BROWN & TARANTINO, LLC NEWS
On June 25, 2012, the Buffalo Law Journal published a guest column authored by Kevin Wicka entitled "Deciphering family medical/leave laws."
On February 21, 2012 Max Gaujean obtained a defense verdict in Bronx Supreme Court in a medical malpractice action where the plaintiff, a 36-year-old mother of three children, with bi-lateral tubal ligation, was diagnosed with an ruptured ectopic pregnancy at Albert-Einstein Hospital. The defendant doctor was alleged to have failed to diagnose the ectopic in a previous office visit eight days prior, when the plaintiff complained of stomach pain. The case was tried over the course of three weeks. The plaintiff's demand was $750,000. The Jury verdict, in favor of defendant was, unanimous.
Kevin Wicka was featured on the cover of the Buffalo Law Journal's June 13, 2011 special report on employment law.
On May 18, 2011, Kevin Wicka presented on two topics at the New York State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education seminar "Employment Law for the General Practitioner and Corporate Counselor." Mr. Wicka spoke on the topics of "Drafting Employment Contracts" and "Litigation of Employment Disputes at the Administrative Level."
Max Gaujean obtained a defense verdict in the Bronx in a medical malpractice action where plaintiff, a 56 yr old mother of 5 adult children, died of a pulmonary embolism following medical care received at a local hospital. Following her death and upon autopsy, it was discovered that plaintiff suffered from a rare gene mutation that predisposed her to clotting. Plaintiff had previously settled with the co-defendant nursing home. Plaintiff’s demand was 1.5 million. The jury verdict, in favor of defendant, was unanimous.
Tom Bernacki just won a trial in Supreme Court, Chemung County. Briefly, Tom successfully defended his client in a difficult malpractice action. The case was especially challenging because the subsequent treating physician was critical of Tom’s client and he provided trial testimony against Tom’s client. Tom credits the hard work and dedication of his client, along with his own expert witness, who helped the jury understand the intricate nature of this complex case.
Kevin Wicka was featured in the cover story for the June 10, 2010 edition of the Buffalo Law Journal. The article examined the impact of the Health Care Reform Act on employment discrimination litigation. The article can be viewed at the following link: www.lawjournalbuffalo.com
On April 26, 2010, partners Ann Campbell and Kevin Wicka were admitted to the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Following their admission, Ms. Campbell and Mr. Wicka observed oral argument in two civil cases. All nine members of the United States Supreme Court, including Chief Justice John G. Roberts, were in attendance.
Kevin Wicka recently presented at the Bar Association of Erie County 2010 "Labor and Employment Law Symposium." The symposium is an accredited continuing legal education seminar which is designed to provide attorneys with an overview of the latest developments and trends in employment law. Mr. Wicka's presentation provided strategies for "Best Practices for Summary Judgment Motions in Employment Law."
Kevin Wicka was interviewed for and quoted in an article which appeared in the April 12, 2010 edition of The Buffalo Law Journal. The article was written by Matt Chandler and was entitled "Great testimony can save your injury case," and can be found at http://www.lawjournalbuffalo.com/news/article/featured/2010/04/12/102230/great-testimony-can-save-your-injury-case.
Kevin Wicka recently presented at the New York State Bar Association continuing legal education seminar "Keeping Current with Automobile Litigation." The seminar was designed to provide attorneys with an overview of the latest developments and trends in automobile tort law. Mr. Wicka's presentation provided strategies for the "Use of Medical Experts and Evaluating Damages."
Attorneys Brian J. Weidner, Janice A. Barber and Ann M. Campbell were included on the 2009 Super Lawyers list of the top attorneys in Upstate New York. Mr. Weidner and Ms. Barber were recognized in the area of personal injury defense, medical malpractice. Ms. Campbell was recognized in the area of appellate law. Ms. Campbell was also included in the 2009 Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel list for her appellate work.
Tom Bernacki was preparing for a month long trial in Rome, New York. His client, a radiation oncologist, was on of several defendants who were named in this complex medical malpractice action. The thrust of plaintiffs’ claims against defendants was that there was a global failure to properly stage and treat the plaintiff’s cancer. In sum, it was alleged that the patient’s disease was T2, Stage 1, and as such, plaintiffs claimed improper use of neo-adjuvant therapy (preoperative radiation and chemotherapy). Despite studies which have shown significantly increased survival rates as a result of neo-adjuvant therapy, plaintiffs’ theory was that the patient’s tissue had been unnecessarily damaged by the radiation and chemotherapy, thereby making recovery from surgery a virtual impossibility. Plaintiffs relied on existing pathology reports, and, it was assumed that the patient’s disease had not progressed beyond T2, Stage 1. Plaintiffs claimed that the malpractice resulted in several permanent injuries including, but not limited to: synchronous abdominal perineal resection, complete proctectomy, permanent colostomy, severe GI toxicity, radiation cystitis, chronic colitis, prolapsed ostomy, right uretal stricture with dilation of proximal ureter with right hydronephrosis, multiple stent replacements, obstructed right kidney, renal atrophy and resulting right nephrectomy, permanent scarring, ongoing pain in the area of the right nephrectomy requiring pain management treatment. Prior to trial, Tom ordered re-cut (pathology) slides which saved the case for his client and another defendant-physician. This was a critical decision because the original slides did not demonstrate that the patient’s disease was beyond Stage 1. Tom retained an expert pathologist, who reviewed the re-cut slides. In sum, there were two slides which demonstrated the presence of cancer. Of those two slides, one demonstrated a single malignant gland with five nuclei that invaded through the muscularis propria into the subserosa. In other words, that single invasive malignant gland, by definition, rendered the patient’s tumor a T3, Stage 2, thereby rendering the treatment entirely appropriate while simultaneously defeating plaintiffs’ arguments/allegations. Accordingly, this information was disclosed plaintiffs’ counsel, who promptly showed the slides to his own pathology expert. The experts agreed with the staging being a T3 Stage 2. Two weeks before trial, plaintiffs discontinued this case against Tom’s client as the re-cut slides Tom ordered proved the treatment rendered was entirely proper. As a bonus, Tom’s diligence also resulted in this action being dropped against another physician (surgeon) who was represented by other attorneys.
