Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal

Jason Azzarone Was Successful in Arguing to the Fourth District Court of Appeal

Jason M. AzzaroneJason Azzarone was successful in arguing to the Fourth District Court of Appeal that the Trial Court did not err in denying the Plaintiff’s Motion for New Trial in Gray v. Northwest Medical Center, Inc., et. al, a medical malpractice action involving the hospital and numerous physicians.  On appeal, the Plaintiff argued that the Trial Court erred in allowing the Defendants to advise the jury of the decedent’s prior misuse of medications, in advising the jury of the decedent’s prior suicide attempt, in allowing the Defendants to argue that the decedent was comparatively at fault for his death and in failing to instruct the jury with respect to the alleged failure to follow hospital protocols.  In response, Mr. Azzarone argued that the Trial Court’s rulings were all proper.  Mr. Azzarone argued that the evidence of prior misuse of medications was admissible as the misuse began a cascade of conditions that ultimately led to the decedent’s death.   Mr. Azzarone further argued that the evidence of prior suicide attempts was properly admitted to rebut trial testimony meant to establish that the decedent had no personal issues, matters that were directly relevant to the damages sought by the Estate.   Regarding evidence of comparative fault, Mr. Azzarone argued that evidence linking the misuse of medications to the decedent’s death was established by expert testimony and therefore, the jury was properly instructed on this issue.  Finally, Mr. Azzarone argued that the Trial Court properly denied the Plaintiff’s requested special jury instruction regarding the failure to follow hospital protocols as the instruction was not permitted by Florida law and was unnecessary as the matter was argued by Plaintiff’s Counsel during closing arguments.  The Fourth District Court of Appeal entered a Per Curium Affirmance.

United States District Court, Middle District of Florida

Jason Azzarone Secures Summary Judgment In An Inmate Civil Rights Case

Jason M. AzzaroneJason Azzarone was successful in securing a summary judgment in a civil rights case filed by an inmate in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, in which the firm represented multiple physicians who provided medical care to Hillsborough County inmates. The Plaintiff alleged that he was denied medical care and that the physician neglected his condition in violation of his Eighth Amendment Rights. The motion filed argued that based on the medical records, the Plaintiff could not establish deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition as required by Federal law. The Court agreed, finding that the Plaintiff could not demonstrate deliberate indifference and therefore, there were no genuine issues of material fact to present to the jury.

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Second District Court of Appeal Florida

Jason Azzarone was successful in arguing to the Second District Court of Appeal

Jason M. AzzaroneJason Azzarone was successful in arguing to the Second District Court of Appeal that the Trial Court did not err in granting the Defendant’s renewed Motion for Directed Verdict in Shelatz v. Punta Gorda HMA, LLC, a premises liability case involving a hospital.  The jury found for the Plaintiff and apportioned ten percent of the fault to the hospital.  In its post-trial renewed Motion for Directed Verdict, Defendant argued that no evidence was presented establishing that a duty was owed by the Hospital to the Plaintiff.  The Trial Court agreed and on appeal, the Appellant argued that the Trial Court’s decision was in error.  In response, Mr. Azzarone argued that the Trial Court correctly  recognized that evidence was presented establishing that the Plaintiff failed to comply with his contractual obligations to ensure the existence of a safe workplace.  Mr. Azzarone also argued that the Plaintiff had knowledge of the alleged hazard and failed to act reasonably to protect himself from the very incident that caused his damages.  The Second District Court of Appeal entered a Per Curium Affirmance.

Jason Azzarone was successful in arguing to the Second District Court of Appeal

Jason M. AzzaroneJason Azzarone was successful in arguing to the Second District Court of Appeal that the Trial Court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing a medical malpractice action with prejudice in Athey v. Tampa Bay Pulmonary Assoc., P.A., et. al., based upon the Plaintiff’s failure to file a complaint that stated a cause of action. The Trial Court granted the Defendants’ motion to dismiss based on the Plaintiff’s failure to state a cause of action despite being given multiple opportunities to file a proper complaint. The Second District Court of Appeal entered a Per Curium Affirmance.

Jason Azzarone was successful in arguing to the Fifth District Court of Appeal

Jason M. AzzaroneJason Azzarone was successful in arguing to the Fifth District Court of Appeal that the Trial Court did not err in dismissing a medical malpractice action in Shultz v. Citrus Memorial Hospital, Inc., based upon the Plaintiff’s failure to comply with Florida’s medical malpractice pre-suit requirements. The Trial Court granted a motion to dismiss with prejudice based on the failure to provide any responses to pre-suit discovery. On appeal, the Appellant argued that the dismissal was erroneously entered because the defendants failed to demonstrate that they were prejudiced by the failure. Mr. Azzarone argued that the Trial Court’s decision was proper based upon the express finding that the Defendant was prejudiced. Additionally, Mr. Azzarone argued that the Appellant gave no reasonable explanation for the failure to respond to the discovery requests. The Fifth District Court of Appeal entered a Per Curium Affirmance.

