Rissman Trial Results

  • Bryson v. Perry
    Congratulations Michael C. Woodard for obtaining a dismissal with prejudice in the Bryson v. Perry matter.   This personal injury action involved a motor vehicle accident in which plaintiff claimed her vehicle was side swiped by the defendant and that as a result, she underwent surgery on her hand and shoulder.  Plaintiff’s prior medical history was complicated and included multiple prior accidents, surgical procedures and pre-existing conditions. During the course of the litigation, Plaintiff repeatedly failed to provide responses to  discovery requests relating to pre-existing conditions and prior treatment.  Plaintiff went through three different attorneys before representing herself.   After plaintiff’s repeated violations of court orders compelling discovery responses, the court granted defendant’s motion for contempt and sanctions, and entered a dismissal with prejudice.
    Verdict Date: June 08, 2017
    Rissman Attorney: Michael C. Woodard
  • S.D. v. Seminole County
    Congratulations Bowie Kuhn for obtaining a defense verdict on behalf of Seminole County.   Plaintiff, S.D, lived a few blocks from the area where she fell and acknowledged walking the area the day before her fall.  Ms. D allegedly injured her knee and after receiving a recommendation from her counsel came under the care of Richard Smith, MD.   Ms. D signed a LOP, an MRI of the knee was obtained, and surgery recommended. For unknown reasons, Ms. D next came under the care of, Merrill Reuter, MD who had her sin an LOP and recommended surgery.  However, Ms. D once again changed surgeons, to David Petersen, MD who continued the pattern of obtaining a LOP and recommending surgery. The surgery was performed by Dr. Peterson and plaintiff was seen for one post- surgical office visit before returning to Russia. Ms. D returned to Florida four months later and saw Dr. Petersen on two more occasions. Dr. Petersen suggested that she would need a total knee replacement sometime in the future at an expense of $200,000.  Plaintiff’s case focused on a County sidewalk inspection of the area which identified 5 sidewalk “panels” that needed to be replaced. A  work order had been generated, placing the repair job in line with hundreds of others.  The County argued the panels identified for need of repair were not the same panels that caused Ms. D to trip.  The defense’s position was the sidewalk cracks were so open and obvious that only Ms. D’s inattentiveness was the reason she fell. Most damaging to Ms. D’s case was surveillance of her taken over a 3 day period showing her walking with no cane or limp. However the day of her scheduled IME she was captured walking into the doctor’s office and leaving  with a limp and  cane.  After the IME, she was captured exiting the car, sans limp or cane and  seen carrying numerous items throughout a store with no limp. Plaintiff counsel asked the jury to award $250,000.   The jury retired and returned a defense verdict an hour later.
    Verdict Date: May 10, 2017
    Rissman Attorney: David R. Kuhn
  • Gallo v. State Farm
    Congratulations Vance Dawson, Jeremy Palma & Michael Woodard for obtaining a very favorable verdict in Gallo v. State Farm. This underinsured motorist case arose out of two minor rear-end collision motor vehicle accidents. After the first accident, Dr. Gallo drove to work and completed a shift as an anesthesiologist. Dr. Gallo kept a previously scheduled appointment, 6 days post- accident, to address his PCP’s concerns regarding chronic pre-accident use of medications including Percocet to treat migraines and cervical pain. Dr. Gallo was told his symptoms were caused by the Percocet. He never returned and retained an attorney. Dr. Gallo continued to work for two months and began treating with three other physicians, all of whom had pre-accident histories for Dr. Gallo’s migraines and neck pain. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with “post-concussive” syndrome and a mild traumatic brain injury. A one to two level ACDF was recommended and Dr. Gallo was diagnosed with TBI. He stopped working and then orchestrated claims against various disability carriers, the insurer and Social Security Administration, receiving over $2.8 million in settlements plus SSD benefits. In the second accident, the tortfeasor testified that his foot slipped off the brake onto the accelerator while in traffic. Defense discovered that Dr. Gallo’s first call was to his attorney who made it to the scene before first responders. Plaintiff’s wife testified that the attorney had a conversation with them as they waited for the fire department to arrive. Upon arrival, Dr. Gallo insisted upon being cut-out of his SUV, despite the lack of damage to the front or sides. The fire department dismantled his vehicle with the jaws of life as Dr. Gallo’s attorney took pictures. Plaintiff claimed that the second MVA aggravated his TBI, headaches, and post-concussive syndrome. He also claimed that he could not speak and suffered amnesia for 11 days. Dr. Gallo’s claims were significantly impeached with several medical records