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Mercer County Jury Awards $3.9M in Case of Post-Surgery Stroke DeSanto v. Crowley: A Mercer County jury awarded $4.31 million on July 24 to a woman who claimed her stroke was caused by two doctors’ negligent care after surgery to unblock her carotid artery. The award was reduced by 10 percent, to $3.879 million, to account for the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition. Inge DeSanto suffered a massive stroke 13 days after surgery at Somerset Medical Center in 1996. Her suit claimed that vascular surgeon Gerard Crowley and internist Michael McCarthy failed to recognize post-surgical headaches as signs of cerebral hyperperfusion syndrome, whereby increased blood flow causes blood vessels in the brain to collapse. According to the suit, DeSanto repeatedly notified the two doctors of her severe headaches after the operation. The doctors prescribed four medications but none provided relief. Nine days after the operation, McCarthy recommended an emergency CAT scan, but DeSanto refused because she is claustrophobic. DeSanto saw a neurologist 13 days after the operation. He found she was having a stroke and sent her to the emergency room. DeSanto, now 65, is partially paralyzed on her left side and sometimes uses a wheelchair, says her lawyer, Linwood solo practitioner Robert Paarz, whose co-counsel was Turnersville solo practitioner Joseph Master. The suit charged that Crowley failed to impress on McCarthy the emergent need for the CAT scan and that McCarthy failed to insist on one or to suggest alternatives such as magnetic resonance imaging test or a sedated CAT scan. The jury apportioned 70 percent of liability to Crowley and 30 percent to McCarthy. Applying the doctrine of Scafidi v. Seiler, 119 N.J. 93 (1990), the jury reduced the verdict by 10 percent to reflect the operation’s small risk of stroke, which it found was increased by the defendants’ negligence, says Paarz. The gross verdict included $800,000 for past pain and suffering, $1.8 million for future pain and suffering, $25,000 for past medical expenses, $180,000 for future medical expenses, $200,000 for past lost wages, $30,000 for future lost wages, and $1.275 million for a per quod claim by her husband, Joseph, who took nine months from work to care for her. Crowley, represented by Matthew Schorr, a partner at McDonough, Korn & Eichhorn in Springfield, was insured through the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where he is a faculty member. McCarthy, represented by John Zen Jackson, a partner at Kalison, McBride, Jackson & Murphy in Liberty Corner, was insured through MIIX of Princeton. Schorr and Jackson did not return calls about the case. Judge Jack Sabatino presided at trial. His chambers confirmed the verdict. � By Charles Toutant $1.5M for Breach of Contract NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc. v Forest Laboratories: A pharmaceuticals company will receive $1.525 million for its claim that a laboratory failed to make a scheduled payment under a development and licensing agreement. NPS Pharmaceuticals of Salt Lake City, which has a satellite office in Parsippany, claimed it was due a $2 million “milestone payment” in January 2002 from Forest Laboratories of New York. NPS retained Forest to conduct clinical trials for a compound, ALX-0646, to be developed as a migraine medication. Forest claimed that it pulled out of the development and licensing agreement before the payment was due. NPS attorney Andrew Jacobs, a partner at Chatham’s Epstein, Fitzsimmons, Brown, Gioia, Jacobs & Sprouls, says Forest pulled out of the agreement after citing unspecified safety concerns. Forest completed clinical trials to a certain stage and therefore was obliged to pay the $2 million, NPS says. The settlement was reached on July 22. The claim had been scheduled to go to arbitration in October before the American Arbitration Association, says Jacobs. Forest Laboratories’ lawyer , Peter Venaglia, a partner at New York’s Dornbush Mensch Mandelstam & Schaeffer, did not return a telephone call seeking comment. � By Michael Booth $1.475M for Auto Injuries Kayal v. Shore Limousine: A passenger struck by a car on the Garden State Parkway after the limousine he was riding in spun out of control accepted $1.475 million from the limo’s insurer on July 25. Shore Limousine of Manasquan picked up Michael Kayal, an engineer from Toms River, at Newark Liberty International Airport on July 17, 2001. Once on the Garden State Parkway, the driver lost control of the limo and it came to rest against a center guardrail, partially encroaching on the fast lane. Kayal tried to run across the highway but was struck by another car, breaking his legs and fracturing his shoulder, says his lawyer, Barry Eichen of Eichen Levinson in Edison. State Farm Ins. Co., the carrier for Anthony Scarangella, the other car’s driver, tendered the full extent of his $100,000 policy. Shore Limousine’s insurer, Proformance Ins. Co. in Freehold, offered $1.375 million of a $1.5 million policy. State Farm’s counsel, partner John Camassa of Connell, Connell & Camassa in Manasquan; did not return a call seeking comment. Proformance was represented by general counsel Mark Mattia, who also did not return a call. � By Jim Edwards No Cause in Bias Case Newman v. Ramapo College: A Bergen County jury returned a verdict for the defense on July 18 in a discrimination, whistleblower and defamation case by the former director of the minority student program at Ramapo College. Thelmon Newman claimed that the college’s decision against renewing his two-year contract as head of the Ramapo branch of the state Equal Opportunity Fund violated the Law Against Discrimination and the Conscientious Employee Protection Act and that the president of the college defamed him. But after a seven-week trial and three days of deliberations, the jury voted 9-0 against the CEPA and defamation claims and 8-1 on the LAD claim, according to defense lawyers Robert Levy, a partner at Lyndhurst’s Scarinci & Hollenbeck, and Mitchell Pascual, counsel to the firm. The defense lawyers say that while the jury was deliberating, Newman turned down a settlement offer of $600,000 in cash, plus pension and health care benefits worth up to $400,000. Newman’s lawyers, Seton Hall University Law School professors Mark Denbeaux and Charles Sullivan, say they are considering an appeal. Levy and Pascual say that during the trial before Bergen County Superior Court Judge Robert Contillo, Newman, who is black, presented evidence that racism pervaded the school atmosphere, that he received excellent evaluations over 21 years and that internal memos accusing him of creating racial dissension were untrue. The evidence also suggested that Newman’s contract was not renewed in retaliation for a self-study of the EOF program that criticized the school and the state, the lawyers say. Defense witnesses testified there was no link between the nonrenewal and the study, noting that Newman was only one of two dozen members of the committee that submitted the report. The defense also presented evidence that Newman was fired because he created a hostile working environment by bullying subordinates, intimidating colleagues and refusing to cooperate with staff and faculty to improve the EOF program. � By Henry Gottlieb Balseca v. Flexo & Folding Service: A machine refurbisher agreed on July 3 to pay $475,000 to a worker whose arm was crushed in a box-maker as he reached for a bucket. Marco Balseca of Elizabeth alleged that his injury resulted from a poorly designed safety door Hampton Industrial Services of Granger, Ind., installed on a machine bought by his employer, Bell Container Inc. in Newark. The machine did not work if doors to the room were open, but a safety door Hampton installed had a gap at the bottom, and Balseca crawled through it on Dec. 12, 2000, to retrieve a bucket. He lost his balance and tried to gain support by extending his arm, which then was caught in the machinery. He can use his arm but is in pain when lifting heavy objects. His attorney, John O’Dwyer, partner at Ginarte, O’Dwyer, Winograd & Laracuente in Newark, says it was foreseeable an employee would crawl through the gap. Hampton admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement. Its attorney, Jason Winkler of Winter and Winkler in Livingston, confirms the settlement. Flexo & Folding Service of New York, which assembled the machine, was named in the suit before it was clear it was not liable. � By Nathan Tobey

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