Medical Malpractice Case

Jason Azzarone and Barbara Chapman Secure Summary Judgment In An Inmate Civil Rights Case

Medical Malpractice CaseJason Azzarone and Barbara Chapman were successful in securing a summary judgment in a civil rights case filed by an inmate in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, in which the firm represented a physician who provided medical care to Hillsborough County inmates. The Plaintiff alleged that he was denied medical care and that the physician neglected his condition in violation of his Eighth Amendment Rights. The motion filed argued that based on the medical records, the Plaintiff could not establish deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition as required by Federal law. The Court agreed, finding that the Plaintiff could not demonstrate deliberate indifference and therefore, there were no genuine issues of material fact to present to the jury.

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Jason Azzarone was successful in arguing to the Fifth District Court of Appeal

Jason Azzarone was successful in arguing to the Fifth District Court of Appeal that the Trial Court did not commit error in denying the Plaintiff’s motion for new trial in a medical malpractice action.  The Appellant’s position on appeal was that the Trial Court erred in denying the motion for new trial based upon improper closing arguments by counsel.   Mr. Azzarone successfully argued that the jury’s verdict must be affirmed as there was no showing made on appeal that the Trial Court abused its discretion in denying the motion for new trial based upon the  failure to satisfy the standard set forth in Murphy v. International Robotic Sys., Inc., 766 So. 2d 1010 (Fla. 2000).

Webster v. Glover

Jason Azzarone was successful in arguing to the Second District Court of Appeal

Jason Azzarone was successful in arguing to the Second District Court of Appeal that the Trial Court did not err in dismissing a case with prejudice in a 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 alleged 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 pre-suit screening requirements and failed to comply with Florida law regarding the filing of a lawsuit by an indigent prisoner. The Trial Court agreed, and further sanctioned the Plaintiff, holding that he could not file any further actions in Hillsborough County without an attorney. The Plaintiff attempted to move for rehearing, but was untimely in doing so. On appeal, the Second District agreed that the Plaintiff’s motions were untimely.

Kari Jacobson And Kevin Houston Obtained A Directed Verdict For A Hospital In A Premises Liability Case

In November 2019 Kari Jacobson and Kevin Houston tried a premises liability case for a hospital located in Charlotte County (Punta Gorda) Florida. During trial, the Plaintiff alleged that Defendant hospital was negligent for failing to maintain portions of its roof in a reasonably safe condition; failing to warn Plaintiff about a known dangerous condition that existed on the roof; and failing to correct and/or repair the known dangerous condition causing Plaintiff’s accident and fall. Following Plaintiff’s case the hospital moved for directed verdict. The judge reserved ruling and allowed the case to proceed to a jury verdict. Jurors found the hospital 10% liable, Plaintiff 50% liable and a nonparty/Fabre defendant 40% liable. Following the verdict Defendant Hospital renewed their motion for directed verdict. On February 3, 2020, after hearing arguments of counsel, the Judge granted the hospital’s motion for directed verdict, vacated the jury’s verdict, and entered judgment in favor of Defendant hospital.

How Louis La Cava’s Closing Helped Clear Docs at Trial Over Woman’s Ectopic Pregnancy

By Arlin Crisco – CVN, Courtroom View Network

Defense attorneys in medical negligence cases must often overcome jurors’ natural tendency to engage in hindsight bias when they consider a doctor’s care. At trial over the communication and treatment surrounding a Florida woman’s ectopic pregnancy, Louis La Cava’s closing on staff expectations and an artful warning on hindsight bias helped clear the doctors that treated her.

Stacey Santangelo-Santana’s’s 2014 ectopic pregnancy — a nonviable pregnancy outside the uterus —  led to the loss of one of her fallopian tubes, and left her unable to naturally conceive. Santangelo-Santana sued Exodus Women’s Center and its two treating obstetricians — Drs. Dawn Ericsson and Stephen Wagner— as well as pathologist Dr. Robert Ruffalo, claiming that  delays in communicating pathology results led to the loss of her fallopian tube. Ruffalo, she contended, failed to properly contact Ericsson and Wagner regarding the pathology results, while the two obstetricians, she claimed, did not follow up to obtain the results. 

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