MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

Jury sides with doctor sued for failure to diagnose

On June 12, a jury declined to award damages to the family of a woman who bled to death. Nita Thomas went to an emergency room in Dallas for abdominal pain. Dr. Alexander Gaidarski diagnosed her with low blood pressure and a urinary tract infection and discharged her. Thomas died the next day. Her family clamed that Gaidarski failed to diagnose the actual cause of Thomas’ symptoms. The defense emergency medicine expert testified that the diagnosis was reasonable for Thomas’ symptoms. The defense radiology expert testified that a CT scan ordered by Gairdarski showed no perforation of the inferior vena cava or internal bleeding.

Thomas v. Gaidarski, No. CC-11-05956-C

Court: Dallas County Court-at-Law No. 3

Plaintiffs Attorney: William F. Blankenship III, William F. Blankenship III PC, Dallas

Defense Attorney: Jeffery M. Kershaw, Chamblee, Ryan, Kershaw & Anderson, Dallas

MOTOR VEHICLE

Jury awards $4,656 to man claiming disk injuries

On June 25, a jury awarded $4,656 to a man who claimed lumbar disk bulges when he was struck while parked in his pickup truck. Eric Infante was in his truck at a road construction site, when Alfredo Coria backed up his pickup and struck his rear. Infante claimed he was struck three times. Coria said it was only once. Infante claimed disk bulges at L2-3, L4-5 and L5-S1. Infante began chiropractic treatment the day after the collision and continued for six months. He received three epidural steroid injections.

Infante v. Webber LLC, No. 2012-17475

Court: 157th District Court, Harris County

Plaintiff Attorneys: Christine Vinh Weems and William W. Hoke, Kwok Daniel, Houston

Defense Attorney: Michael W. Magee, Hays, McConn, Rice & Pickering, Houston

Both drivers to blame for collision, jury finds

On June 4, a jury found two drivers equally to blame for a rear-ender, leaving only a $207 recovery for the plaintiff. Maribel Ruiz was allegedly stopped at a red light when she was struck by Ann Kho. Kho contended that Ruiz had started to turn right on red, that the light then turned green, and that Kho was looking for traffic to the left and took her foot off the accelerator. She said that, when she looked forward again, Ruiz had stopped for no apparent reason, and Kho did not have time to stop. The plaintiff claimed back and neck pain and a chest contusion.

Ruiz v. Kho, No. 2011-15205

Court: 281st District Court, Harris County

Plaintiff Attorney: Mac W. Hancock, Houston

Defense Attorney: Alan Janiga, Kilpatrick, White & Deas, Houston

Driver awarded $8,106 for alleged back and neck injuries

On May 30, a jury awarded $8,106 to a driver who claimed cervical and lumbar strains when he was allegedly forced off the road. Francisco Arguello was driving a car on the feeder road to the North Freeway in Houston. He claimed that Lisa Lomas made an unsafe lane change in front of him, causing him to run onto the median when he took evasive action. Defense counsel maintained that Arguello left the road because he failed to keep a proper lookout and was driving at an excessive speed. The jury apparently disagreed.

Arguello v. Lomas, No. 201148533

Court: 281st District Court, Harris County

Plaintiff Attorney: Nichole M. Nech, The Nech Law Firm, Houston

Defense Attorney: Carnegie H. Mims III, Geico staff counsel, Houston

PREMISES LIABILITY

Judge awards $240,179 to man struck in face with liquor bottle

A man who was struck in the face with a liquor bottle in a Houston bar was awarded $240,179 on July 11. Brian Heizer was at Fix Lounge in Houston, and Rodolfo Cordova Jr. allegedly attacked him. He sustained multiple facial fractures. Heizer claimed that no bouncers were present and the bar created a dangerous condition with its policy of making liquor bottles available to customers. Defense counsel argued that employees could not have prevented the incident and Cordova was the sole proximate cause of Heizer’s injuries. In a bench trial, the judge ruled that only Cordova was liable. He didn’t appear at trial.

Heizer v. Fix Lounge, No. 201021328

Court: 113th District Court, Harris County

Plaintiff Attorney: Scot G Dollinger, Dollinger Law, Houston

Defense Attorney: Michael W. Weston, Weston & Associates, Bellaire

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Meat cutter who lost fingers awarded $1.09 million

A meat cutter who lost parts of three fingers to a saw was awarded $1.09 million on July 1. Christopher Milanes was working at a Kroger grocery store in Houston when he accidentally cut his fingers on his dominant hand. He claimed that the blade was dull so it snagged the meat. This caused the machine to “jump,” and Milanes’ fingers came in contact with the blade. For months, he and other workers had complained to supervisors and the store manager about saw maintenance issues, counsel argued. He also claimed that the blade guard was inoperable. He sustained a traumatic amputation of the distal phalanx of the middle and ring fingers on his right dominant hand. The tip of his index finger was also severed.

Milanes v. Kroger Co., No. 2011-44685

Court: 129th District Court, Harris County

Plaintiff Attorneys: Jason A. Gibson and Andrew C. Smith, The Gibson Law Firm, Houston

Defense Attorney: Brock C. Akers, Phillips Akers Womac, Houston