Rissman Trial Results

  • Espinal v. Westgate Lakes, LLC
    Congratulations Art Young and Meredith Stephens for obtaining a defense verdict in Espinal vs. Westgate Lakes LLC. Mr. Espinal claimed that he fell, hitting his back, neck, and head, at Westgate due to water that was leaking from the suite above. During trial, Mr. Espinal played a cell phone video which showed large amounts of water falling from the ceiling and walls. Plaintiff claimed he sustained shoulder and cervical disc injuries and he could not participate in the family housekeeping business as a result. Mr. Espinal’s treating pain management physician, Dr. Paul Maldonado, brought an 18 gauge needle into the courtroom and subsequently admitted that epidural injections like those he administered to Plaintiff are not painful. Chiropractor Phil Scuderi assigned Mr. Espinal a 6% partial impairment. During trial, he admitted he had not seen Mr. Espinal since 2014 but nonetheless gave opinions on future care. Don Fournier testified for the defense regarding Westgate’s use of Nu-Safe, a product designed to decrease slip resistance on floor surfaces. He concluded that the floor in the unit was safe when wet and met all ANSI standards. The defense presented surveillance which showed Mr. E moving freely, using both hands and bending at the waist at an office where his wife provided cleaning services. Dr. Marc Kaye, the defense’s expert radiologist, testified that there were no objective findings of an acute injury to Mr. Espinal’s cervical spine or shoulder related to the incident. The jury was out for one hour, ten minutes before rendering a defense verdict.
    Verdict Date: June 14, 2018
  • Tye v. Creevy
    Congratulations Dick Womble and Cliff Acord for obtaining a defense verdict in Tye v. Creevy, M.D., Arnoldo Singh, M.D. and Intercoastal Medical Group. TDC was the insurer. The case involved an allegation that the physicians failed to appropriately manage bleeding in a patient that had been on long-term anticoagulation and who was at risk for pulmonary embolism. The defense argued reversal of anti-coagulation was necessary to prevent fatal bleeding due to a hematoma sustained in a fall. The trial lasted nine days. The jury deliberated for four hours.
    Verdict Date: May 24, 2018
  • Richelin v. Hughes
    Congratulations Juan Ruiz and Aaron Eagan for obtaining a favorable verdict in Richelin v. Hughes. The case arose out of an auto accident that occurred when defendant, Sydney Hughes, collided with the rear of Mr. Richelin’s vehicle in heavy stop-and-go trafficcausing minimal damage to his rear bumper. The defense admitted negligence prior to trial. At the scene of the accident, Mr. Richelin began complaining of neck and shoulder pain. EMTs recorded pain complaints but documented that he had normal sensation in his extremities. Mr. Richelin refused further treatment and left in his vehicle. On February 4, 2013, Mr. Richelin began treating for neck, shoulder and low back pain. Radiculopathy was ruled out and a soft tissue strain was diagnosed. Mr. Richelin treated with physical therapy to address his neck pain. A June 7, 2013 cervical MRI demonstrated bulging discs and radial tears as well as age-appropriate spurring and osteophytes. In June and again in September of 2014, Mr. Richelin presented for employment-related physicals. During both visits, he denied history of neck injury and pain. Mr. Richelin’s neck and extremities were found to be normal. In January of 2015, Mr. Richelin began treating with Dr. Nizam Razack who noted the presence of radiculopathy and diagnosed compression of the C5-6 and C6-7 nerve roots. An ACDF surgery was subsequently performed. At trial, palintiff’s counsel emphasized the absence of any pre-accident neck pain or treatment. However, on cross examination, Mr. Richelin admitted that he did not tell his doctors about a 2004 auto accident for which he received treatment for neck pain. He claimed that he denied any neck injury on the intake forms in 2014 because he could not read the question due to a language barrier. Dr. Razack, plaintiff’s only medical witness, related the 2016 surgery to injuries caused by the 2013 accident. Defense focused on the 2014 records documenting the absence of neck pain or radiculopathy. Dr. Stephen Goll and Dr. Marc Kaye both testified on behalf of the defense that Mr. Richelin’s immediate post-accident palliative care was reasonable, that Dr. Razack’s surgery had nothing to do with the accident and that the radiculopathy was caused by osteophytes compressing the nerve roots rather than acute herniation. After a 4 day trial, the jury deliberated for 1 hour before returning a verdict awarding Mr. Richelin $20,000 in past medical expenses only. Following post-verdict reductions for PIP setoffs, the verdict will be close to zero.
    Verdict Date: May 03, 2018
    Rissman Attorney: Juan A. Ruiz Aaron E. Eagan