An accomplished litigator
For more than 35 years, Robert Sickels has successfully represented hundreds of individuals involved in complex personal injury, medical negligence, and products liability matters.
Before becoming a lawyer, Robert was a high school history and English teacher and a football coach. It was here he learned to communicate with a large audience. One of the reasons Robert decided to go to law school was to help people who had been harmed through no fault of their own. After becoming a lawyer, Robert became interested in the intellectual challenge presented by complex medical malpractice and product liability cases. He frequently works closely with expert witnesses and enjoys nothing more than convincing an expert who was initially skeptical to testify on his client’s behalf.
Since joining Sommers Schwartz, Robert has focused his practice in birth injury and medical malpractice cases. He also handles complex product liability cases involving medical devices. His thorough investigative skills and zealous advocacy have enabled him to secure numerous settlements and jury verdicts, resulting in millions of dollars in compensation for his clients.
Notably, Robert served as co-class counsel in two actions representing over 200 victims of contaminated steroid injections supplied by a Boston compounding company to four different pain clinics in Michigan. Millions of dollars in compensation were secured for those in Michigan who developed harmful and sometimes deadly fungal infections due to contaminated epidural steroid injections. Robert has also represented more than 75 clients who were injured through the use of prosthetic hips that were manufactured by DePuy Orthopedics, Stryker Orthopedics, Wright Medical Technologies, and Biomet.
In addition to his courtroom accomplishments, Robert served on the Executive Board of Directors for the Michigan Association for Justice, working to advocate for the rights of those injured by the wrongful acts of others. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Cass Community Social Services, a Detroit-based charity, dedicated to providing food, housing, health services, and job programs.
Robert values honesty and integrity above all else. He believes that by always being upfront and honest, he can maintain credibility, even with his adversaries. When he is not practicing law, Robert enjoys cycling and golf.
- Mentioned in “Kent County residents sue firm over contaminated water,” The Detroit News, March 14, 2018
- A $5.3 million settlement for a three-year-old boy who became brain damaged during a medical procedure to repair a bleeding blood vessel in his throat following a simple tonsillectomy. The defendants were ear, nose, and throat surgeons who failed to repair the vessel despite three visits to an emergency room with complaints of coughing up blood and an anesthesiologist who failed to timely intubate the boy
- A $5.1 million settlement for a 47-year-old man who suffered brain damage due to complications of Legionaries’ Disease that was not timely treated after his presentation to an emergency department
- A $2.9 million settlement for the family of a young woman who died due to the failure of a hospital’s nursing staff and staff neurologist to timely detect and treat an evolving stroke that caused fatal brain damage
- A $2.5 million settlement for a brain-injured Pennsylvania infant whose doctors should have induced labor and accomplished delivery at least one week before the delivery finally occurred
- A $2.5 million settlement for a 20-year-old man who presented to the emergency department of a large hospital with signs and symptoms consistent with bacterial meningitis. The ER physician misdiagnosed the condition as being a simple ear infection and released the man with a prescription for oral antibiotics. He returned 24 hours later, disoriented and unable to walk, and lapsed into a coma lasting two months. Although he regained consciousness and left the hospital eight months after his arrival, he sustained a complete loss of vision
- A $2.1 million settlement in a case involving the collapse of a large steel structure at a Detroit steel manufacturing facility, killing two workers
- A $2.0 million settlement for a young man paralyzed following a mismanaged surgery to repair a tear in the abdominal aorta that occurred due to an auto accident
- A $1.9 million pre-suit settlement for a man who became paralyzed from the waist down when a resident at a hospital attempted to fix a broken neck with a Halo device and traction. During the procedure, the resident applied more and more traction until the Halo device caused a whiplash type injury to his spinal cord
- A $1.7 million verdict for a 54-year-old woman who suffered brain damage and then died due to the excessive administration of fluids in a surgical intensive care unit following bowel resection surgery
- A $1.6 million verdict for a woman who suffered a cardiac arrest despite having complained to her family physician of chest pains and other cardiac symptoms
- A $1.3 million settlement for a client whose breast cancer was not timely diagnosed due to the failure of her surgeon to biopsy a palpable lump that a radiologist had called “benign” in a mammogram report
- A $1.2 million judgment against a surgeon whose post-operative orders caused the patient to suffer a moderately severe stroke, depriving the patient the enjoyment of his retirement years
- A $1.1 million jury verdict in a wrongful death case involving an obese man who had undergone a second weight loss surgery. After the surgery, a leak developed in a portion of the esophagus the surgeon had sewn to the newly downsized stomach, and which caused widespread infection. The Northern Michigan county in which the trial took place had not had a medical malpractice verdict in favor of a plaintiff in the previous twelve years
- Michigan Association for Justice – Emeritus Member, Executive Board of Directors
- American Association for Justice
- Cass Community Social Services – Member, Board of Directors
- Stryker Rejuvenate Litigation Group (AAJ)
- Biomet Litigation Group (AAJ)
- Wright Technologies Litigation Group (AAJ)
- DePuy ASR Litigation Group (AAJ)
I want to thank you again for what you have done for my family. There are no words for my gratitude. I will forever be grateful.
For five and one-half years you never tossed in the towel, evoking visions of ‘the junkyard dog’ as the challenges of trying to fit the square peg into the round hole to obtain a just settlement. The very fact that you maintained and were able to share a belief in my unique circumstances was remarkable along with your stellar professionalism. You delivered and you have my deepest appreciation for your efforts.
You told me that I did not have to thank you. You are correct, I do not have to thank you but I want to thank you. First, I want to thank you for the many hours you spent researching and compiling all aspects of Bill’s life and premature death. Second, I want to thank you for those few days in an Emmet County courtroom where you told Bill’s story to total strangers in such a way that allowed them to know how special he was and how senseless it was that he wasn’t there to speak for himself. Your ability, understanding, compassion and at time dispassionate way of speaking for those who no longer can speak for themselves are truly remarkable. Finally, I want to thank you for the support and sometimes reality checks you have given me during the last several years. God know I needed the reality checks especially when wheels of justice turn. May your next client have more patience and understanding of the system.
- Wayne State University Law School, Juris Doctor
- Michigan State University, Bachelor of Arts
- U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
- U.S. Court of Claims
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan