fourth defendant was the emergency medicine group for whom all of the defendant physicians worked. Following the plaintiff’s death from complications related to quadriplegia, plaintiff amended the complaint to add claims wrongful death against all defendants.

The liability of the moonlighting defendant was clearly established. He admitted in his deposition that lifting the patient off the stretcher was a mistake that probably caused the plaintiff’s quadriplegia. Three months after his deposition, plaintiffs demanded payment of this defendant’s $1 million policy limits, without a release, pursuant to Thaler v. The American Insurance Company. The defendant’s insurance carrier, agreed to pay the policy limits without a release. However, defendant vehemently objected to the payment without a release. Defendant’s counsel then filed for an injunction to prevent the insurer from paying without a release. The trial court Judge denied defendant’s request for relief. Defendant then filed an interlocutory appeal to a Single Justice, which after hearing, was denied. Two weeks later, the insurer paid the policy limits and the first defendant remained in the case.

The liability of the remaining defendants was strongly contested. Plaintiffs contended that the second defendant physician, had a duty to intervene in the medical care of the plaintiff by ordering the restoration of cervical precautions and the ordering of cervical x-rays. The defendant physician claimed that he did not have the authority to intervene in the patient’s care. However, following the sitting up incident, he sprung into action and took over handling the case without asking for permission to do so. The defendant’s trial expert was expected to testify that the second physician never established a physician-patient relationship with the plaintiff, but that he delivered care after the sitting-up incident as a “good samaritan.” That expert was also expected to testify that nurse who kept notes had the responsibility to intervene and was in the best position to do so. Plaintiffs expected to demonstrate the second defendant’s consciousness of liability with evidence of his failure to chart any of his examination findings or orders and by his post-incident suggestion to the nurse that she “did not have to chart everything.”

The liability of the defendant department chairman was based upon his negligent hiring of the moonlighting defendant and upon his negligent supervision and management of the emergency department. Plaintiffs obtained the physicians hospital credential files which indicated that in the three years prior to July, 1995, the first defendant had worked in 13 different medical positions, was licensed to practice medicine in 9 states and had, according to several physician practitioner questionnaires a “history of serious interpersonal problems”. Despite this background, the defendant spoke with no references and failed to investigate these previous interpersonal problems. Finally, defendant failed to establish a clear policy in the emergency department that the board certified emergency physician could supersede and intervene in the care of a patient by a non-board certified emergency physician in the event of any disagreement regarding care and treatment. Coincidentally, the defendant promulgated this policy three days after the incident in this case.

The liability of defendant medical group was based upon its vicarious liability for the negligence and gross negligence of its employees. The only issue relative to the group was whether the first defendant was an independent contractor or an employee. Plaintiff was prepared to present evidence that despite its efforts to distance itself from the first defendant, the group exercised the requisite control over him to make him its employee, and it responsible for his egregious conduct.

Following a full day mediation with Peter Contuzzi, the parties settled the remaining claims for $1,030,000.00. This included cash contributions from the primary defendant physician as well as from the uninsured group practice.

Choosing a Massachusetts
Medical Malpractice 
Attorney

Medical malpractice cases are complex and difficult, and often take a long time to resolve. It is important to choose a malpractice lawyer carefully. Our Choosing a Lawyer page answers many questions you may have about choosing an experienced Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney for your case.

Medical Malpractice Practice Areas

Find out more about the kinds of medical malpractice cases which the lawyers at our firm handle on our page on Personal Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice.

If you feel you have a medical malpractice case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights, as Massachusetts has strict statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases. Please call us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form.

Details

$1,250,000

Nerve Damage

Injuries: Failed fusion, permanent nerve damage.

Amount of Settlement: $1,250,000.00

Date of Settlement: September 2004

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Attorney Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Details of Case

On July 10, 2002, plaintiff underwent a spinal fusion surgery at Mount Auburn Hospital.  During the surgery, defendant physician left the hospital to cash a check at a bank in Harvard Square.  He was absent from the operating room for thirty-five minutes, during which time no qualified orthopedic surgeon was present in the room.  Upon his return from the bank, the defendant physician finished the procedure.

The following day, plaintiff noted significant neurological symptoms in his right lower leg.  That day, defendant was suspended from the staff at Mount Auburn Hospital.  No physician was appointed to take over plaintiff’s care.  As a result, no attention was directed to his apparent nerve injury.

Defendant was ultimately suspended from the practice of medicine for his gross indiscretion in leaving a patient under general anesthesia to visit the bank.  The announcement of his suspension garnered national news coverage.

Approximately one year later, plaintiff underwent a second spinal operation to remove the hardware, including displaced hardware.  Six months later, he underwent a third procedure to redo the fusion.

Plaintiff is left with a permanent right leg nerve injury which interferes with his ability to walk.  It should be noted that at the time of the original surgery, plaintiff was already on disability and workman’s compensation due to a longstanding back injury.  The case settled during the second day of mediation.


For more information on choosing a medical malpractice lawyer, please refer to our page on Personal Injury Caused by a Medical Malpractice.

