A representative list of recent trials will be listed in this section
In February 2017, Michael Barkley obtained a defense verdict on behalf of an interventional radiologist and vascular surgeon in a Suffolk Superior Court jury trial. The Defendant performed a procedure to declot an arteriovenus graft and repair a venous stenosis. During the procedure, a rupture of the brachial vein occurred, resulting in extravasation of contrast media and, the Plaintiff alleged, bleeding. Although it was undisputed that the vein was repaired during the procedure, the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant negligently failed to disclose this complication to the Plaintiff, resulting in a delay in seeking medical care when she developed postoperative pain and swelling. The Plaintiff alleged that she developed compartment syndrome, causing compression of the median nerve and permanent complex regional pain syndrome. After a seven day trial, the jury deliberated approximately an hour before returning a verdict in favor of the Defendant, finding that he was not negligent.
In November 2016, George Wakeman and Brent Gilbert obtained a defense verdict on behalf of their client, an otolaryngologist, following a nine day jury trial in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston. Their other client, a physician’s assistant, was dismissed from the case during the trial. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants were negligent in failing to refer an 8 year old patient for surgery to treat tracheal stenosis. The plaintiffs alleged that, as a result of the negligence, the patient suffered a hypoxic ischemic injury, resulting in significant neurological injury and complete disability. The case was defended on the basis that the defendants’ treatment was appropriate in all respects and the patient’s injury occurred due to a choking incident that was entirely unrelated to the patient’s tracheal stenosis. Following the trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant after less than one hour of deliberation.
In November 2016, Michael Barkley obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a general surgeon in a Worcester Superior Court jury trial. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant general surgeon was negligent in assisting the co-defendant orthopedic surgeon in an anterior lumbar interbody spinal fusion procedure. 18 days following surgery, the patient was diagnosed with a perforated ureter, and underwent extensive treatment to drain a urinoma and repair the ureter. At trial, all parties agreed that the injury to the ureter resulted from the surgery. The case was defended on the basis that injury to the ureter is a rare, but recognized, complication that can (and in this case did) occur in the absence of negligence during a spinal fusion procedure performed with an anterior approach. The defense argued that this complication occurred despite proper, appropriate precautions and surgical technique, and not due to negligence on the part of the surgeons, and that there was no negligent delay in diagnosis of the patient's condition during the immediate postoperative period. After evidence was presented over 5 days, the jury deliberated less than an hour before returning a verdict in favor of both defendant surgeons.
In October 2016, Ellen Cohen defended a gastroenterologist in a case tried in Middlesex County against four physicians. The plaintiff alleged that his wife died a premature and wrongful death as a result of an alleged delay in the diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer. At trial, the plaintiff’s attorney tried to make it appear that there had been poor communication and a lack of coordination of care among the providers. After a trial which lasted over two weeks, the jury returned a defense verdict in favor of all of the defendant physicians within two hours, concluding that none of the providers had been negligent. The verdict indicated that this jury accepted the premise that a “doctor/patient relationship” imparts a shared responsibility on both the providers and the patient.
In September 2016, Ellen Cohen obtained a defense verdict in a case tried in Suffolk County, which had been brought against two primary care providers alleging that they were responsible for the unpredicted spontaneous suicide of a patient. The jury returned a verdict finding that there had not been any negligence by either defendant, despite the tragic outcome for this patient and his family.
In August 2016, George Wakeman and Brent Gilbert obtained defense verdicts on behalf of their clients, a reproductive endocrinologist and a radiologist, following a 5 week jury trial in Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants were negligent in failing to identify that ultrasound imaging performed following IVF treatment revealed both intrauterine and ectopic pregnancies (also known as a heterotopic pregnancy). The plaintiffs alleged the delay in diagnosis of the heterotopic pregnancy allowed it to rupture at 14 weeks requiring urgent surgery, causing the fetus to sustain a hypoxic-ischemic injury in utero, resulting in the baby’s severe birth defects and current complete disability. Following the 5 weeks of trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants (8 individuals and 4 corporations) after 6 hours of deliberations.
In June 2016, Michael Barkley obtained a defense verdict in Superior Court on behalf of a physician assistant practicing in a hospital emergency department. The physician assistant was one of six defendants in the case. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant physician assistant failed to timely diagnose and treat a cervical spine injury, causing a delay in spinal decompression surgery and resulting in permanent neurological deficits to the plaintiff. The case was tried over 18 days in Bristol Superior Court in Taunton, MA. The jury returned a verdict finding that the defendant physician assistant was not negligent in his care and treatment of the plaintiff.
In June 2016 Jennifer Herlihy and Cassandra Feeney successfully defended a neurological surgeon following a three-week jury trial in the Providence County Superior Court. The plaintiff alleged there was a delay in diagnosis of a spinal infection. The jury returned a verdict on behalf of the neurological surgeon that there was no negligence in his care and treatment of the patient.
