Jason Azzarone and David Nelson were successful in arguing to the Fifth District Court of Appeal that the Trial Court departed from the essential requirements of law in denying the defendant hospital’s motion to dismiss the complaint on the basis that the plaintiffs failed to comply with Florida’s Medical Malpractice presuit screening requirements in Osceola Regional Hospital v. Calzada, 246 So.3d 1300 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018). In its written opinion, the Fifth District held that the Trial Court was required to conduct an evidentiary hearing and make express findings as to whether the plaintiff did or did not comply with Florida’s medical malpractice presuit screening requirements.
Lou La Cava and Barbara Chapman obtained a defense verdict in a case filed against an ophthalmologist in Pinellas County. The Plaintiff saw the defendant, a retinal specialist, due to retinal tears and retinal detachments. He received laser treatments as well as vitrectomies and a scleral buckle procedure. The Plaintiff alleged that due to an improperly performed fluid-gas exchange performed in the doctor’s office the patient developed increased intraocular pressure causing loss of blood supply to the optic nerve. The Plaintiff went on to have a total loss of vision and eventually had to have his eye enucleated. Although there were some documentation issues, the defense argued that the care and treatment provided was well within the standard of care. The defense also successfully argued that the plaintiff failed to prove causation because they were unable to demonstrate that the patient’s eye pain after the procedure was due to increased intraocular pressure. The plaintiff attorney asked the jury to award between four and nine million dollars. After a one week trial the jury returned a verdict finding in favor of the ophthalmologist.
Lou La Cava, Tom Saieva and Jim Wetzel obtained a defense verdict for two pediatricians in a medical malpractice case tried in Pinellas County. The Plaintiffs alleged that the pediatricians were negligent in their care and treatment of a premature infant after discharge from the hospital. The child was discharged with stage 2 retinopathy of prematurity. The child was supposed to have a follow-up ophthalmology appointment within a certain period of time. It was alleged that on two visits the pediatricians failed to verify and ensure that the follow- up appointment would take place. The Plaintiffs testified they were unable to get an appointment until much later than the date given. By the time the appointment took place the ROP had progressed and the child developed a total loss of vision. She was six at the time of trial. After a 3 week trial the jury returned a verdict finding both pediatricians not negligent.
Lou La Cava and Shari Smith obtained an excellent resolution of a case just before closing argument in a hospital medical malpractice case tried in Broward County. The Plaintiffs alleged that the hospital negligently failed to offer CPR training to the parents of a premature infant prior to discharge. Three weeks after discharge the child had a cardiorespiratory arrest and ended up with severe neurological damage and is in a persistent vegetative state. She was 6 years old at the time of trial. The Plaintiffs alleged the child would have had much less damage if the mother could have provided CPR before the paramedics arrived 8 minutes after they were called. A settlement could not be reached prior to trial because the Plaintiffs would not accept the amount offered since it was below the past medical lien and they felt the case had a very high settlement value due to the extent of damages. After a two week trial putting many holes in the Plaintiffs’ case, the Plaintiffs were given a last chance, take it or leave it settlement offer that remained below the past medical expense lien. The Plaintiffs accepted the offer to resolve the case.
Tom Saieva filed a Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Determination on behalf of a hospital and its nurses due to plaintiffs’ failure to comply with presuit requirements under Florida law. Although the lower court denied the motions, the Second District Court unanimously granted certiorari. The District Court quashed the lower court’s refusal to make a “determination” and has required the lower court to provide an evidentiary hearing.
Tom Saieva and Lesley Stine obtained a Final Summary Judgment in a case alleging negligence leading to a death of a 6 year old during surgery. The Second District Court of Appeal issued an order unanimously affirming the trial court’s final judgment in favor of a surgery facility based on the plaintiff’s failure to timely file a complaint. The court also granted a motion for attorney’s fees and costs based on a proposal for settlement filed by the defense.
Kari K. Jacobson and Tia J. Jones obtained a defense verdict in a premises liability case tried in Orange County (Orlando) Florida. The Plaintiff alleged that violations of codes and standards in the design and construction of a curb at a hotel led to his trip and fall. Plaintiff further alleged the injuries sustained led to the end of Plaintiff’s career as a police officer. The jury found that the defendant breached no duty to Plaintiff.
Lou La Cava obtained a summary judgment for his radiologist client in a medical malpractice case filed in Charlotte County. The plaintiff alleged and had an affidavit to support allegations that the radiologist negligently interpreted a CT of the brain resulting in the delay in diagnosis of a stroke. The Plaintiff suffered severe neurological injuries. After the depositions of the parties the Plaintiff agreed that the radiologist was entitled to summary judgment and did not oppose the motion. The summary judgment was granted in favor of the radiologist and the case continued against the defendants represented by other law firms.
Barbara Chapman and Jason Azzarone were successful in obtaining the dismissal of a medical negligence claim filed by an inmate in Hillsborough County, in which the firm represented a medical group which provided medical care to Hillsborough County inmates. The Plaintiff filed multiple causes of action predicated on his allegation that he was denied medical care. A motion to dismiss was filed, arguing that the Plaintiff failed to satisfy the condition precedent of notifying the Florida Department of Insurance of the filing of a civil action, failed to satisfy Florida’s medical malpractice presuit screening requirements, failed to state a cause of action for breach of contract and failed to comply with Florida law regarding the filing of a lawsuit by an indigent prisoner. The Court agreed, finding that the Plaintiff failed to comply with Florida’s medical malpractice presuit screening requirements. The Court further agreed that dismissal was warranted as the Plaintiff failed to notify the Florida Department of Insurance of the lawsuit as required by Florida Statute §768.28 and further violated Florida law regarding the filing of a lawsuit by a prisoner as required by Florida Statute § 57.085
Lou La Cava and Brett Gliosca obtained a defense verdict in a medical malpractice wrongful death case tried in Hillsborough County. The plaintiff alleged that a family practice physician was negligent in failing to diagnose pneumonia and not sending the patient to the hospital for emergency treatment resulting in his death about 36 hours after an office visit. The defense argued that the care and treatment provided based on the diagnosis met the standard of care. It was further argued that it was not a severe pneumonia that led to his death. Instead, more likely than not he dies from an arrhythmia due to underlying hypertensive heart disease. After a 6 day trial the jury returned a verdict finding there was not negligence on the part of the physician that was a legal cause of the patient’s death.
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