Jason Azzarone was successful in arguing to the Second District Court of Appeal that the Trial Court did not err in denying the Plaintiff’s motion for directed verdict in Estate of Zaffuto v. St. Joseph’s Hospital, Inc., where the Second District Court of Appeal entered a Per Curium Affirmance. On Appeal, the Appellant argued that the Trial Court committed error by denying the motion, thus allowing the Defendant to present an empty chair defense. Mr. Azzarone argued that the Trial Court’s denial was proper as there was conflicting evidence as to causation. Mr. Azzarone also argued that contrary to the Appellant’s position, the Defendant never presented an empty chair defense, but rather, argued to the jury that the actions of the Hospital’s staff was not negligent. Following oral argument, the Second District Court of Appeal agreed.
In a related appeal, the Plaintiff challenged the Trial Court’s award of costs. Following oral argument, the Second District Court of Appeal entered a Per Curium Affirmance.
Lou La Cava obtained a defense verdict for an uninsured physician in an 8 day medical malpractice case tried in Pinellas County. The plaintiff argued the vascular surgeon was negligent in ordering unnecessary tests and performing an unnecessary renal angioplasty on a patient which they claimed led to the loss of the patient’s kidney. It was further alleged there was a lack of informed consent because the physician did not inform the patient about various physical disabilities he had and several months after the procedure applied for total disability with a date relating back to before the date of the procedure. After Plaintiff’s case was concluded Mr. La Cava’s motion for directed verdict on the informed consent claim was granted by the court. The jury later deliberated on the remaining claims and found the defendant physician was not negligent and negligence was not the legal cause of the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. Mr. La Cava received administrative assistance at the trial from April La Cava and was also assisted during the trial by Andrew Hudson a third year law student and law clerk with La Cava and Jacobson.
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.