Aggressive Motion And Jury Selection Process Leads To Successful Settlement In Las Vegas Medical Malpractice Trial

September 20, 2018

As we are routinely asked to do, Patton & Ryan recently dropped into a case shortly prior to trial, which ultimately led to a successful result in a vent-dependent quadriplegic medical malpractice case. The main issue in the case was the cause of Plaintiff’s quadriplegia, upon which the Plaintiff and Defendants vehemently disagreed.

The case was rightfully viewed as very questionable as to liability; therefore, Patton & Ryan defended the case by pushing back against Plaintiff’s speculative allegations and demands. Plaintiff arrived at Defendant’s hospital with an aggressive bacteria already attacking his body. The Defendants provided proper care and treatment given the circumstances and how Plaintiff presented at their hospital. After a few days of treatment at Defendant’s hospital, Plaintiff was transferred to another hospital for continued care and treatment. At the time of transfer Plaintiff was able to move all extremities. Eight days after transfer, he was unable to move his extremities and inevitably became a quadriplegic.

Defendants and their experts agreed that the condition causing Plaintiff’s quadriplegia was not preventable. Defendants’ position was that the sole cause of Plaintiff’s quadriplegia was the aggressive bacterial infection he developed prior to his arrival at the hospital. Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s experts believed that there was a different cause that the Defendant at the first hospital missed and failed to diagnose, causing Plaintiff’s quadriplegia.

In an attempt to exploit our Defendant, Plaintiff tried to allege that the subsequent treating hospital and all medical providers had no involvement in causing Plaintiff’s quadriplegia. However, some of Plaintiff’s own experts agreed that the subsequent treating hospital could have prevented Plaintiff’s unfortunate outcome and were negligent as well.

To further assist with defending the case, new law was created allowing non-parties to be listed on the verdict form. Therefore, allow the defense to argue that if the cause of Plaintiff’s injuries was due to the lack of treatment Plaintiff received, as being argued by Plaintiff, the defense was permitted to argue the cause of his injuries was the subsequent treating hospital, plaintiff chose not to sue.

Therefore, as an alternative to Defendants’ argument that there was nothing to prevent Plaintiff’s quadriplegia, the defense would have been permitted to put the subsequent hospital on the verdict form in an effort to show that it was the hospital’s negligence in its treatment of Plaintiff for eight days following his transfer from the Defendants’ care. Due to the circumstances, and because it was a several liability case, the defense became much stronger on the eve of trial with the new law.

At the beginning of jury selection, Patton & Ryan renewed all of Defendants’ previously denied pertinent motions in limine and motions for summary judgment. After approximately one week of jury selection, with numerous motions for mistrial made by the defense and knowing we were fully prepared to proceed to verdict, Plaintiff accepted the last offer made at mediation one month prior.