Month: September 2013

Court Awards Compensation for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Injury

A woman in the United States has been awarded compensation for complex regional pain syndrome after an accident in a supermarket left her with a neurological injury.

Fifty-one year old Rose Nudelman from New York had just finished shopping with her husband in the Brooklyn branch of Costco Supermarket when she wheeled her loaded shopping trolley onto the ascending supermarket escalator between floors of the supermarket.

The tread on the escalator had been constructed in such a way that supermarket customers did not have to hold onto their trolleys to prevent the trolleys rolling back down the slope; however, on this occasion, Rose´s trolley broke free of the mechanism and struck her on the wrist with force.

Despite not having sustained any apparent physical injuries, Rose and her husband had the foresight to report the accident to the supermarket after it happened. However, within two weeks Rose started to experience mobility problems which deteriorated to the point that she was only able to hobble around her home with the use of a walking stick.

Rose´s doctors diagnosed that she had developed the neurological condition “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome” caused by nerve damage when she was struck by the shopping trolley. Rose sought legal advice and made a claim for compensation for her complex regional pain syndrome injury.

Costco Supermarket rejected her claim, contending that she had exaggerated the level of her injury to extract the maximum compensation settlement. Not dissuaded, Rose continued with her claim and, following a court hearing, a New York jury awarded Rose $9.9 million in compensation for complex regional pain syndrome injury.

Costco Supermarket´s insurers have said that they intent to appeal the size of the settlement, but Rose´s solicitor commented that no amount of money would persuade anybody he knew to exchange places with his client.

Court Case for Faulty DePuy ASR Hip Replacements Delayed Once Again

The Ohio multidistrict litigation court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements has been delayed once again and is now rescheduled to start on September 24th.

U.S. District Judge David A. Katz rescheduled the start of the first court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements to September 24th to allow both parties additional time for discovery and the consideration of other legal matters after the substitution of Ann McCracken in place of the original plaintiff, Faye Dorney-Madgitz.

The reason for the substitution is still unclear and McCracken -v- DePuy was originally scheduled to be the second of the ‘bellwether’ court cases to be heard in a series of Federal cases which will determine how juries will perceive the relative strengths and weaknesses of each case. It is not yet known whether Dorney-Madgitz -v- DePuy is still intender to be heard as a bellwether case, or when that might be.

Ann McCracken made her DePuy injury compensation claim in March 2011; alleging that she suffered a dislocated hip due to metallosis from the DePuy implant damaging the soft tissues around her hip. Ann received her DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement system in August 2009, but had to undergo revision surgery in January 2011 after her hip dislocated.

The 57-year-old single mother from Rochester in New York claims that when her orthopaedic surgeon removed her DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System he saw evidence of metallosis which had killed healthy tissue around the implant.

Ann had to undergo further surgery in October 2011 to insert a device restricting the movement of her hip, which has decreased her mobility still further and which will result in her present hip replacement system wearing out quicker than normal – resulting in more operations in the future.

Ann´s case is also to be decided without the DePuy hip replacement recall of August 2010 being referred to in court, after Judge Katz ruled that Ann´s injury “began with the initial implementation” and agreed that, to mention the recall during the court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements, might deter other companies from voluntarily withdrawing potentially harmful medical devices in the future.

The relative strengths and weaknesses of the plaintiffs´ claims and DePuy Orthopaedic´s defence will be evaluated during the first court cases of the multidistrict litigation, to see if an acceptable yardstick can be determined for the settlement of the other 7,800 claims attached to this court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements.

If no yardstick can be established – or negative verdicts are delivered by the jurors – the outstanding claims will be referred back to the U.S. District Courts in which they were originally filed, and each will have to be heard individually. This would also be the case in Ireland, where plaintiffs who have served notice of cases against Johnson & Johnson, DePuy Orthopaedics and the Health Service Executive may have to pursue legal action to resolve each court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements.

Compensation for Back Injuries at Work Awarded in Court after Fall from Chair

A woman, who fell from a faulty chair in her office, has been awarded more than Au$1million compensation for back injuries at work by a court in Australia.

Terry Anne Downie (51) from Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory was working as a team leader for the Community Information and Referral Service in Canberra when she purchased furniture on behalf of her employer – including a chair for her own use at work – from the ex-government furniture outlet store – Fyshwick.

Four months later, Terry Anne was sitting on the chair while talking on the telephone, when two spokes on the plastic moulding at the base of the chair snapped, causing her to fall to the floor. A co-worker who saw the accident said that she heard a loud crack and then saw Terry Anne lying on the floor, struggling to get up.

An ambulance was summoned and Terry Anne was taken to hospital, where it was discovered that the accident had caused a disc to swell and Terry Anne´s pain was caused by the disc being in contact with a nerve root in her spine. Doctors were unable to repair the damage and Terry Anne now suffers from a permanent tingling sensation under the skin of her legs, which has prevented her from maintaining a job since the accident and has been identified as the cause of a mental illness and early onset sexual dysfunction.

Terry Anne received Au$190,000 in worker´s compensation for back injuries at work in 2005 but, backed by her former employer, she also made a private claim for compensation against the company that imported the faulty chair from China in kit form – Jantom – claiming that the product was faulty when it was delivered to the company that she had purchased it from – Fyshwick.

Jantom and their insurers denied their liability for Terry Anne´s back injuries at work but, at the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court, Judge Master David Harper ruled in favour of the plaintiff after hearing expert testimony that the plastic moulding on the base of the chair had “failed catastrophically” and resulted in two of the five supporting spokes breaking.

The judge awarded Terry Anne Au$933,030 compensation for back injuries at work to reflect the pain and suffering she has experienced since her accident and a further Au$112,000 to cover past, present and future medical expenses. After announcing the compensation settlement, Master David Harper said “Terry Anne has many years ahead of pain and depression. Her life is very different to the life she could have expected if it had not been for her injury. Her enjoyment of life, and the kind of life she is able to lead, have been altered immeasurably.”

Plaintiff to Pay Costs of a Court Hearing despite Successful Claim

A plaintiff has been ordered to pay a proportion of the costs of a court hearing despite making a successful claim for medical negligence against the HSE.

Madeline Wright won her claim for medical negligence against the Health Service Executive (HSE) in May, after it was determined that there had been an avoidable and unacceptable delay in the treatment she received following a motorcycle accident in 2005.

However, further claims made against the Misericordiae and Sligo General Hospitals, and her orthopaedic surgeon – Mr Keith Synott – were found to be unsubstantiated, and considered by Ms Justice Mary Irvine to have taken up almost 80% of the courts time.

In a departure from the legal principal of “costs follow the event” the judge said although “[Madeline] must be deemed to be the overall winner of proceedings in which the defendants denied any liability” the claims of medical negligence were proven in only one leg of the court action and Madeline should be responsible for some of the costs of a court hearing.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine explained her position thus: “Just because a plaintiff has one good point they should not, to my mind, be permitted to litigate a myriad of others and have the court make an order requiring the successful defendant on such issues to pay for that luxury. There must be some sanction in terms of costs should this occur”.

The judge acknowledged that ordering Madeline to pay 80% costs of a court hearing was too harsh due to the complexity of the claim and – as there was no precedent in this type of litigation – that a reduction of 35% should act as a deterrent to any future plaintiff who may attempt to attach unsubstantiated allegations to a genuine claim.