Details

$1,100,000

Nerve Damage

Injuries: Severe Nerve Damage and Permanent Disability

Amount of Recovery: $1,100,000.00

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone

Court: Suffolk Superior Court

Other Useful Information

On December 4, 2001, plaintiff, age 33, underwent a lumbar spinal fusion for a herniated L4-L5 disc. Ten months earlier, plaintiff underwent a discectomy by the same defendant surgeon, which was unsuccessful. Following the fusion surgery, plaintiff developed severe pain into both legs. Prior to the surgery, her pain had been localized in the low back. In addition, plaintiff developed severe right hip pain as a result of a violation of the sacroiliac joint by defendant during the removal of bone from the iliac crest to be fused into the lumbar spine.

Approximately four years later, plaintiff underwent a complete revision of the fusion hardware. That surgery provided relief of the severe radiculopathy, which plaintiff experienced in both legs. However, it did not improve her significant low back and hip pain. Plaintiff was left with permanent severe low back pain and moderate right hip pain.

Details

$800,000

Nerve Damage

Injuries: Permanent Nerve Damage with Drop Foot

Amount of Recovery: $800,000.00

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, MA

Court: Suffolk Superior Court

Other Useful Information

Plaintiff, a 49-year-old woman with a history of scoliosis, underwent spinal fusion with instrumentation by defendant. Before surgery, her symptoms were limited to low back pain and left leg pain. After surgery, she was found to have a severe left foot drop with numbness and reduced sensation. Despite these symptoms, the defendant failed to investigate to see if there may be misplaced instrumentation.

Plaintiff underwent a lumbar CAT scan three months post-operatively which demonstrated misplaced pedicular screws, which encroached several nerve roots. Despite these abnormal findings, defendant failed to bring plaintiff back to the operating room for corrective surgery.

Approximately two years later, plaintiff came under the care of a new orthopedic surgeon who brought plaintiff back to the operating room for a complete revision and replacement of all of the spinal hardware. The fusion, which had previously been at two levels, was extended to four levels. Plaintiff obtained significant relief from the three-stage corrective surgery. However, she was left with a mild left foot drop and persistent pain in the left leg and foot.

Details

$400,000

Nerve Injury

Injuries: Medical malpractice resulting from severed radial nerve during surgery

Amount of Settlement: $400,000.00

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Norfolk Superior Court

Details of the Case

This medical malpractice physician negligence case arose on September 30, 1998, when the plaintiff, a thirty-one year old woman, underwent surgery to remove a metal plate and screws from her right upper arm.  Prior to the surgery, the defendant informed the plaintiff that there may be a “slight incidence of fracture” to the arm following the procedure.  There was a significant dispute as to whether or not the defendant doctor had mentioned nerve injury as a possible risk of the surgery. Plaintiff adamantly denied that any such risk was discussed with her.  Despite this risk, plaintiff elected to have the plate removed because it was the source of serious discomfort.

Unfortunately, during surgery, plaintiff’s radial nerve was severed as a result of defendant’s negligence.  Immediately post-operatively, plaintiff was found to have a complete radial nerve palsy and a resulting wrist drop.  After the serious radial nerve injury was discovered, defendant altered his records to suggest that he had a discussion with plaintiff prior to the procedure regarding his concern about “her radial nerve.”  Notwithstanding his purported concern about injury to the radial nerve, defendant stated in his operative note that the “radial nerve was not visualized.” The mere fact that there was an injury to the nerve and defendant failed to identify and protect the nerve from injury, was sufficient to establish liability in this case. Since radial nerve injury is one of the known complications of this procedure, it is mandatory that the defendant surgeon identify and protect the nerve from damage during the hardware removal procedure.

Due to defendant’s medical negligence, plaintiff required right radial nerve repair with sural nerve graft and two tendon transfer surgeries in an attempt to restore wrist extension.  Consequently, she suffered a 25% loss of function of her hand and wrist, has significant scarring and disfigurement of her upper arm, and experiences constant and severe pain in her arm.  Plaintiff’s settlement included compensation for her medical expenses, lost wages, and future lost earning capacity.

Choosing a Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Medical malpractice cases are complex and difficult, and may take a long time to resolve. It is important to choose a malpractice attorney carefully. Our Choosing a Lawyer page answers many questions you may have about choosing an experienced Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney for your case.

Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Practice Areas

If you feel you have a medical malpractice case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights, as Massachusetts has strict statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases. Please call us at 800-379-1244, or toll free at 1-800-379-1244. You can also use our contact form.

Details

Product Liability Cases

$1,150,000

Product Liability

Case Details

$1,150,000 Product Liability – Defective Fitness Equipment – Negligence by Gym and Fitness Trainer

Details

$180,000

Product Liability

Injuries: Product Liability – Hand injury due to defective machine.

Amount of Settlement: $180,000

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone

Court: Boston, Massachusetts

Details of the Case

Hand Injury Due to Defective Machine. When the plaintiff was working as a temporary employee at a factory owned by the defendant, his hand was pulled into a labeling machine. The machine’s safety guard had been negligently removed. The machine caused a large open wound in the plaintiff’s right palm and multiple fractures resulting in a large scar, reduced grip strength, and significant cosmetic deformity.

Details

Nursing Home Negligence Cases

$600,000

Nursing Home Negligence

Injuries: Cervical fracture, facial fractures, multi-trauma and death

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $600,000.00

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Other Useful Information

On December 20, 2015, the 93-year-old plaintiff was a resident at a Boston suburban nursing home.  She had moderate dementia and neurological deficits for which she required assistance with ambulation.  On the date of the incident, she shuffled with her walker through two sets of unlocked and unalarmed doors and fell down several steps.  At the time of the incident, the unit in which she was a resident was staffed by three attendants whose job it was to monitor and assist her with walking.

