Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC, Clients Receive $5.6 Million Verdict In Montgomery County Jury Trial
A Montgomery County jury Thursday afternoon reached a $5.6 million verdict after a nine day medical malpractice case against an osteopath for causing nerve and spinal injuries during a high velocity cervical manipulation performed upon his patient. The claims were brought by Nancy and James Marquez against Hadi M. Rassael, D.O. and Advanced Medical and Cosmetic Group, Inc. The jury deliberated seven hours before reaching its verdict. Approximately $2.7 million of the award was for past and future lost earnings of Ms. Marquez who was a physical therapist at the time of the improper manipulation, and who was never able to return to her profession due to her nerve and back injuries. Ms. Marquez continues to suffer intractable pain and has undergone two surgeries to repair her damaged brachial plexus and to replace a disrupted disc at level C5-6 in her neck. Approximately $276,000 of the award was for past medical expenses. The remaining $2.5 million was awarded for noneconomic loss to Ms. Marquez and her husband. That award is subject to Maryland’s cap on noneconomic loss. Marquez, et ux, v. Rassael, et al, Case No. 298673-V (Circuit Court for Montgomery Co.).
In February 2005, Ms. Marquez presented to Dr. Rassael’s office for purposes of receiving a very light, non-twisting osteopathic manipulation to her hip joint know as “muscle energy technique.” Since her days as a Division One swimmer on the Michigan State swim team, and her participation in numerous triathlons, many of which she had won, she suffered from periodic hip pain which was resolved through use of the muscle energy technique. She presented to defendant Rassael’s office after specifically asking whether he was familiar with that technique and was told he was. After arriving at the office, however, the doctor laid Ms. Marquez on an exam table and proceeded to examine her back. When his hands got to the back of her head, he suddenly and without warning twisted her neck in both directions in a forceful manner, causing injury to the nerves in her neck and a rupture of one of her vertebral disks at C5-6. Ms. Marquez, now age 33, has never recovered from her injuries which plague her with pain and muscle atrophy that prevents her from participating in competitive sports of any type. She underwent a brachial plexus decompression surgery and a disk replacement surgery in Germany.
Of significance, during the trial, the defendants intended to call a neuroradiologist, Charles Citrin, M.D., as an expert. Believing Dr. Citrin was a “professional witness” whose opinions were suspect, the plaintiffs sought discovery of Dr. Citrin’s financial records to prove he was a “hired gun” expert. After three attempts to obtain this information to no avail, the presiding judge, The Honorable Marielsa Bernard, ordered Dr. Citrin to appear before her. After considering his testimony as to the whereabouts of his financial records as “disingenuous” and honestly questionable, she refused to allow Dr. Citrin to testify. This is one of the first reported cases that we are aware of where an expert was stricken for failing to produce financial information as to his/her income as an expert witness.
The plaintiffs were represented by Alan J. Belsky and Valerie A. Grove of Belsky & Horowitz LLC. The defendants were represented by D. Lee Rutland and Robert S. Morter of Wharton, Levin, Ermantrout & Klein of Annapolis.
This case is an example of the difficult cases Belsky & Horowitz LLC have taken to trial with incredible results. The case also typifies the tenacity of our lawyers in obtaining justice for our clients. Please contact our firm for more information about this case or any questions you may have of our attorneys.
1.95 Million Jury Verdict in Hit and Run Accident Case in Anne Arundel County
An Anne Arundel County jury returned a $1.95 million verdict yesterday in favor of Robert Howard, 56, who was struck by a cement mixer truck while working on his disabled truck on the northbound shoulder of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in April 2005. The accident resulted in the death of one pedestrian and severe injuries to Mr. Howard, both of whom worked at the time for Goodwill Industries in Linthicum. The trial lasted five days. The jury deliberated for two hours before reaching a verdict against the vehicle’s owner, Lafarge Mid-Atlantic, LLC, and the driver, Robert Schulman.
The accident received a great deal of notoriety and press attention as a result of a manhunt that ensued after Mr. Schulman fled the scene in the Lafarge vehicle. Phone tips to the Maryland State Police resulted in the identification of the vehicle as one owned by Lafarge Mid-Atlantic. The truck was found by the Maryland State Police at Lafarge’s Jessup facility. Debris from the scene was matched to the truck, and blood evidence was linked to the deceased, Erol Johnson of Baltimore. Mr. Schulman was later identified as the driver but during the initial State Police investigation he denied any knowledge of striking the pedestrians. He was subsequently charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing death which was later amended to negligent driving pursuant to which Mr. Schulman pleaded guilty.
Robert Howard was represented by Alan J. Belsky and Valerie A. Grove of Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC. Lafarge Mid-Atlantic and Robert Schulman were represented by Joseph Zauner, II
Bussey v. Harbor Hospital Center, Inc.
$5 Million jury verdict in case involving 68-year-old woman who fell in her hospital room and fractured her hip, causing complications that eventually resulted in her death. Offer before trial was $50,000 and was rejected.
Good v. Hicks
$1.5 Million mediated settlement for wrongful death and survival claims for death of 39-year-old driver/pedestrian while accompanying his vehicle on the right shoulder of Interstate 95. The decedent was standing next to his vehicle when the defendant crossed onto the shoulder and struck the decedent who was declared dead at the scene. The defendant fled the scene and was later apprehended and convicted of involuntary manslaughter. The case on behalf of a surviving beneficiary was handled by Robert L. Weinberg of the firm.
Wilson v. WMATA (District of Columbia)
$1.1 Million verdict in case involving electrician electrocuted while performing work at the Shady Grove Metro Station in Rockville, Maryland. Defendant was found negligent in re-energizing a power circuit without first notifying the plaintiff. Plaintiff sustained electrocution-induced neck and back injuries and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Miller, et al. v. Otis Elevator Co., Inc.
$875,000 jury verdict in federal court for injuries sustained by two nurses at local hospital after elevator in which they were passengers malfunctions and ran into the “pit” at the bottom of the elevator shaft. No offer before trial.
Jane Doe v. Anonymous Physician
$675,000 settlement to woman who suffered permanent nerve injury to her hand and arm as a result of physician negligence during a routine surgery to remove a cyst where the nerve controlling the hand was severed.
Mahler v. Johns Hopkins Hospital
$550,000 jury verdict in favor of 32-year-old male who underwent cosmetic chin augmentation procedure which resulted in permanent dysfunction of his lower lip. Settlement offer before trial was $0. Case was retried in 2004 resulting in mistrial. Case is presently on appeal.
John Doe v. Anonymous Concrete Manufacturing Company
400,000 settlement in favor of construction worker who suffered a foot injury when a precast concrete slab he was working on collapsed due to defects in the concrete curing and consolidation processes. Expert retained by our firm was W. Gene Corley, chief engineer responsible for evaluating the 9/11 collapse of the World Trade Centers and the Edward R. Morrow Federal Building in the Oklahoma City Bombing incident.
John Doe v. Anonymous Trucking Company
$400,000 settlement of case in which client sustained serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident caused by the driver of a commercially owned truck.
John Doe v. Anonymous Hospital
$250,000 settlement for 80-year-old male patient at hospital who fell in his room and fractured his femur. Allegations of negligence involved failure of the nursing staff to properly attend to the patient’s care at the time of the fall.