An arbitrator awarded $2.1 million in a damages-only session in a Middlesex County suit, Ciallella v. Beiter, lodged by a patient whose bowel was perforated during laparoscopic surgery. The sum was paid Dec. 14.
In November 2014, Maryann Ciallella, then 40, underwent surgery at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes, as treatment for endometriosis. The procedure was performed by Kyle Beiter, M.D., according to Ciallella’s lawyer, Bruce Nagel of Nagel Rice in Roseland.
During the surgery, Ciallella’s bowel was perforated, leading to peritonitis, and she sustained an injury to the ureter, all of which ultimately required numerous surgeries, including a colostomy and hernia repair, according to Nagel. She became septic, and was in a comatose state and intubated for a month, he said.
Ciallella, who has since experienced respiratory difficulties, and cognitive and memory issues, filed a suit in Middlesex County naming Beiter, Saint Peter’s University Healthcare System and Saint Peter’s Associates, claiming negligence and vicarious liability. Beiter didn’t contest liability, and the parties proceeded to arbitration by consent during the discovery phase, Nagel said.
Experts were retained on damages. The defendants contended that much of Ciallella’s condition was unrelated to the surgical complications, according to Nagel.
The arbitrator, Peter Doyne, a retired Superior Court judge with Ferro Labella & Zucker in Hackensack, awarded Ciallella and her husband $2.1 million on Nov. 29. The defendants were insured by Risk Assurance Company of Saint Peter’s, Nagel said.
The defendants’ counsel, Rowena Duran of Vasios, Kelly & Strollo in Union, didn’t return a call seeking comment on the case.
— David Gialanella
GS Parkway Crash Nets $1.4M in Ocean
Capasso v. Johnson: A woman who suffered back and neck injuries when her car was hit by a construction vehicle on the Garden State Parkway has agreed to a $1.4 million settlement in her Ocean County suit.
Denise Capasso was headed north on the Parkway near Manahawkin on April 16, 2013, when she was struck on the right side of her car by a vehicle driven by Isaac Johnson and owned by PKF MK III of Newtown, Pennsylvania, a contractor that was performing road construction. Johnson had finished work for the day and attempted to pull from the right shoulder, across four lanes of travel, to reach a cut-through in the median, according to Peter Chamas of Gill & Chamas in Woodbridge, the lawyer for Capasso.
Capasso’s car was struck broadside and forced into the guardrail. She later required cervical fusion and lumbar fusion surgeries as a result of her injuries, as well as arthroscopic surgery for a rotator cuff repair with partial bursectomy and debridement. The fusion operations provided some relief from her symptoms but did not completely relieve them, according to Chamas. Capasso, who was 54 at the time of the accident, was transportation supervisor for the Old Bridge Township School District. She returned to her job after the accident but retired from her position in April 2017, Chamas said.
Capasso filed suit against Johnson and PKF MK III, and asserted a lost wage claim, but the defendants countered that any award for lost wages would be significantly reduced because she received retirement benefits, according to Chamas.
The defense also asserted that Capasso was partly liable because she had a clear view of the defendant’s vehicle and had time to take evasive action, but her failure to do so indicated she was inattentive, Chamas said.
The $1.4 million settlement was reached on Oct. 13, 2017, after mediation with Jack Lintner, a retired Appellate Division judge with Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus in Bridgewater.
The lawyer for the defendants, Wendy Reek of Leary, McBride, Tinker & Moran of Cedar Knolls, did not return a call about the case.
— Charles Toutant