Case Examples

Emergency Room Malpractice – Wrongful Death from Untreated Bacterial Infection: Scott v. Ascension Providence Hospital
Sommers Schwartz attorneys Matthew Turner and Lenore Zakhem filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a 71-year-old woman who died of sepsis while being treated at the defendant hospital.  On ...
  • Confidential Post-Verdict Settlement in Birth Injury Case Involving Infant’s Shoulder Dystocia and Brachial Plexus Injury

Sommers Schwartz attorneys Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller and Muskan Ali secured a confidential settlement for a child, now 11, who suffered shoulder dystocia during birth, which resulted in a permanent brachial plexus injury. Lisa and Muskan negotiated the settlement after winning a $225,000 verdict.

Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s head is delivered, but one of the shoulders becomes lodged behind the mother’s pelvic bone, thus preventing the baby from being fully delivered. When shoulder dystocia occurred in this case, instead of employing safe maneuvers to deliver the impacted shoulder without injury, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant obstetrician excessively pulled on the baby’s head and neck to disengage the shoulder, resulting in a permanent brachial plexus injury with nerve damage to the baby’s cervical nerves. 

The defendant documented the shoulder dystocia in the medical records but later denied that the shoulder got stuck. Critical evidence presented at trial included an audio/visual recording taken after the birth where the defendant could be heard in the background telling the family that the newborn got “stuck” during delivery. 

The baby received care and treatment at the University of Michigan Brachial Plexus Clinic. Surgery was performed at six months of age to attempt to repair the damaged nerves. That surgery, along with years of occupational therapy, resulted in a very good recovery for the child. However, the child does have residual deficits in strength and mobility in the right arm.  

The defendant obstetrician and healthcare facility shared medical malpractice insurance policy limits of $100,000. An offer of judgment was sent before trial in an attempt to settle the case. Defendants refused to settle before or during trial. The jury deliberated for approximately 6 hours and returned a verdict in the plaintiff’s favor for $225,000. The verdict was for non-economic damages only. No economic damages were presented at trial. The adjusted verdict exceeded the offer of judgment amount, triggering sanctions against the defendants and adding attorney fees, costs, and interest to the verdict. The plaintiff presented over $400,000 in fee and cost sanctions to the court. The parties reached a confidential settlement prior to the offer of judgment sanction hearing. The settlement amount is confidential. 

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