In May 2016, Michael Barkley obtained a defense verdict in Superior Court on behalf of an ophthalmologist. The plaintiff alleged that the failure to properly discharge a patient following a consultation provided in an emergency department caused the patient to leave the hospital with an unintended toxic medication that caused the plaintiff to sustain a perforated cornea requiring corneal transplant. The case was tried over 9 days in Essex Superior Court, following which the jury returned a verdict in favor of the ophthalmologist, finding that he was not negligent in his care and treatment of the plaintiff.
In April 2016, Gabe Bell obtained a defense verdict in Superior Court on behalf of a Boston teaching hospital in case where plaintiff alleged that the hospital retaliated against him for filing a charge of discrimination with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination on the basis of religion and national origin. The hospital denied that it retaliated against the plaintiff in any manner and presented evidence that the plaintiff was terminated for a specific incident of inappropriate behavior. The hospital further presented evidence the plaintiff had a long history of workplace infractions and failed to adhere to the hospital’s stated mission and credo.
In March 2016, Michael Barkley and Brent Gilbert obtained defense verdicts on behalf of their clients, an orthopedic surgeon and his employer, a physician practice group, following a 3 week jury trial in Plymouth Superior Court in Brockton. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant surgeon was negligent in failing to order additional imaging studies or a biopsy, allegedly resulting in a one year delay in diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The plaintiff alleged progression of disease as a result of the one year delay, resulting in pain and suffering and a decrease in her opportunity for cure. The case was tried over 13 days, following which the jury deliberated approximately 90 minutes and returned a verdict in favor of the defendants, finding that there was no negligence.
In February 2016, George Wakeman and Michael Barkley obtained defense verdicts on behalf of a transplant surgeon and fellow in transplant surgery following a 3 ½ week jury trial in Suffolk Superior Court. The case arose out of transmission of a rare virus to the plaintiff’s decedent through transplantation of a kidney. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants were negligent in accepting a CDC High Risk donor kidney and offering it to the decedent for transplant, and that the defendants failed to adequately disclose the material risks and obtain the decedent’s informed consent for the procedure. Following the transplant and during an extended hospitalization, it was determined that a rare virus had been transmitted through transplantation, which resulted in the decedent’s death. The case was tried over 16 days, following which the jury returned a verdict in favor of both defendants, finding that they were not negligent and did not fail to obtain the decedent’s informed consent.
In November 2015, Jennifer Herlihy and Brent Gilbert obtained a defense verdict in a Plymouth Superior Court jury trial on behalf of a urologist. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant injured the patient intraoperatively, necessitating the procedure be aborted. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was negligent in realizing this error. The experts demonstrated at all times the urologist complied with the standard of care. Further, experts in radiology and pathology were able to establish presumptively that there was no injury during surgery.
In November 2015, Bernie Guekguezian obtained a defense verdict in a Suffolk Superior Court jury trial on behalf of a Nurse Practitioner. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant failed to appreciate reports of unstable angina in her husband and failed to act on findings of “new PDA ischemia” and “wall motion abnormality” in her husband’s cardiac stress test. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was negligent for judging her husband’s cardiac status as “stable” and instead should have admitted him to the hospital. The decedent died suddenly from a cardiac event 6 days after the subject appointment with the Nurse Practitioner. The plaintiff brought claims on behalf of herself and her five children.
In October, 2015 Ellen Cohen successfully defended an OB/GYN who was sued with regard to an alleged injury after newborn circumcision. The defense focused not only on defending the technique used by the physician for performing a Mogen clamp circumcision, but also contested that there was any real or significant injury. After 7 days of trial, the jury returned a verdict quickly indicating that the defendant physician had not been negligent.
In October 2015, Michael Barkley obtained a directed verdict on behalf of a primary care physician. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant negligently failed to diagnose and treat a foot injury. The case was tried in Marlborough District Court.
In September 2015, Bernie Guekguezian obtained a defense verdict in a Norfolk Superior Court jury trial on behalf of an Emergency Physician. The plaintiff’s 52 year old decedent came to the emergency room several days after undergoing abdominal surgery. He presented with a panic attack and reported difficulty ambulating at home. A blood test in the ER revealed a hematocrit (the measure of red blood cells in the blood) of 27, well below his pre-operative baseline of 46. He was discharged with a diagnosis of anxiety. He was found dead in his home less than 24 hours later. The case was referred to the Medical Examiner’s office, who concluded that the patient died of intraperitoneal hemorrhage due to dehiscence of sutures. The plaintiff’s family brought suit alleging that the patient’s surgical history, complaints and blood test results were all indications that the patient was experiencing an active abdominal bleed in the ER. The family claimed that the patient should have been admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of likely abdominal bleed and that such admission would have led to the diagnosis and repair of the bleed. The jury returned its “no negligence” verdict after 90 minutes of deliberation.
