Cleveland Trial Team Wins Back-to-Back Jury Trials for Defense

Cleveland, Ohio (January 3, 2022) - Cleveland Administrative Partner Ryan K. Rubin, with Partner Daniel A. Leister and Associate Timothy Chai, recently secured back-to-back 8-0 jury verdicts for Lewis Brisbois' clients in two challenging medical malpractice and wrongful death matters.

In the first matter, Messrs. Rubin and Chai represented a nurse practitioner and physician practices group facing an eight-figure damages demand. At trial, the plaintiff on behalf of the decedent asserted that there was a one-week delay in diagnosis and treatment of a pulmonary embolism coupled with inattention to skin breakdown and sepsis. The decedent developed a pressure ulcer injury that exposed the sacral spine with alleged overwhelming sepsis and death. The plaintiff claimed the providers knowingly failed to inform the decedent’s family of the advancing injuries and turned a blind eye to numerous signs and symptoms. The plaintiff requested that the jury return a verdict for compensatory damages in the high seven figures with another high seven-figure demand anticipated in the bifurcated punitive phase. The defense countered the plaintiff’s allegations, establishing that the nurse practitioner and group appropriately assessed and treated all conditions within their scope of practice and within the standard of care. After less than two hours of deliberations, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the defense on standard of care.

Shortly thereafter, Messrs. Rubin and Leister obtained a unanimous verdict for a long-term care facility and an individually named nurse in a case with bifurcated punitive damages. The decedent in this matter was 44 years old, and the claims included malpractice, wrongful death, and violations of the Ohio Nursing Home Resident’s Bill of Rights. The plaintiff repeatedly asserted that Lewis Brisbois' client “neglected the resident to death” and refused to transfer to the hospital despite complaints that the resident couldn’t breathe. The resident was ultimately transferred from the long-term care facility to the ER at shift change by the oncoming nurse, but the resident died 24 hours later from polymicrobial sepsis. The only full set of vitals by the targeted nurse was entered late, after the nurse was notified that the resident had died. Two former employees of the facility cooperated with plaintiff’s counsel, had executed affidavits supporting the plaintiff’s case, and testified at trial that the nurse played on her cell phone and ignored changes in condition that could have resulted in an earlier transfer to the ER. The plaintiff requested that the jury return a verdict for compensatory damages in the seven figures, planning to then proceed to punitive damages. The defense countered all the plaintiff’s allegations, establishing that the care properly addressed the complaints of shortness of breath and anxiety following standing physician orders, charted accurately, and that any signs and symptoms of sepsis were not evident until later in the day when the resident was transferred. While the defense verdict was on standard of care, the causation defense addressed the significance of polymicrobial sepsis with VRE, a superbug. Due to the timing of cultures, the outcome was unfortunately unavoidable. After about 80 minutes of deliberations, the jury returned the unanimous verdict in favor of the defense.

Mr. Rubin is a member of the Corporate Practice. A proven trial attorney, he has represented a broad spectrum of clients in a variety of industries, with an emphasis on business litigation, medical negligence, long-term care, professional liability, contract claims, class action, product liability, environmental, and claims involving catastrophic injuries.

Mr. Leister is a member of the General Liability Practice. An experienced litigator with a proven track record, he has handled a diversity of cases primarily in Ohio and Pennsylvania on behalf of manufacturers, retailers, trucking companies, restaurants, hotels, doctors, nurses, police officers, municipalities, and government officials.

Mr. Chai has extensive experience in all aspects of civil litigation, ranging from the initial investigation through an appeal. His practice includes significant matters involving trade secrets and non-compete, medical malpractice, toxic tort and environmental litigation, and asbestos litigation. 

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