As a result of the fall, she suffered facial and cervical fractures.  She was taken to a Boston-area hospital where she remained in the intensive care unit for four days before her death from respiratory failure due to her injuries.

Following the incident, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health determined that the incident was preventable and ordered a plan of correction to prevent similar injuries to other residents.

Plaintiff left three adult children and five grandchildren.

The case was settled at mediation prior to suit with the able assistance of Brian Mone of CMCI.

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone has more than 30 years of experience representing clients injured by medical malpractice, ambulance malpractice and nursing home negligence. He has been consistently recognized for his work for medical malpractice plaintiffs, including by Massachusetts Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers of America. Read more.

Details

Limousine Liability Cases

$697,000

Limousine Liability

Injuries: Pedestrian-Motor vehicle crash resulting in severe degloving facial injuries

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Arbitration Award Plus Settlement

Recovery: $697,000.00

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. Boston

Other Useful Information

In March 2010, our client, a 25-year-old woman, was a member of a bachelorette party that rented a limousine from Entourage Livery, Inc. for a night of barhopping and celebration. The group had purchased a “VIP Package” which entitled them to door-to-door service. At the time of the incident, the air temperature was in the mid-thirties. There was a wind-driven rain blowing at about 25 miles per hour.

None of the women had rain gear, jackets or umbrellas, as they had expected door-to-door service. Immediately prior to the incident, the defendant limo driver deposited the group across the street from the bar to which they were going. Each of the women got out of the limo and darted across Dorchester Avenue.

Plaintiff was the sixth woman to run across the street. Unfortunately, she did not make it. She was struck by a car driven by co-defendant as she ran across Dorchester Avenue. She sustained massive facial lacerations as her head struck the windshield of the vehicle

Plaintiff testified she looked but did not see the vehicle until her face was planted in its windshield. Defendant driver testified he never saw plaintiff in the roadway until she was on his hood. Neither saw the other due to the severe weather and poor visibility at the time of the crash.

Plaintiff suffered severe facial lacerations to her mouth, chin and cheeks. Miraculously, she only suffered a non-displaced tibial fracture which required no treatment. She underwent three laceration repair/scar revision surgeries and was left with moderate facial scarring.

Entourage Livery, Inc. had an online training manual which stated that its drivers were never allowed to drop passengers in a place which would require them to cross the street to get to their destination. The manual stated that the driver should maneuver the vehicle so that passengers were dropped directly in front of their desired venue. Defendant claimed this was a customer service rule, not a safety policy.

Defendant moved for Summary Judgment on the theory that the company owed plaintiff no duty of care once she was discharged in a “place of safety,” namely, on the sidewalk across the street from their destination. The Court denied defendants’ motion for Summary Judgment.

Plaintiff and Entourage Livery, Inc. agreed to submit the case to binding arbitration. Plaintiff settled separately with co-defendant operator of the vehicle which struck her for $25,000.00. Following a one-day arbitration which focused heavily on defendants’ legal defenses on scope and duty of care, the arbitrator found for the plaintiff, awarded $750,000 and reduced that amount by the 20% for plaintiff’s comparative negligence. Prior to the arbitration, the parties negotiated interest of 12% on the award. After adjustments for plaintiff’s comparative negligence and the 12% interest, the award totaled $672,000. Plaintiff’s net recovery totaled $697,000.

Details

Wrongful Death Cases

$3,000,000

Wrongful Death

Injuries: Ovarian cancer, pain and suffering, wrongful death

Amount of Award: $3,000,000

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Middlesex Superior Court

Details of the Case

Plaintiff first visited defendant gynecologist in February 1999 when she was 44 years old.  She informed him that she had a strong family history of breast cancer (mother, cousin at age 28, and grandmother) and ovarian cancer (grandmother and possibly mother).  Plaintiff herself was diagnosed with an early stage of breast cancer in January 2000.  Her sister was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 1999.  It was recommended that plaintiff receive regular surveillance for breast and ovarian cancer, which she did.

On at least three visits with defendant gynecologist between February 1999 and August 2001, plaintiff expressed a desire to have her ovaries removed to avoid the risk of developing ovarian cancer.  The defendant repeatedly advised against prophylactic oophorectomy because he felt the risk of premature menopause outweighed the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

On October 30, 2000, defendant brought the plaintiff to the operating room for an unrelated pelvic procedure.  In order to alleviate plaintiff’s fears of ovarian cancer, he told the plaintiff he would visually inspect her ovaries during the procedure.  After the procedure, he reported that her ovaries looked normal.

In January 2002, plaintiff presented at defendant’s office with complaints of pelvic pain.  Subsequent ultrasound revealed advanced ovarian cancer.  Plaintiff underwent major debulking surgery and extensive chemotherapy.  She was diagnosed with Stage IIIC ovarian cancer and her chance of five-year survival was less than 12%.

Plaintiffs filed a Daubert Motion to exclude defendant’s gynecological pathology expert who was prepared to testify that plaintiff had fallopian tube cancer, not ovarian cancer, that she had advanced cancer prior to her first visit with defendant in 1999, and that removal of ovaries would not have made a difference in her outcome.

