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A man who underwent spinal surgery after a rear-end accident was paid a $1.2 million settlement in his Morris County suit, Weintraub v. Cook, in May.

On Oct. 2, 2014, Morris Weintraub was driving southbound on Interstate 287 in Hanover Township, and, while stopped in traffic, was struck from behind by another motorist, Edward Cook, said Weintraub’s lawyer, Todd Leonard, who heads a firm in Denville.

The suit claimed that Weintraub, 64 this year, sustained a spinal injury that was initially treated with epidural injections but which later required a one-level fusion procedure at the cervical level. It also claimed that Weintraub sustained a head injury leading to memory issues, and later vision issues, Leonard said.

The defense disputed causation.

Weintraub exhausted his personal injury protection coverage of $75,000 and had medical bills of $600,000, according to Leonard.

The parties were scheduled for a July 2 trial when they settled on May 8, during mediation with Mark Epstein, a retired Superior Court judge with Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas in New Brunswick. The sum, covered by a pair of Chubb Insurance Co. policies issued to Cook, was paid about two weeks later, Leonard said.

William Cunningham of Kirmser, Lamastra, Cunningham & Skinner in Whitehouse Station, for Cook, didn’t return a call about the case.

— David Gialanella

$852K for Misread Blood Test

Rowe v. Madison: A Gloucester County jury on March 16 awarded an Egg Harbor man $852,350 in his medical malpractice suit as compensation for a stroke he experienced after his personal care physician was found liable for failing to properly interpret blood test results. Though the jury’s partial apportionment to an existing condition would reduce the recovery.

The jury found that the defendant, Dr. William Madison of Blackwood, told the plaintiff, Timothy Rowe Sr., now 55, that he tested negative for Factor V Leiden—a hypercoagulability disorder that can lead to blood clots—when in fact he had tested positive after going to a specialist, said Rowe’s attorney, Emily McDonough.

Rowe had sought the blood test because other members of his family had suffered from the same disorder, said McDonough, of the McDonough Law Firm in Woodstown.

The lawsuit alleged that Rowe later suffered a stroke because of the incorrect diagnosis. He claimed he he now suffers from speech defects, memory deficits and a limp that requires him to use a cane, McDonough said.

The jury awarded Rowe $852,350 for pain and suffering, and medical expenses. The jury deemed Madison liable and apportioned 55 percent of the injury to him. It apportioned 45 percent to Rowe, who had a pre-existing conditions of high blood pressure, obesity and smoking, McDonough said. That would reduce Rowe’s recovery to $468,792.

Madison’s attorney, Mark Petraske, is appealing the verdict after Superior Court Judge Darrell Fineman denied a motion for a new trial.

Petraske, of Buckley, Theroux, Kline & Petraske in Princeton, said there was a lack of causation between the interpretation of the blood tests and Rowe’s stroke.

— Michael Booth

Worker’s Ladder Fall Case Settles for $845K

Brennan v. Merck & Co.: A maintenance employee assigned to a facility of Merck & Co. is to receive $845,000 to settle his  Hunterdon County stemming from injuries he sustained in falling from a ladder.

The lawsuit, filed by plaintiff Joseph Brennan, now 55, of Broadheadsville, Pennsylvania, was settled with the carriers for the defendants on May 18, said Brennan’s attorney, Joseph Collini.

Brennan was injured on March 16, 2014. At the time he was employed by Philadelphia-based U.S. Facilities Inc., a maintenance company. That company had been retained by Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle, a real estate management company, said Collini, of Emolo & Collini in Paterson.

Collini said a ladder broke loose from its moorings, causing Brennan to fall.

Because of the fall, Collini said, Brennan sustained herniated discs that required fusions and surgery, and he has not since returned to work, Collini said.

Navigators Insurance Co., the carrier for U.S. Facilities, will pay $401,375 towards the settlement, Collini said. Merck and Jones Lang LaSalle had a policy written by Lexington Insurance Co. That carrier will pay the remainder of the settlement, he said.

Navigator retained Thomas Quinn of the Florham Park office of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & DIcker.

Lexington retained Brian Harris of Livingston’s Braff, Harris, Sukoneck & Maloof.

Neither returned a call seeking comment.

Collini said a workers’ compensation lien of $150,000 is still pending.

— Michael Booth