MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

Jury sides with doctor sued over double mastectomy

A general surgeon who was blamed for scars following a double mastectomy wasn’t negligent, a jury found on July 26. Lisa Allen underwent the procedure performed by Dr. Darioush Kavouspour. She claimed that his incisions were unnecessarily large and shouldn’t have crossed the sternum. The incision became a keloid scar across her midline and cleavage and remains painful. The defense argued that Kavouspour acted reasonably and that the size of the incisions was a function of the need to remove all of Allen’s breast tissue. Breast cancer is aggressive, and Allen, a young woman with three young children, did not want Kavouspour to risk leaving any breast tissue behind, defense counsel argued.

Allen v. Kavouspour, No. D-189292

Court: 136th District Court, Jefferson County

Plaintiff Attorney: Craig Lewis, The Lewis Law Firm, Beaumont

Defense Attorney: Frank N. Luccia, Luccia & Evans, Houston

MOTOR VEHICLE

Plaintiffs recover for alleged back and neck injuries

A driver and passenger who claimed aggravations of pre-existing conditions recovered $3,250 on Sept. 6. Levon Harper and Barbara McGowan claimed that Amie Wilenskey failed to yield the right of way as she made a left turn out of a parking lot. McGowan claimed aggravation of pre-existing neck and back sprains and strains. Harper, who was already disabled and was driving, claimed aggravation of pre-existing lower back, neck, shoulder, and left knee sprains and strains. Wilensky acknowledged that she was negligent, but she also argued that Harper was on Hydrocodone and a muscle relaxer and not paying attention. He was found 10 percent negligent, which reduced their $3,500 award.

Harper v. Wilensky, No. CC-12-02256-C

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

Plaintiffs Attorney: Jeremy W. McKey, McKey, Morrison & Sanchez, Dallas

Defense Attorney: Michael C. Lawrence, Gallerson & Yates, Irving

Parties settle over alleged lumbar herniation

A driver who claimed a lumbar herniation in a collision with a car making a U-turn agreed to a $76,000 settlement on Aug. 7. Donna Rab was driving behind Jackie Abels, who pulled onto the right shoulder and attempted the U-turn without keeping a proper lookout, the plaintiff claimed. She claimed the impact aggravated a pre-existing spinal injury, causing her to develop a herniation at L5-S1. Rab claimed that she’ll need decompression or fusion surgery. Defense counsel argued that Rab’s injury was solely a pre-existing condition and was not aggravated by the collision. Abels paid her policy limit of $25,000, and Rab’s insurer, Homes State County Mutual, paid $51,000.

Rab v. Abels, No. CI046330 300803

Court: Brazoria County Court-at-Law No. 2

Plaintiffs Attorney: Lynn J. Klement, Law Office of Lynn J. Klement, Angleton

Defense Attorneys: T. Belew Ellis, Jack M. Sanders Jr. PC, Marshall; Alan Janiga, Kilpatrick, White & Deas, Houston

Domino’s pizza driver killed one, injured other in head-on

On Aug. 27, a jury awarded $32.1 million to the family of a woman who was killed and a man who sustained brain injuries in a head-on crash with a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver. Ruth Christopher was killed, and Devavaram Christopher, who was driving, sustained the traumatic brain injuries. MAC Pizza Management, the owner of the franchise, settled before trial for $6 million. Domino’s Pizza went to trial and argued that it didn’t control the work details of MAC and its employees. Plaintiffs’ counsel argued that Domino’s provided franchises with software that measured deliveries against a 30-minute standard. The jury found Domino’s 60 percent liable, MAC 30 percent liable and its driver 10 percent liable.

Estate of Christopher v. Domino’s Pizza LLC, No. A-192,970

Court: 58th District Court, Jefferson County

Plaintiff Attorneys: Paul “Chip” Ferguson and Larry C. Hunter, Provost Umphrey Law Firm, Beaumont

Defense Attorneys: Phillip Griffis, Law Office of Phil Griffis, Houston; Hilaree A. Casada, Law Office of Phil Griffis, Dallas; James L. Ray, Daw & Ray, Houston

Driver awarded $39,000 for multiple sprains and strains

On Aug. 20, a jury awarded $39,000 to a woman who claimed multiple sprains and strains in a left-turn collision. Rachel Bowers collided with Kristen Thompson, who attempted an unprotected left turn in front of her. The plaintiff claimed neck, shoulder, elbow, and lower back sprains and strains. She treated with a chiropractor for three months. Thompson blamed the accident on another driver in front of her who stopped after she made her left turn. This caused Thompson’s rear end of her car to remain in Bowers’ line of travel. Thompson designated the unknown driver who stopped as a responsible third party. The jury found only Thompson negligent.

Bowers v. Thompson, No. 352-260466-12

Court: 352nd District Court, Tarrant County

Plaintiff Attorney: Brandon Lavery, Ben Abbott PC, Garland

Defense Attorney: J. Mark Hansen, Suzanne I. Calvert & Associates, Dallas