When the parties could not get a trial date, they agreed to arbitrate the case and to have the Daubert Motion decided by a separate arbitrator.  Plaintiff deposed defendant’s gynecologic pathologist expert over two days during which the expert could not point to a single report in the medical literature to support his belief that the plaintiff already had advanced ovarian cancer prior to her first visit with the defendant.  During the arbitration of the Daubert Motion, the arbitrator repeatedly asked defendant’s expert to explain the scientific basis for his opinion that the plaintiff had advanced ovarian cancer prior to 1999; the defense expert could not do so and the arbitrator allowed plaintiffs’ Daubert motion, thereby excluding his testimony.

The arbitrator determined that based on plaintiff’s family history, defendant knew or should have known that plaintiff was a likely carrier of a genetic mutation putting her at an exceedingly high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer and therefore prophylactic oophorectomy was indicated.  The arbitrator awarded $2,500,000.00, but did not award damages for plaintiffs’ claim for anticipatory wrongful death.  The parties subsequently settled the future wrongful death claim for $500.000.00.

Choosing a Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice cases are complex and difficult, and may take a long time to resolve. If you suspect your doctor failed to diagnose or treat your cancer properly, or to treat you in a way to prevent cancer, please review our page on failure to treat and diagnose cancer. It is important to choose a malpractice attorney carefully. Our Choosing a Lawyer page answers many questions you may have about choosing an experienced Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney for your case.

Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Practice Areas

Find out more about the kinds of medical malpractice cases which the attorneys at our firm handle on our page on Personal Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice.

If you feel you have a medical malpractice case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights, as Massachusetts has strict statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases. Please call us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form.

Details

$2,250,000

Wrongful Death

Injuries: Wrongful death

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $2.25 million

Date: March 2015

Plaintiff’s Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC Boston

Mediator: Paul Finn Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc.

Other Useful Information

On June 27, 2012, plaintiff’s decedent, a 43-year-old, morbidly obese man, presented at a Massachusetts emergency department for treatment of severe low back pain.  He had been diagnosed with severe sciatica. He had seen a neurosurgeon who had recommended he undergo a spinal fusion procedure. Because he was a Medicaid patient, it took a prolonged period of time to find doctors who would treat them. As a result he suffered four months with his pain.

Prior to appearing at the hospital, the patient had been confined to a couch in his apartment for four days. During that time he had not bathed or changed his clothing. When he arrived at the emergency department he yelled and screamed profanities at the doctors and nurses who were assigned to his care.  Because he was such a large man, the first two doses of opioids had virtually no effect.  In an attempt to stop him from screaming, the physician ordered dangerously high doses of opioids and sedatives to quiet him.

During his four-hour emergency room visit, he received multiple injections of Dilaudid, a powerful opiod narcotic for pain relief, as well as multiple injections of Ativan, a sedative.

Plaintiff’s decedent had a history of obstructive sleep apnea, which placed him at a high risk for respiratory depression which is associated with the administration of narcotic and sedative.

At approximately 4:00 p.m., plaintiff’s decedent was noted to be sleepy and difficult to arouse, warning signs of respiratory depression.  Defendant Number 1, a hospitalist, notified Defendant Number 2, an emergency physician, of her concern about a potential narcotic overdose in the setting of a patient with obstructive sleep apnea who was had signs of respiratory depression.  Defendant Number 1 left the emergency department to attend to another patient with the intention of returning.  Defendant Number 1 never returned to the emergency department.  Defendant Number 2, the emergency room physician, never went in to check the status of the patient. Defendant Number 3, an emergency room nurse, had observed signs of potential respiratory depression, which he understood could be fatal if untreated.  However, Defendant Number 3 did not alert any of the physicians in the emergency department of the change in the patient’s status.

Ultimately, plaintiff’s decedent, a father of three, progressed from respiratory depression to respiratory arrest, to cardiac arrest.  He was discovered by his wife who returned to the emergency department and found her husband blue in the face.  Despite prolonged resuscitative efforts, plaintiff’s decedent expired. The evidence was that the physicians responsible for his care ignored the clear warning signs of respiratory distress, respiratory depression and respiratory arrest.

Plaintiff’s experts were prepared to testify that the three defendants violated the standard of care by failing to intervene to reverse the large amount of narcotic and the likely respiratory depression which plaintiff’s decedent was experiencing.

The case settled on the eve of trial, after a mediation conducted by Paul Finn of Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc.

Details

$2,000,000

Wrongful Death

Injuries: Medical malpractice arising from medication errors at Boston hospital, resulting in wrongful death of twelve year old girl.

Amount of Settlement: $2,000,000.00

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Ronald E. Gluck and Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Mediator: John Fitzgerald, Esquire

Details of the Case

In February, 2003 the plaintiff’s daughter, a 12 year old girl with Down syndrome, was scheduled to undergo an MRI to rule out seizure activity. The defendant pediatrician prescribed a sedative to ensure that she remained still in the MRI machine. He consulted a treating cardiologist to determine the proper dose of sedative, but incorrectly transcribed that information resulting in an order for an overdose of four times the recommended dose. The defendant nurse failed to question the lethal dose and brought the prescription to the defendant hospital pharmacist who filled it in spite of concerns about the high dosage. The sedative was mixed in a cup of juice and given to the girl to drink.