indicating normal neurologic exams, Glascow coma scores, and imaging. Dr. Gallo presented the testimony of friends and treating physicians who have known him for 25+ years. All of his treating physicians related the TBI to the first MVA, yet none had reviewed the normal examination. Plaintiff’s neuroradiologist had reviewed only one MRI Brain with DTI and admitted he had not compared his findings with the normal MRI Brain taken after the second MVA or other films of the head and neck. Plaintiff’s endocrinologist, testified “since the accidents Dr. Gallo had developed pituitary dysfunction” causing a growth hormone deficiency. On cross examination, the physician could not relate the pituitary injury to either MVA. Dr. Gallo presented a life care planner and an economist. In their combined testimony, Dr. Gallo’s lost wage and earning capacity claims were estimated at $6,000,000 and future medical would be in excess of $1,000,000. Neither expert had reviewed Dr. Gallo’s EUO where he admitted he was 95% of the way to his 401k goal for retirement. Defense presented the testimony of four expert witnesses and focused on the effects of the 22+ medications that Dr. Gallo was taking before and after the MVAs. A biomechanical engineer testified that it was unlikely that accident could have caused a closed head injury, especially in light of Dr. Gallo’s testimony that he did not strike his head or lose consciousness. A neuro-radiologist testified that in his opinion, all of Dr. Gallo’s pre-accident imaging studies were essentially the same as the post-accident studies and were within normal limits. A neuropsychologist diagnosed Dr. Gallo as a hypochondriac with pre-existing somataform disorder and testified that any alleged cognitive deficits he had were pre-existing, and that with treatment for the disorder, he would be able to return to work. A neurologist, testified that Dr. Gallo did not suffer a TBI as a result of either MVA and described Dr. Gallo’s pharmaceutical cocktail and how it would be impacted by using alcohol while taking medications such as Dilaudid, Fentanyl, Lyrica, Cymbalta and Soma. Plaintiffs’ counsel requested $12,000,000 in closing. The jury deliberated 4 hours, 12 minutes before returning a total verdict of $8,865 for past medical expenses. State Farm will be entitled to recover of taxable costs and attorney’s fees.
    Verdict Date: April 28, 2017
  • Thompson v. Dr. Navani
    Congratulations Bucky Hurt and Vance Dawson for obtaining a defense verdict for Dr. Divya Navani and Internal Medicine Associates, PLC on behalf of TDC , in a medical malpractice wrongful death case. The case focused on care rendered by Dr. Navani, an internal medicine physician consulting on post-surgical patient, Nicholas Thompson, at Florida Hospital Celebration. Dr. Navani followed Mr. Thompson on October 13 – 17, 2009 after his October 13, 2009 spinal surgery performed by Dr. Robert Masson. Following his spinal surgery, Mr. Thompson began experiencing alcohol withdrawal syndrome on October 16, 2009 and eventually delirium tremens on October 17, 2009. Notably, Mr. Thompson did not disclose, in fact denied, his excessive alcohol consumption to anyone other than his anesthesiologist prior to, or even following, his spinal surgery. Dr. Navani was able to determine the source of his symptoms despite Mr. Thompson’s lies about his alcohol use. Ultimately, Mr. Thompson aspirated, which caused him to go into respiratory arrest. Mr. Thompson suffered irreversible brain damage and was eventually withdrawn from life support on October 24, 2009. Plaintiff claimed Dr. Navani failed to appropriately treat Mr. Thompson’s alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Specifically, plaintiff alleged that Dr. Navani prescribed an inappropriate dose of Ativan, inappropriately prescribed Haldol, failed to obtain timely radiological studies and a gastroenterology consult for Mr. Thompson’s alleged ileus, failed to timely insert a NG tube to treat the alleged ileus, failed to appropriately prescribe potassium chloride to treat low potassium and failed to order a critical care consult for the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal so that Mr. Thompson could be admitted to the ICU. However, plaintiff did not express similar criticisms against Dr. Masson, who performed the surgery, or the neurologist or cardiologist who also saw Mr. Thompson after surgery and addressed and/or treated the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Florida Hospital Celebration had been named in the suit but settled before trial. The trial lasted five days. In closing, plaintiff requested $117,559 in funeral and medical expenses, plus $1.0 - $1.35 million in intangible damages for a total of $1,117,559 - $1,467,559. The jury deliberated 37 minutes before returning a defense verdict finding there was no negligence on the part of Dr. Navani or her group that was the legal cause of Mr. Thompson’s death. Plaintiff filed a proposal for settlement for $80,000, 45 days before trial. The defendants’ offer was zero.
    Verdict Date: April 17, 2017
    Rissman Attorney: Jennings L. Hurt III