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Preterm labor not properly managed, plaintiff alleged








Cuyahoga County


Cuyahoga County, Court of Common Pleas

Injury Type(s):

brain-brain damage; brain-cerebral palsy; neurological-neurological impairment; mental/psychological-developmental delay

Case Type:

Medical Malpractice – OB-GYN, Childbirth, Birth Injury, Negligent Treatment

Case Name:

Alijah Jones, by and through his Parent and Next Friend, Stephanie Stewart v. MetroHealth Medical Center and Steven Weight, M.D.,
No. CV11-757131


June 6, 2014



Alijah Jones (Male, 1 Minute)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Pamela E. Pantages;
The Becker Law Firm, L.P.A.;
Alijah Jones

Plaintiff Expert(s):

John Burke;
OH called by
Pamela E. Pantages ■ John Conomy;
OH called by
Pamela E. Pantages ■ Patrick Barnes;

Pediatric Neurology;
Palo Alto,
CA called by
Pamela E. Pantages


Steven Weight, M.D., 

MetroHealth Medical Center

Defense Attorney(s):

Leslie M. Jenny;
Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin;
Steven Weight, M.D., MetroHealth Medical Center ■ Jason P. Ferrante;
Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin;
Steven Weight, M.D., MetroHealth Medical Center


On April 10, 2003, plaintiff Alijah Jones was born via C-section. Alijah was severely asphyxiated at birth and required resuscitation. He was admitted to the NICU, where he remained for 113 days. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and severe neurological deficits. In March 2003, Alijah’s mother, Stephanie Stewart, had presented to MetroHealth Medical Center at 21 weeks gestation. She was in preterm labor. Stewart was admitted under the care of Steven A. Weight, M.D. and remained hospitalized until her condition was well controlled. Stewart returned to the hospital on two additional occasions during March and April 2003 and was admitted for treatment of preterm labor. Her condition was managed with anti-labor medications, bed rest and fetal surveillance. Stewart was discharged from MetroHealth after her third hospitalization on April 4, 2003. Six days later, her membrane ruptured and she returned to MetroHealth on April 10, 2003 in active labor. Initially, the electronic fetal monitoring showed no fetal distress. Within hours, the electronic fetal monitoring reportedly showed repetitive variable decelerations that became deeper and more frequent. Imminent distress was noted at approximately 6:00 p.m. After noting fetal distress and arrest of labor, Dr. Weight performed an emergency C-section at 9:00 p.m. Alijah Jones, by and through his Parent and Next Friend, Stephanie Stewart, sued MetroHealth Medical Center and Steven A. Weight, M.D. The lawsuit alleged medical malpractice. Plaintiff alleged that defendants were negligent in failing to keep the mother hospitalized to properly manage her pregnancy with anti-labor medications and fetal monitoring during her earlier admissions, which she maintained would have prolonged the pregnancy. Stewart further alleged the Dr. Weight and other MetroHealth employees were negligent and breached the accepted standards of obstetric care in failing to deliver Alijah in a timely manner once delivery became imminent. Defendants denied the allegations. They contended that the care and treatment of Ms. Stewart was appropriate and nothing they did or failed to do proximately caused Alijah’s injuries.


Alijah was born at 25 weeks and 2 days gestation following signs of fetal destress. He suffered permanent brain damage, cerebral palsy and significant neurological deficits, resulting in developmental delays. Alijah’s mother, Stephanie Stewart, sought actual damages for past and future expenses, including the cost for lifelong living assistance, and compensatory and punitive damages.


The jury found Dr. Weight and MetroHealth were jointly responsible for Alijah’s injuries. The jury determined that the plaintiff’s damages totaled $14.5 million.

Trial Information:


David Matia

Trial Length:


Jury Composition:

8-member panel

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based upon information obtained from court records. The attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.