Case Conclusion Date: 10.17.2001
Practice Area: Medical malpractice
Outcome: Reversed then settled for confidential sum
Description: My partner handled a medical malpractice trial in which a surgeon performed a right sided abdominal surgery when the patient had a left sided tumor. As you would expect, the jury rendered a verdict against the surgeon since he operated on the wrong side of the body. However, my partner was able to convince the trial court to significantly reduce the money damages awarded to the plaintiff using the Scafid v. Seiler reduction. The plaintiff appealed, and I wrote the brief. The appellate division reversed and entered an Order holding that the plaintiff could either accept the jury verdict on the survival and wrongful death damages unreduced by Scafidi, or elect a new trial on these damages only. This case is a complicated example of how pushing for a questionable ruling at the trial court level sometimes helps you win the battle, but in the end, you lose the war.