Max G. Gaujean obtained a no-cause verdict in Brooklyn in an action where a doctor was alleged to have to failed to diagnose a hip dysphasia. The infant at the time underwent three separate surgeries. Plaintiff's demand was 4 million dollars.
Tom Bernacki recently won a three-week trial in Supreme Court, Monroe County. Briefly, Tom successfully defended a vascular surgeon in a multi-million dollar lawsuit stemming from a procedure performed at local hospital in November 2001. In short, the vascular surgeon performed an aorto-bifemoral bypass on a patient with significant co-morbidities, including diabetes and peripheral vascular disease. Plaintiff alleged that the vascular surgeon, as well as the ICU staff from the facility in which the patient was treated, failed to diagnose the patient's cancer. Interestingly, the patient was diagnosed with large B cell lymphoma approximately 18 months after his 2001 surgical procedure. Plaintiff alleged that the portable post-operative chest films taken in the ICU demonstrated abnormalities consistent with a chronic process such as cancer. Plaintiff could not argue that there was evidence of large B cell lymphoma because the disease is too aggressive to have gone untreated for 18 months with the patient being asymptomatic during the aforementioned time period. Thus plaintiff asserted that a low grade follicular cancer was present in 2001. Plaintiff further asserted that because the disease went undiagnosed and untreated, the cancer evolved into a high grade disease, i.e., large B cell lymphoma. With the assistance of expert witnesses, including a vascular surgeon, a radiologist, and an intensivist, the defense demonstrated that the standard of care was met by all physicians, and that additional testing/screening was not required in 2001. To further support the defense, an oncologist who specializes in lymphoma demonstrated that patient did not, and could not have had cancer while he was being treated for his vascular issues/problems in 2001. In short, the pathology (the presence and absence of certain onco-proteins) did not support plaintiff’s theory of a transformed disease. After due deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of all defendants.
At the end of January 2008, Dave Brown obtained a no-cause verdict in a Long Island case involving a surgeon at a major teaching institution in the metropolitan New York City area. It was alleged that the surgeon failed to prescribe conservative treatment and negligently performed an endovascular procedure on a patient that had extensive atherosclerotic disease. The settlement demand was near policy limits.
Max Gaujean and Steven Kraus presented the Grand Rounds Lecture "The ABC's of Medical Malpractice" to the Pediatric Department of Westchester Medical Center on September 24, 2008. The review was sponsored by the Risk Management Department of Westchester Medical Center and Academic Health Professionals Insurance Company. The focus of the discussion was on the "Anatomy of a Lawsuit" handled by Steven Kraus and "Pediatric Malpractice Preventative Measures" presented by Max Gaujean. Max is the managing partner of Brown & Tarantino, LLC's White Plains office and a trial attorney. Steven is also in our White Plains office and is a partner and trial attorney.
Brian J. Weidner was named to the Buffalo Business First's Who's Who In the Law in the medical malpractice category for 2007 and again in 2008. Mr. Weidner was also chosen to appear in the 2007-2008 edition of Strathmore's Who's Who and recently became a member of the WNY Trial Lawyers Association. In 2008, Mr. Weidner was selected as one of the top attorneys in Upstate New York and was listed in the Upstate Edition of New York Super Lawyers.
Ann M. Campbell was named in the Buffalo Business First's Who's Who in the Law in 2008 in the appellate category.
David E. Brown was recently a presenter at a continuing legal education seminar sponsored by the New York State Bar Association entitled "Prosecuting and Defending Medical Malpractice Claims." The seminar provided an overview of the key issues in medical malpractice litigation. Mr. Brown shared his expertise on trial strategies and techniques.
Brian J. Weidner was recently a presenter at three continuing legal education seminars. The first presentation was entitled "Attacking Opposing Expert Testimony" and was sponsored by the National Business Institute. Brian's second presentation was entitled "Prosecuting and Defending Medical Malpractice Claims". This seminar was sponsored by the New York State Bar Association. In December of 2007, Mr. Weidner spoke at a continuing legal education seminar entitled "Litigating To Win Through Advanced Trial Advocacy" on behalf of the National Business Institute.
Thomas M. Prato was recently the lecturer at a seminar entitled "Developments in Medical Malpractice Litigation: Minimizing Your Exposure When a Bad Outcome Occurs," at the Monroe County Medical Society. Mr. Prato's seminar provided an overview of issues and strategies for proper medical charting.
Ann M. Campbell moderated and was a presenter at Lorman Education Services' seminar on Appellate Practice for the General Practitioner in New York State.
Brian J. Weidner lectured on April 24, 2008 at the request of the NYS Academcy of Trial Lawyers. The topic was "Direct and Cross-Examination of a Medical Expert."