Shortly after the girl was placed in the MRI machine, she suffered cardiopulmonary arrest resulting in a severe anoxic brain injury and her death, two days later. The girl, though significantly impaired by Down syndrome, was a vibrant member of her family and community. She was an active participant in her special education program at school and was a beloved member of her church. She left a mother and five siblings.

The case settled one month after an all day mediation due to the persistent efforts of the mediator to get the case resolved.

Click on the links to learn more about hiring a lawyer to handle a medication error case or a medical malpractice case.

Details

$1,800,000

Wrongful Death

Injuries: Undetected Cervical Fracture Leading to Quadriplegia and Death

Tried Before Judge or Jury: Settlement

Recovery: $1.8 million

Plaintiffs’Counsel: Marc L. Breakstone, Esq. Boston

Mediator: Brian Mone, Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc

Other Useful Information

On September 26, 2011, plaintiff’s decedent was an 84-year-old man who fell down the stairs at his home in the middle of the night.  He was taken to a local emergency department by ambulance in full c-spine precautions.

On arrival at the emergency department, he was disoriented and complained of pain in his head, neck and shoulder.  A CT scan of the cervical spine was read by a NightWatch tele-radiologist and reported as negative for fractures and dislocations.  Two hours later, the same study was read and reported by an attending radiologist as negative.

Following the negative CT scan report, the cervical collar was removed by the physician in the emergency department.

The next day, the plaintiff’s decedent was found with significant neurological deficits in his lower extremities.  A follow-up cervical CT scan was performed which demonstrated a Grade IV fracture dislocation of his cervical spine with severe central canal narrowing.  Shortly thereafter, the plaintiff’s decedent developed quadriplegia from which he died four days later.

Details

$675,000

Wrongful Death

Details of the Case

At the age of sixteen, the victim in this medical malpractice case was diagnosed with schizophrenia. In the months leading to his death at the age of nineteen he became self-mutilating and had occasional suicidal ideation. Following an incident where he punctured his scalp with a nail, an infection set in necessitating surgery. After one month of hospitalization, he was transferred to the psychiatric unit of defendant’s extended care facility for IV antibiotic therapy. The man’s room was on the fourth floor of the building, which had unsecured windows.

Within 24 hours of the his admission to the facility, he was observed pacing in front of the window and repeatedly opening the window. He was then put on a one-on-one suicide watch. However, the nursing attendant positioned himself in such a way that the patient still had full access to the window.

Due to the attendant’s inattention, the man was able to open the window and jump to his death.

Damages were assessed by a Worcester Superior Court judge, who found for the plaintiff in the amount of $600,000. The case was settled for $675,000, which represented the $600,000 damage assessment plus $75,000 in interest.

Details

$550,000

Wrongful Death

Injuries: Negligent failure to diagnose meningitis resulting in the wrongful death of a 17-year old child.

Amount of Settlement: $550,000.00.

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Suffolk Superior Court

Details of the Case

This medical malpractice physician negligence case was brought on behalf of the mother of a seventeen year old Boston youth who was misdiagnosed with migraine headaches when he was actually suffering from bacterial meningitis.  The claim was brought for wrongful death and conscious pain and suffering of the child.

In December 1999, the 17-year old young man, who was an outstanding student and leader in the organization Bikes Not Bombs developed severe headaches.  He went to his pediatrician’s office and was seen by a doctor who was not his regular pediatrician.  That physician recommended he return the following day to see his regular pediatrician of twelve years.

He returned to the clinic the next day and saw his pediatrician and gave a history of four days of severe headaches that were constant with lethargy.  The defendant doctor, based on a brief examination, diagnosed the patient as suffering from migraine headaches without performing the proper examination to rule out more serious causes.

One week later, the young man returned to the defendant physician with complaints of severe headaches, vomiting, photophobia and lethargy.  The doctor committed medical malpractice when he failed to rule out these new symptoms which were not consistent with a diagnosis of migraine headache.  The defendant physician negligently prescribed anti-migraine medication and recommended the patient see a neurologist in two days.

The patient returned home and was found the following morning dead in his bedroom.  The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was bacterial meningitis.

Plaintiff claimed that the defendant physician was negligent for failing to perform appropriate tests which would have diagnosed the bacterial meningitis.  Specifically, the standard of care required that the defendant physician perform a brain CT scan which would have revealed the meningitis and prevented the death of this young man.  The case settled right before the start of trial.

Details

$450,000

Wrongful Death

Injuries: Negligent failure to recognize respiratory distress resulting in the wrongful death of a 17-year old patient.

Amount of Settlement: $450,000.00

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Suffolk Superior Court

Details of the Case

This was a claim for wrongful death on behalf of a 17-year old troubled youth who was an in-patient at a home for troubled youths.  The 17-year old plaintiff had been placed in the defendant’s facility as a result of significant emotional problems and drug abuse.  The patient had in the year prior to her death shown great improvement in her functioning, motivation and compliance.  She was at the time of her death preparing to apply to college and had recently successfully taken the SAT examination.

On the morning of her death in February 2001, a mental health counselor employed by the defendant institution was required to perform observation checks every five minutes to ensure that the plaintiff was safe and secure.  On one of those checks, the defendant mental health counselor observed that the plaintiff was having significant respiratory difficulties.  Despite seeing the young woman with labored breathing and altered facial coloration, the mental health counselor failed to intervene.  Approximately 45 minutes later, a second mental health counselor observed the plaintiff in significant distress and called for assistance.  A code blue was called, and emergency resuscitation commenced.  Despite these life-saving measures, the patient died.