In July 2015, Ellen Cohen defended a gastroenterologist in a case in which the plaintiff sustained injury to her spleen requiring splenectomy surgery following a screening colonoscopy. Spleen injury is a rare but known risk of colonoscopy. Plaintiff tried to use the fact that spleen injury occurred as evidence that there must have been negligence in the performance of the colonoscopy; Defendant adamantly denied anything improper in the technique he utilized, and proved that this patient had aberrant anatomy regarding her spleen and colon proven by pathology, which could not have been known by the gastroenterologist in advance of the procedure. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant finding that he had not been negligent.
In June of 2015, Bernie Guekguezian obtained a defense verdict in a Worcester Superior Court jury trial on behalf of a family practice. The plaintiff alleged that the employees of the practice failed to appropriately follow up on symptoms relayed to them during a telephone call and improperly instructed her to continue using an inappropriate medication. The plaintiff claimed that she suffered acute renal failure and sepsis and that she suffered permanent kidney damage as a result. The jury deliberated for 50 minutes before rendering its verdict.
In May 2015, Michael Barkley obtained a defense verdict on behalf of an endocrinologist following a six day jury trial in Plymouth Superior Court (Brockton). The plaintiff alleged that the defendant endocrinologist was negligent during an outpatient office visit by allowing her to fall from the examination table during a medical exam, resulting in significant injuries. After just over an hour of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict finding that the defendant endocrinologist was not negligent in her treatment of the plaintiff.
In March 2015, Attorney Hockmeyer obtained a defense verdict in favor of her client in Worcester Superior Court. The plaintiff alleged that the negligence of an emergency room physician, in failing to recognize the signs and symptoms of sepsis and render proper medical treatment in the emergency department, caused the death of a 40 year old woman. Attorney Hockmeyer represented the physician's practice group/employer, which was also a defendant in the matter. After approximately 2 hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defense, finding that there was no negligence in the medical care and treatment rendered to the decedent by the emergency room physician.
In February 2015, George Wakeman obtained a defense verdict on behalf of general surgeon in a case alleging significant personal injuries following a cervical lymph node biopsy and resulting cervical nerve injury. The case was tried in Plymouth Superior Court in Massachusetts. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant negligently injured the cervical nerve during the biopsy resulting in pain, limitations on use of the right (major) arm and disfigurement. Plaintiff presented an expert in surgery from a major academic center in NY. The defense presented experts in general surgery and neurology from Tufts. After 5 days of trial, the jury returned a verdict in 35 minutes in favor of the defendant surgeon.
In December, 2014 Bernie Guekguezian obtained a defense verdict in a Worcester Superior Court jury trial on behalf of an Emergency Room Physician. The plaintiff, a 47 year old, alleged that the physician was negligent when he diagnosed her back pain and lower extremity numbness as a back strain and drug seeking behavior. She alleged that he should have diagnosed her with Cauda Equina Syndrome, a malady in which disc material compresses the spinal nerves. She returned to the ER days later and was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with Cauda Equina Syndrome. She underwent surgery, but was left with permanent and complete lack of bowel and bladder function and permanent and complete lack of sexual function/feeling.
Ellen Epstein Cohen represented 3 OB/GYNs in a trial in Suffolk Superior Court in October, 2014 involving a stillbirth. The allegations included that all 3 OB/GYNs were negligent for having not performed a cesarean section delivery quickly enough. After a three week trial, and roughly 3 hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in favor of all 3 physician defendants. Brent Gilbert was the second seat at trial on the defense team.
In October 2014, Michael Barkley obtained a defense verdict on behalf of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon following a five day jury trial in Middlesex Superior Court (Lowell). The plaintiff alleged that the defendant oral surgeon was negligent in connection with a surgical procedure to remove a foreign body from the antrum and repair an oral-antral communication, allegedly resulting in an acute palatal hemorrhage, five day hospitalization, multiple subsequent surgeries, and a chronic oral-antral communication. After approximately 2 hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict finding that the defendant oral surgeon was not negligent in his care and treatment of the plaintiff.
In October, 2014 Bernie Guekguezian obtained a defense verdict in an Essex Superior Court (Lawrence) jury trial on behalf of an Obstetrician/Gynecologist. The plaintiff, a 21 year old, alleged that the physician caused a 2 cm perforation of her bowel during laparotomy and also failed to identify the perforation prior to closure. The plaintiff became septic in the 36 hour period after surgery and was transferred to a tertiary care facility, where the perforation was identified. The plaintiff had emergency remedial surgery to repair her bowel and remove her fallopian tube and had an extensive recovery period. She alleged permanent injury and disfigurement. The jury returned its verdict after 90 minutes of deliberations.
