The family of a woman who died after childbirth agreed to a $4 million settlement in their Monmouth County medical malpractice suit, Estate of Bloomstein v. Vaclavik, on April 4.

When Lauren Bloomstein was admitted to Monmouth Medical Center on Oct. 2, 2011, for the birth of her first child, her blood pressure was elevated, but obstetrician John Vaclavik did not take any steps to alleviate it, according to plaintiff lawyer Robert Adinolfi. After she gave birth, her blood pressure continued to rise, and she developed pre-eclampsia, which progressed into a liver disorder called HELLP syndrome, according to Adinolfi. HELLP syndrome (hemolysis, or ruptured red blood cells; elevated liver enzymes; and low platelet count) is a potentially fatal complication of pregnancy.

Bloomstein, 31, died of seizures eight hours after delivering a healthy infant. The suit claimed her condition would have stabilized if she had been treated with hypertension drugs. The suit named attending obstetrician John Vaclavik and Monmouth Medical Center as defendants.

Defense experts testified that Bloomstein’s blood tests for eclampsia came back negative, and the rapid progression of HELLP syndrome made her death unavoidable, Adinolfi said

The settlement calls for Vaclavik and Monmouth Medical Center to pay $2 million each, he said.

Bloomstein’s estate was represented by Adinolfi, of Gill & Chamas in Woodbridge, who was assisted by the firm’s Peter Chamas.

Vaclavik’s lawyer, Beth Hardy of Farkas and Donohue in Florham Park, and the hospital’s lawyer, Lauren Zalepka of Ronan, Tuzzio & Giannone in Tinton Falls, did not return calls about the case.

— Charles Toutant

$1.1M For Worker Killed by Dump Truck

Tomas v. Allen Contracting: The widow of a construction worker who was run over by a dump truck at a job site agreed to a $1.1 million settlement in Middlesex County on April 20.

Fernando Tomas, 67, an employee of NJRTC Construction, was working at a job site in Edison on August 24, 2015, when he was struck by a reversing Mack dump truck driven by another employee of the same company. He died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, said plaintiff lawyer Norman Hobbie.

A witness at the scene, where the parties were repaving a road, said noise from a machine for milling the road surface might have prevented Tomas from hearing a beeping alarm from the reversing truck, according to Hobbie. The accident occurred two hours into the first day of the project, and a safety supervisor was off-site, attending a doctor’s appointment, Hobbie said.

Tomas’ estate and his wife, Maria, were barred from suing the truck driver or NJRTC because of the workers’ compensation bar to suit. The estate filed suit against general contractor Allen Contracting, claiming it failed to have a safety plan, that it did not assign a safety supervisor to the job site, and that it failed to hold a pre-construction safety meeting. The estate also sued subcontractor Lucas Construction, which claimed that it was not liable because it and NJRTC, Tomas’ employer, are part of the same company, Hobbie said.

The defendants countered that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration investigated the death and found no safety violations by any company, according to Hobbie, who is with Hobbie Corrigan & Bertucio in Eatontown.

Former Superior Court Judge James Courtney Jr. led the parties in mediation. The settlement calls for Lucas to pay $750,000, and Allen to pay $350,000.

The lawyer for Allen Contracting, Edward Thornton of Methfessel & Werbel in Edison, confirmed the settlement.  John Goworek of Cascio & Capotorto in Parsippany represented Lucas Construction. He did not return a call about the case.

— Charles Toutant