The basis for the wrongful death claim against the clinic and the mental health worker was the failure of the mental health worker to take action after observing the patient with compromised breathing at approximately 8:30 a.m.  Plaintiffs were prepared to present expert testimony from an emergency physician, a cardiologist and a neurologist to the effect that had CPR begun shortly after the first observation of respiratory distress, more likely than not, the plaintiff would have been successfully resuscitated.  As a result of the negligence of the mental health worker and the clinic that employed him, the plaintiff died.

Details

Other Cases

$800,000

Ski Accident

Injuries: Traumatic brain injury after crash into tree on ski slope caused by negligent supervision of physical education course.

Amount of Settlement: $800,000

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Attorney Ronald E. Gluck Boston, Massachusetts

Court: U.S. District Court – Springfield

Details of the Case

The 18-year old plaintiff was a resident of Japan and was attending private high school in Western, Massachusetts.  In his senior year, he enrolled in a “for credit” physical education course entitled “Recreational Skiing” during which students skied at night.  Plaintiff had never skied prior to enrolling in the course.  As was discovered in the course of the lawsuit following the personal injury, the school provided transportation to and from a local ski area, but no provided no instruction, no equipment, and no guidance on which trails were safe for students to ski based upon their level of ability.  Students were required to have ski equipment to participate in the course but were given no guidance on what equipment was safe for their level of ability.  The plaintiff, knowing no better, borrowed skies from a friend which were designed for an expert skier.  Students were advised, but not required, to wear a ski helmet to prevent head injuries.  Plaintiff, like many of the students in the course did not wear a helmet. Although he requested that he be given lessons, none were provided.  Prior to the date of the accident, the plaintiff skied approximately 11 times on the mountain as part of the course.  Typically, he would ski with a classmate who was a superior skier.  On the date of the incident, the plaintiff was skiing at night on borrowed expert skis on an intermediate trail, not wearing a helmet.  The plaintiff skied off the trail into a tree, suffering a traumatic brain injury.  There were no eyewitnesses to the accident.

The Massachusetts Charitable Immunity statute protected the school itself from liability beyond $20,000.00 for personal injury.  The lawsuit seeking compensation for personal injury was filed against the school and its Director and Assistant Director of Physical Education, both of whom had responsibility for administration of the ski course and who were not protected by the charitable immunity statute.

In the lawsuit, it was discovered that instruction was mandatory in 15 of the 16 physical education courses offered by the school.  This included courses such as golf, tennis and badminton. The only exception to the mandatory instruction rule was the ski course in which students received no instruction.   The school’s Physical Education Director admitted that skiing put students at a higher level of risk for personal injury than any of the other courses which had a mandatory lesson rule.

The defendants and their attorney in the case maintained that plaintiff was 18-years old, was old enough to serve in the military and was old enough to decide whether or not to wear a helmet.  Defendants’ attorney also argued that after skiing approximately 10 times on the mountain, plaintiff was proficient enough at skiing to be on an intermediate slope.  The Defendants also argued that plaintiff knew or should have known the difference between a beginner slope and an intermediate slope, as the slopes were clearly marked with signs indicating the level of difficulty of each trail.  Defendants also took the position that since no one witnessed the accident, it was not possible to say what caused the plaintiff to ski off the trail and into the tree.  Defendants argued that even skiers who have taken lessons and who have proper ski equipment for their level of expertise ski off trails and suffer personal injuries, and that there was no way plaintiff could prove his personal injuries would have been avoided if he had received lessons and was wearing proper equipment.  Finally, Defendant maintained that ski helmets were not required at any mountain in the country other than for small children in ski programs and that defendants’ helmet policy, even in the context of a physical education course, was reasonable to prevent personal injury.

Plaintiff countered that as this incident occurred during a physical education course the standard of care to prevent personal injury was the one that applied to physical education teachers in America.  Plaintiff’s physical education expert testified in the case that to prevent personal injury these standards require teachers to assess students’ ability, to monitor their progress in the activity, to make sure that the equipment being used in the activity is appropriate for their level of expertise, to monitor students’ selection of terrain so that it is appropriate for their level of expertise, and, finally, to require that students wear helmets which can minimize injuries.   The expert testified that defendants’ failure to adhere to the standard of care exposed the student to personal injury.  Plaintiff’s attorney  contended that if plaintiff had received proper instruction, was using proper equipment for his level of expertise, had been required to wear a helmet and was instructed on what trails were safe for his level of ability, this incident would probably not have occurred.

Defendants filed a motion for Summary Judgment, which plaintiff opposed.  The case went to mediation at which time the case settled for $800,000.00.

Plaintiff attempted to go to college after his lengthy rehabilitation following his initial personal injuries. As a result of his head injury, his academic performance was significantly below what his high school academic achievement would have predicted and he had to drop out.  Plaintiff is now in China undergoing therapy and treatment to improve his cognitive abilities.

Following the accident and all that was discovered in the course of the litigation by the plaintiff’s attorney, it is believed that the school implemented a mandatory lesson policy and discontinued the night skiing portion of the ski course.


For more information on choosing a car accident lawyer, please refer to our page on Personal Injury Caused by a Motor Vehicle Accident.