On October 1, 2014, George Wakeman and Cassandra Feeney obtained a judgment as a matter of law at the close of plaintiff’s evidence in favor of a major teaching hospital in Providence, RI. The suit was brought by a plaintiff who claimed that she fell in or near a mulch bed on the premises of the hospital, injuring her right hand, head, and right shoulder. The plaintiff argued that the hospital negligently maintained its premises, and she had no alternative other than walking through the mulch bed. The defense was able to demonstrate on cross-examination that the plaintiff could not identify what caused her to fall and by extension, how long the condition has existed. After two days of trial in the Providence Superior Court before Judge Procaccini, attorneys Wakeman and Feeney were successful in obtaining a judgment as a matter of law and plaintiff’s complaint was dismissed.
In September 2014 Jennifer Herlihy and Megan Grew obtained a defense verdict in Worcester County on behalf of a plastic surgeon. The plaintiff alleged negligent postoperative management following breast reduction surgery. The patient suffered nipple necrosis, a rare, but recognized complication. After 6 days of trial with supportive expert review on behalf of the plastic surgeon, the jury returned their finding that the surgeon had complied with the standard of care in his management of this patient. A Judgment in favor of the defendant was entered by the Court.
In September 2014 Ellen Cohen defended an oral surgeon in a case involving the alleged delayed diagnoses of an ameloblastoma in the mandible of a teenager who eventually underwent mandibular resection and reconstructive surgery. The jury returned a verdict finding the surgeon was not negligent in his care of the patient.
In June 2014, George Wakeman obtained a defense verdict on behalf of three radiologists in a case alleging wrongful death from a late diagnosis of invasive lobular breast cancer. The case was tried in Salem Superior Court. The plaintiff alleged that the three radiologists, all senior physicians at the major Boston teaching hospital, had failed to identify an abnormality in mammograms and specialty views in 2003, 2004 and 2005, resulting in the cancer having progressed to Stage IV with multiple sites of distant metastatic spread in 2006. Plaintiffs presented experts in radiology and medical oncology from major academic centers in NY, and the defense presented similar experts from Harvard and Tufts academic centers. The decedent lived for three years following her diagnosis but died at age 51, leaving a 15 year old son and husband, both of whom testified at trial. After 8 days of trial, the jury returned a verdict in 38 minutes in favor of all three radiologists.
Ellen Cohen was successful in obtaining a no negligence defense verdict at trial for an Obstetrician and Labor & Delivery Nurse in April, 2014. The case involved allegations relating to the interpretation of the fetal monitor strip during labor, and the timing and method of delivery in a neonatal death case. The trial lasted two weeks and the verdict was returned in just over two hours, in favor of both defendants.
In March 2014, George Wakeman obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a cardiothoracic surgeon in a case alleging wrongful death after heart surgery. The case was tried in Suffolk Superior Court. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant's management and treatment of a patient who was three days post-op from open heart by-pass surgery and developed a collapsed lung requiring insertion of a chest tube was negligent. During the insertion of the chest tube, the patient arrested and died despite vigorous efforts to restart his heart, including open cardiac massage. After 7 days of trial, the jury returned a verdict in 48 minutes in favor of the defendant cardiothoracic surgeon.
In February 2014 Ellen Cohen and Deirdre Lydon obtained a defense verdict on behalf of two surgeons in a case alleging wrongful death after blunt abdominal trauma. The allegations involved the management of a patient on a trauma service after a single motor vehicle crash; the patient ultimately died of a ruptured spleen. After 9 days of trial the jury returned their finding that both surgeons had complied with the standard of care in their management of this patient, and a Judgment in favor of the defendants was entered by the Court.
In February, 2014, Attorney Michael Barkley obtained a directed verdict in favor of his client after four days of trial in New Bedford Superior Court. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant outpatient surgical facility and its agents and employees were negligent in connection with a burn suffered by the plaintiff while undergoing an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair.
In January 2014, Ellen Cohen obtained a Defense Verdict in Middlesex County Superior Court for both a hospitalist and general surgeon. The plaintiff alleged the physicians provided negligent post-operative care to a patient who had recently undergone a paraesophageal hernia repair surgery by failing to timely diagnose bowel ischemia, allegedly resulting in her death. The jury found in favor of both defendants, finding that the physicians' post-operative care of the patient met the applicable standard of care for their respective specialties, and they were not negligent.
In January 2014, Attorney Michael Barkley obtained a defense verdict on behalf of his client, an Ob/Gyn, after a six day jury trial in Suffolk Superior Court. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant negligently caused and subsequently failed to diagnose and repair a laceration of the left inferior epigastric vessel during an emergent salpingo-oophorectomy procedure. After approximately 2 hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant, finding that she was not negligent in her surgical care and treatment of the plaintiff.