Credit: Rrraum/Shutterstock.com

In a Morris County suit, Bishop v. Comperchio, a Sparta woman will receive $1.25 million as compensation for physical and emotional injuries she sustained when she was sexually molested by a school bus driver.

Plaintiff Kristen Bishop, now 21, of Sparta, agreed to the settlement with the defendants—Mount Arlington Board of Education, Byrum Bus Lines Inc., and its driver, Edward Comperchio—on Sept.  4, said her lead attorney, Gregg Stone.

The settlement was approved by Morris County Superior Court Judge David Ironson, shortly before the case was scheduled to go to trial, said Stone, of Newark’s Kirsch, Gelband & Stone.

Comperchio is now 78 and lives in Hopatcong, Stone said.

Comperchio, who was uninsured, agreed to pay $1 million, said Stone, who was assisted by Ronald Morgan of the Kirsch Gelband firm and Howard Myerowitz, a solo in Harrison. The Great American Insurance Co., the carrier for the Mount Arlington School District, where Bishop was a student, agreed to pay $250,000, Stone said.

Nationwide Insurance Co., the carrier for Comperchio’s employer, Byrum, agreed to pay an additional amount that was subject to a confidentiality agreement, Stone said.

The lawsuit, filed when Bishop was 17, alleged Comperchio molested her on several occasions between 2006 and 2009, when she was in grades 3 through 6. The lawsuit alleged that Comperchio would arrive at her bus stop early and drive to a nearby parking lot, where he molested her before he would then pick up the other children on his route.

The lawsuit alleged that Byrum’s buses were equipped with video surveillance cameras, but that Comperchio, in violation of school district regulations, did not activate the cameras before picking up Bishop, Stone said.

According to news reports, Comperchio eventually pleaded guilty to a single charge of unlawful contact with a child and was sentenced to probation.

Great American retained Patrick Clare of Clare & Scott in Liberty Corner to represent the school district. He confirmed the amount of the settlement.

Nationwide retained Michael Marone of Morristown’s McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter to represent Byrum.

Comperchio was represented by Gerard Hanlon of Hanlon Dunn Robertson Schwartz in Morristown.

Marone and Hanlon didn’t return calls seeking comment.

Stone said his firm currently is conducting an audit of Comperchio’s assets to determine what may be  subject to seizure to secure the judgment against him.

— Michael Booth

 

$1.15M for Delayed Diagnosis

Meredith v. Mapow: A Cumberland County medical malpractice suit, claiming failure to diagnose cancer, settled on July 23 for a total of $1.15 million.

In March 2012, Rhonda Meredith, then 47, underwent a hysterectomy at Inspira Medical Center in Vineland, after which tissue from the procedure was examined by Dr. Larry Mapow, a pathologist, according to Meredith’s lawyers, Susan Connors and Bruce Nagel of Nagel Rice in Roseland.

The procedure was to remove painful fibroids. Mapow identified leiomyomata, a benign type of tumor, on the slides, but after the procedure, Meredith experienced worsening pain and in 2015 was diagnosed with a left lung tumor, and stage 4 metastatic leiomyosarcoma was diagnosed, Connors said.

The suit claimed that Mapow deviated from the standard of care in misdiagnosing the slides, which the suit said were suggestive of the malignant condition.

Meredith underwent chemotherapy and surgeries, though cancer has spread to the pancreas, her life expectancy is less than five years, Connors said.

The suit claimed that Meredith’s condition would have been more treatable, with up to a 65 percent chance of survival, if discovered in 2012.

Inspira disputed the relationship between it and Mapow’s medical group, which had a contract with the hospital, according to Connors. Mapow contended that the 2012 sample offered only a borderline indication of malignancy, and that he performed within the standard of care. Mapow also contended that the cancer, even if discovered in 2012, is an aggressive form of cancer and would not necessarily have been more treatable at that time, she said.

The parties settled after discussions with Superior Court Judge James Swift on the scheduled trial date of July 23.

Paul Schaaff of Orlovsky, Moody, Schaaff & Conlon in West Long Branch reprsented Mapow. Michael Halpin of Grossman Heavey & Halpin in Brick, represented Inspira. Neither returned a call about the case.

 

— David Gialanella