Details

$670,000

Insurance Bad Faith

Insurance Bad Faith – Failure to Settle Automobile Accident Case

The case was brought against the automobile insurance company, Utica Mutual Insurance Company, for bad faith settlement practices. Utica Mutual had failed to settle the underlying car accident case even though liability was absolutely clear, in violation of G.L. c. 93A, the Consumer Protection Act, and G.L. c. 176D, the Unfair Claims Practices Act. Ultimately the company was found liable for an additional $670,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees.

Plaintiff had suffered serious injuries in an automobile accident which was immediately determined to be the fault of another driver. The other driver had $250,000 in insurance coverage through Utica Mutual. He also had excess insurance coverage of $1,000,000. Utica Mutual Insurance Company refused to settle the case, and suit was filed against the driver and the insurance company. The personal injury case against the driver was settled by prior counsel for $675,000.00 shortly before trial. The case against Utica Mutual Insurance Company was tried in Cambridge Superior Court, and the judge found that Utica Mutual had violated the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, G.L. c. 93A, as well as the laws which prohibit unfair insurance claims practices, G.L. c. 176D. The judge awarded triple damages totaling $750,000.00, plus attorney’s fees of $150,000.00.

On appeal, the judgment was affirmed in part and reversed in part. The Supreme Judicial Court, which took the matter on direct appellate review, affirmed the trial judge’s findings of bad faith insurance practices on the part of Utica Mutual. The Court rejected attempts by Utica Mutual, which was supported by several other insurance companies as amici curiae, to undermine c. 93A law. In particular, the Court affirmed that an insurance company may still be liable for c. 93A violations even after the underlying case is settled. The Court remanded the matter for further trial on the matter of damages, after finding that damages were incorrectly calculated. Clegg v. Butler, 424 Mass. 413 (1997)

After further hearing in the Superior Court, the trial judge determined the period of plaintiff’s loss of use of money, interest and attorneys’, and the matter was then closed upon a settlement payment of approximately $670,000.00. The award included treble damages for the bad faith of the insurance company.

Choosing a Massachusetts Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer

Insurance bad faith cases are complex and difficult, and require an understanding of the insurance industry and insurance claims practices. The lawyers at the Boston, Massachusetts firm of Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC, have developed a specialty handling claims on behalf of consumers injured by insurance bad faith practices, seeking multiple damages from the responsible insurance company. It is important to choose a bad faith insurance attorney carefully. Our Choosing a Lawyer page answers many questions you may have about choosing an experienced Massachusetts attorney for your case.

If you feel you have an insurance bad faith case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights, as Massachusetts has strict statutes of limitations for G.L. c. 93A cases. Please call us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form.

Details

$517,486

Police Misconduct

Personal Injuries: Fractured orbit (bones around eye), loss of sense of smell, and psychological injury of post traumatic stress disorder

Amount of Award: $410,565.00 – compensatory damages $106,921.00 – attorneys fees and expenses

Special Damages: Medical Bills – $19,665.00

Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Marc L. Breakstone, Boston, Massachusetts

Arbitrator: Paul Cummings, Esq.

Court: U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts

Other Useful Information

Plaintiff was a 22 year old college student who suffered personal injury after he was struck by a police officer between the eyes with a heavy duty “MAG” flashlight as he was standing still with his arms raised. The attack occurred after plaintiff and several friends ran from the scene of a late night disturbance in a North Shore residential neighborhood. Immediately prior to the attack, plaintiff had run from the police around the side of a house. When he realized he had done nothing wrong, he started walking back to the street and observed a uniformed officer running towards him. He immediately stopped walking and raised his hands as if to surrender. The defendant, a patrolman with the defendant police department ran at plaintiff and delivered a severe blow between plaintiff’s eyes.

No charges were brought against plaintiff who was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. When asked by another officer at the scene what happened to cause injury to his face, plaintiff, in fear of his life, stated “I fell.” The defendant said nothing to the contrary at the scene. Two weeks later, the defendant officer filed a false report in which he stated that he and the plaintiff accidentally collided in a dark alley. The defendant failed to mention in his report that he was holding his “MAG” flashlight even though he told his supervisor that the flashlight might have come into contact with plaintiff’s face. The defendant admitted in his deposition that he failed to mention the flashlight in his report because he was nervous about a prior incident in which he had been sued for civil rights violations by another civilian who had been beaten with the same flashlight. Defendant was suspended without pay for five days for filing a false report. No criminal charges were brought against him because there were no independent witnesses to the attack.

Plaintiff suffered comminuted nasal and orbital fractures. He underwent plastic and reconstructive surgery which left him with microplates and screws in his face. He was left with a permanent loss of sense of smell and a significant loss of sense of taste. Plaintiff also suffered significant post-traumatic stress disorder and neuropsyschological deficits which significantly interfere with his ability to function in employment and social settings.

Two weeks before trial, counsel for the parties agreed to submit the entire case to binding arbitration. It was agreed that in the event of an award of damages on the §1983 claim, the arbitrator would also make an award attorney’s fees and expenses pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988. The insurance policy limits of the defendant city were in the amount of $500,000.00. The total award paid in the case was $517,486.00. The portion of the award over the policy limits was paid pursuant to the “supplemental coverage” provision of the policy which covered “costs taxed against the insured.” Plaintiff argued successfully that an award of attorney’s fees and expenses pursuant to § 1988 constituted “costs taxed” against the defendant.

