The family of a child born with cerebral palsy recovered $7.5 million in settlement of a medical malpractice suit, Martinez v. Ebert.
On July 5, 2004, at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Aleksander Martinez allegedly was deprived of oxygen during the hour between a monitor indication showing a slowing of his heart rate and his birth by Caesarean section.
His mother’s uterus was rupturing but Dr. Gary Ebert and a nurse thought the reading resulted from a spinal epidural, and only afterward did Ebert realize the severity of the situation and order a C-section, says the family’s lawyer, Timothy Barnes of Porzio Bromberg & Newman in Morristown.
Barnes says Aleksander has spastic quadriplegia, cannot speak, needs a respirator and a feeding tube, and requires around-the-clock care.
The settlement was reached on Oct. 22 through mediation with retired Superior Court Judge Anthony Sciuto, of Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi in Fort Lee. Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Joseph Rea approved it at a Nov. 21 friendly hearing.
Of the $7.5 million, $950,000 will be paid on behalf of Ebert and the rest on behalf of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Ebert’s practice group in 2004. The claims against the nurse remain, Barnes says.
Ebert’s lawyer, Justin Johnson of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin in Roseland, did not return a call.
— By Mary Pat Gallagher
$4.5M for Motorcycle Accident Fatality
Gentile v. Kuhta: The widow and child of a man who died in a motorcycle crash accepted $4.5 million on Nov. 25 to settle her Middlesex County suit.
Gregory Gentile, 27, of East Brunswick, was fatally hit on Amwell Road in Hillsborough on May 17, 2012, by a car making a U-turn.
Gentile was an electrical engineer earning about $100,000 a year, and an expert estimated his death would cost his family more than $4 million, says plaintiff lawyer Raymond Gill Jr. of Gill & Chamas in Woodbridge.
His widow, Bethany Gentile, settled with Allstate Ins. Co., the carrier for the car’s driver, Joseph Kuhta of Glenfield, N.Y., who made the U-turn.
Defense lawyer Paul Daly, of Springfield’s Hardin, Kundla, McKeon & Poletto, did not return a call.
— By Michael Booth
$1.05M in Medical Malpractice Suit
Lance v. Ashok: A Monmouth County jury awarded $1.05 million to a patient who alleged suffered a colon perforation during a hernia operation.
James Lance claimed that during the laparoscopic repair procedure at Centra State Medical Center in Freehold in March 2006, surgeons Viswanath Ashok and Gabor Kovacs failed to notice the perforation. An infection resulted, necessitating more surgery the next day. The perforation was repaired and a colostomy implanted but he required a tracheotomy because of lung failure.
The defense contended the injury was not apparent and likely occurred after surgery because Lance was recovering well initially, says Ashok’s lawyer, Paul Callan of Callan, Koster, Brady & Brennan in New York.
On Nov. 19, at trial before Superior Court Judge Katie Gummer, the jury found negligence and causation and awarded $800,000 for pain and suffering and $176,000 for past and future medical costs. The parties stipulated that $76,000 more would be added to cover the costs of Lance’s tracheotomy.
The jury rejected a defense theory that Lance failed to mitigate damages by having the colostomy reversed. He did not because of risks associated with his being overweight, says his lawyer, William Crutchlow of Edison’s Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy.
Ashok is covered by NJ Pure; Kovacs by MD Advantage. Callan confirms the verdict. Kovacs’ lawyer, Greg Giordano of Lenox, Socey, Formidoni, Giordano, Cooley, Lang & Casey in Lawrenceville, did not return a call.
— By David Gialanella
$950,000 in Medical Malpractice Suit
Jean v. Thani: An Essex County judge approved a $950,000 postverdict settlement in a suit over a baby born with a paralyzed right arm.
On May 11, 2001, Mary Blaise gave birth at eight months to nine-pound Samantha Jean, who allegedly suffered nerve damage when her right shoulder became stuck during delivery at Newark's Beth Israel Hospital.
Blaise contended that obstetrician Suresh Thani failed to determine that the baby was unusually large and to prepare for a Caesarean section, says plaintiff lawyer Carol Forte of Blume, Goldfaden, Berkowitz, Donnelly, Fried & Forte in Chatham.
On June 5, a jury awarded $200,000 for past pain and suffering, $550,000 for future pain and suffering, and $150,000 for future medical expenses, for a total of $998,385 with interest.
The parties later settled for $950,000 in exchange for the defendant waiving an appeal, and Superior Court Judge Randal Chiocca approved the settlement on Oct. 31.
Thani’s lawyer, James Sharp of Sharp & Mahoney in Morristown, did not return a call.
— By Charles Toutant