Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Surgeon Settles Negligent Cosmetic Surgery Case for $145,000 After Falsification of Records Exposed

The plaintiff visited the defendant plastic surgeon in order to address what she observed to be sagging in her breasts. Rather than recommending a simple mastopexy procedure, the defendant physician recommended that the plaintiff have breast augmentation with implants and a periareolar mastopexy. Ultimately, the plaintiff required further surgery because the periareolar breast augmentation and mastopexy failed to solve her problems. Indeed, the plaintiff contended that these procedures made her condition worse. She was also left with significant scarring, ptosis and capsular contraction.

The defendant contended that he provided the plaintiff with the appropriate informed consent. The defendant advised that he actually recommended a simple mastopexy procedure, but the plaintiff refused to follow this recommendation.

The medical chart that the defendant produced during discovery in the course of the litigation supported his factual position. Nevertheless, the medical chart that was produced by his office before the lawsuit was filed supported the plaintiff's contentions. John Ratkowitz was able to settle the case soon after the defendant was deposed and the two sets of medical records were revealed.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

$450,000 Settlement at Mediation for Plaintiff Suffering Severe Hip Injury After Stepping Off Bus

The settlement was reached on December 4, 2004, during a post- mediation settlement conference. The matter was scheduled to be tried in the Hudson County Superior Court on February 7, 2005. The settlement followed an October 22, 2004 mediation hearing.

The accident occurred on June 6, 2002, as the plaintiff was exiting a commuter bus. The plaintiff paid his fare and descended the stairs of the bus, waiting for the doors to open so that he could exit. After the doors opened, he realized in mid-step that the bus was still moving. He attempted to stop his forward motion, but the momentum of the slowing bus pitched him forward and to his left out the front door. He landed first on his left foot, but his leg collapsed underneath him and he fell to his left side, sustaining multiple fractures of the hip and pelvis that required extensive reconstructive surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. The surgery was followed by a thirty-day hospital admission and extensive rehabilitation therapy.

The plaintiff advised the responding officers at the scene that he simply fell, and that the accident was nobody's fault. Despite this, he also repeatedly and consistently informed health care providers immediately after the accident that he fell when attempting to exit a moving bus. The defendants denied that the bus was moving. Both sides retained biomechanical experts to address this factual dispute.

In the midst of the bodily injury litigation, a declaratory judgment action was filed by the insurance company for the defendant carrier, in an attempt to deny coverage for the accident.

In addition to a biomechanical expert, the plaintiff retained an expert in bus safety. The plaintiff also had an orthopedic, a neurology and a urology expert who were prepared to testify about the plaintiff's injuries.

Attorney John Ratkowitz represented the plaintiff throughout the course of the litigation and in the declaratory judgment action.