Details

$180,000

Product Liability

Injuries: Degloving injury of the right palm with multiple open bone fractures, permanent partial disability, scarring, deformity of hand

Amount of Settlement: $180,000.00

Special Damages: Medical expenses: approximately $22,378.03; lost earning capacity: approximately $7,500.00.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Attorney Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Norfolk Superior Court

Other Useful Information

Plaintiff was a 20 year-old male employed by a temporary employment agency, which was the third party defendant, and working at a factory owned by the defendant. Plaintiff suffered a severe personal injury when his hand was pulled into a labeling machine causing a severe degloving injury to his right palm, as a result of which he had a large open wound causing severe injury to the hand.  At the time of the incident, a metal guard had been removed by defendant’s employees from the nip point that grabbed plaintiff’s hand.

As is often the case, an unskilled employee of the defendant carelessly removed a bent guard which protected operators from severe crush injuries at a “nip point” in the machine.  Without the guard in place, operators were exposed to unreasonable risks of fingers, hands and arms being pulled into the moving rollers of the machine. The 20-year-old plaintiff had no notice of the danger presented by the machine with the guard absent. He had received no training in accident prevention or safety awareness as it related to the operation of the machine.  At trial, it would have been likely that the defendant would try to blame plaintiff for improper placement of his hands into the moving rollers.

The liability of the defendant was based upon its negligence in permitting the  machine to be operated without the guard protecting the nip point in question.  The witness who testified on behalf of the defendant admitted that the machine should not have been operated without the guard in place.  He also testified that the bent guard was straightened and put back on the machine within two hours of plaintiff’s accident.  Defendant’s liability was also based upon the negligence of plaintiff’s supervisor who trained plaintiff to lightly tap the rotating drum of the machine to determine whether it was dry or tacky.  Plaintiff’s supervisor denied training plaintiff to lightly tap the rotating drum of the machine.  However, the supervisor, in a recorded interview with an insurance investigator days after the incident  stated that “you can lean over and put your hand on the mat.”

The defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff to suffer a severe complex degloving injury of the right  palm with multiple open fractures for which he underwent open reduction and internal fixation.  He was left with a significant deformity and severe scarring. He had partial impairment of the right arm, a 16.5 cm. scar, reduced grip strength and a significant cosmetic deformity of the right hand.  His orthopedic surgeon gave him a permanent partial impairment of 13% of the right upper extremity.  Medical bills totaled $22,378.03.  Lost wages totaled approximately $7,500.00.

The case settled at mediation with Attorney Cynthia Cohen (who is now an Associate Justice on the Massachusetts Appeals Court).

Details

$130,904

Race Discrimination

Injuries: Humiliation, embarrassment and emotional distress

Amount of Settlement: $130,904.79, plus attorney’s fees of $108,744.36

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Marc L. Breakstone Boston, Massachusetts

Court: Suffolk Superior Court

Details of the Case

In July 1994, plaintiff and four other African-American employees of a quasi-public agency in Boston were laid off for financial reasons.  The layoff was conducted in a degrading, offensive and intimidating manner.  Each of the laid-off women was escorted to her desk, closely observed as she packed her belongings and physically searched and escorted off the premises in a rushed manner.

Plaintiff later learned that a similarly situated white male employee received considerably more favorable treatment in the manner in which he was laid off.  That employee received a telephone call at home that he should not come into work on the day of the layoff.  He was permitted to come in on the following day and spend as much time as he needed to clean out his desk and close out his affairs.  During that time, he was not escorted, watched or searched.  As a result of the abusive treatment, plaintiff suffered significant emotional distress and embarrassment. That treatment included having armed guards stand over them and search their personal belongings as they packed up to leave.  The women were physically escorted off premises and denied the opportunity to say good bye to colleagues.  Several of the claimants suffered profound emotional distress after being treated like criminals.

Plaintiff, along with the other complainants, filed a complaint for race discrimination with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.  Plaintiff also led a campaign to inform political leaders and the public of the abusive manner in which she and the other women were treated.  The story received considerable coverage in the Boston media markets.

Following a five-day public hearing in 1998, the MCAD commissioner found that plaintiff and the other women were subjected to disparate treatment in the manner in which the layoff was conducted and were entitled to awards of damages.  Plaintiff received an award of $35,000.00 plus approximately $30,000.00 for attorney’s fees and costs.

The defendant appealed the hearing officer’s findings to the full MCAD commission.  In 2000, the full MCAD commission affirmed the hearing officer’s findings of fact and rulings of law.

The commission’s finding was then appealed by the defendant to a Superior Court justice who held a hearing in 2002.  In 2003, the Superior Court justice reversed the MCAD commission finding.  The judge ruled that the five African-American women were not similarly situated to the while male employee, and, therefore, reversed the commission’s findings and rulings.

Plaintiffs appealed the Massachusetts Appeals Court, which in 2005 issued a decision reversing the Superior Court judge and finding that the five complainants had proven a case of discrimination based on race.  Importantly, the Appeals Court also found that the complainants were entitled to an award of interest on their judgments and attorney’s fees awards.

Defendant appealed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

In July 2007, the SJC issued its decision, which affirmed the Appeals Court and the MCAD finding in favor of the plaintiff and her co-complainants and entered awards of damages accordingly. The ruling in that case established a landmark precedent for the way discrimination cases would be resolved in Massachusetts in the future.

Details