John E Hall, Jr. Received a Favorable Verdict in Quadruple Amputation Case in Miami
John E. Hall, Jr. of Hall Booth Smith, PC, along with partners Robert L. Shannon and Jack G. Gresh of the Charleston, SC office, obtained a favorable verdict on behalf of the University of Miami Medical School and five physician defendants in a difficult six-week trial that ended on Friday, January 13, 2012.
The jury returned a defense verdict for four of the defendant physicians and a plaintiff's verdict as to the University of Miami School of Medicine and one of the physicians. However, the overall verdict (as described below) was a win for the defense. Christopher E. Knight and the firm of Fowler White Burnett in Miami also assisted in the trial of the case.
The case involved a little girl who contracted a pneumococcal infection and because her spleen had been removed shortly after birth, she was unable to fight off the infection, which ultimately resulted in the amputation of parts of all four limbs. There was a comparative negligence claim against the mother.
Four of the physicians (2 pediatricians, a neurologist, and a hematologist) were accused of failing to diagnosis a protein S deficiency which allegedly caused the limb amputation. The jury returned a defense verdict for all four of these physicians.
The second aspect of the case involved the pneumococcal infection contracted by plaintiff just short of her 3rd birthday. She had previously been vaccinated against such an infection; however, that vaccination was out of date by five months. The defendants admitted that the vaccine had expired five months prior to administration and the Court granted summary judgment on that issue.
Plaintiffs asked the jury to award $70 million dollars at closing and the lowest pre-verdict demand was in excess of $20 million dollars. After almost two days of deliberations, the jury found the University and one physician defendant 60% responsible for a $12.6 million verdict and the mother 40% negligent (for failing to give a penicillin prophylaxis that was prescribed in addition to the vaccination).
Interestingly, the plaintiff submitted evidence of a $19 million dollar life care plan. The defendants countered with evidence that the future life care plan was between $2 and $3.3 million. The jury awarded $2.7 million on the future life care plan.
Pending post trial motions (including a partial set-off of $3 million in settlements by other parties), the net verdict to the defendants should be less than $6 million dollars. As noted, four physician defendants received defense verdicts.