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Verdicts & Settlements

OVER $20 MILLION IN VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS


 

Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

Bedsore Causes Amputation of Leg
Intentional Misconduct Discovered, Resulting In $2.4 Million Settlement.

When our 83-year-old client was admitted to a nursing home for short-term rehabilitation, his skin was intact and he could walk and eat with minimal assistance. The nursing home, part of a national chain, failed to give him the care promised. As a result, he was unable to go home, and, by the third month, he had multiple decubitus ulcers (bedsores), which caused an infection of the bone. He was hospitalized and had to have one of his legs amputated. Afterward, he was unable to return home to live with his wife and remained institutionalized for his remaining two years. Defendants were discovered to have entered false information and forged signatures into his medical record. One former employee, a nurse, testified that she was fired because she had refused to cooperate in altering patient records. The case was settled on the brink of trial after hard-fought and lengthy litigation.

The following cases were settled on a confidential basis and therefore the names of the parties and the settlement amounts cannot be revealed.

Unsupervised Nursing Home Resident Dies from Fire Caused By Cigarettes
A decorated Korean War veteran was hospitalized for long-term care in the Philadelphia Veteran’s Hospital due to combat-related mental illness. Although cigarettes were permitted in the facility, the staff was instructed to supervise his smoking after he began to burn his hands when attempting to light matches. One day, he was permitted to use the smoking lounge unsupervised and his clothing caught fire. He suffered second and third degree burns over 80% of his body. He lingered for two weeks before dying at the St. Agnes Burn Center. The case was settled shortly after suit was filed against the United States Government. The government also waived all medical expenses.

Resident Falls
Sadly, falls are a recurring problem in long-term care. Cases involving falls, fractured hips, disability, and eventual death include:

A 75-year-old man suffering from early Alzheimer’s dementia was admitted to a chain owned nursing home in suburban Philadelphia. Despite the fact that he was a known fall risk, the defendant failed to implement any fall prevention plans which resulted in numerous falls. Shortly after his last fall, he was discharged to his home, unable to walk. When the family took him to the hospital an unhealed hip fracture of several weeks was identified, which, at that point, could not be repaired. He lived another year, but never left his bed again. The case settled shortly before trial.

A mobile, alert 89-year-old woman living at a Philadelphia nursing home was knocked over by a nursing assistant who was not watching where she was walking. In the fall, our client fractured her hip and, as a result, and never walked again. Despite her advanced age prior to the fall, she was not on any medications. After the fall she was on painkillers, and her heart and lungs deteriorated as well. After two years, she died from unrelated causes. The case settled one week before trial.

Our 79-year-old visually impaired client was admitted to a short-term rehabilitation hospital in central Pennsylvania. After a brief stay, the family planned for him to return home to resume living with his wife of 52 years. While still in the hospital, he developed a fever and became disoriented. The doctors, therefore, determined that he needed to be restrained in a wheelchair for his own safety. Unfortunately, the nurses left him alone in a hallway in an unlocked wheelchair. He unwittingly maneuvered the wheelchair into a stairwell and rolled down the stairs. He died several days later from head injuries related to the fall. The case settled following mediation.

Our 73-year-old client fell at an assisted living facility when she was left alone in the shower room, despite orders to continually supervise her when showering. She lived for three more months in continuous pain. The case settled before suit.

An 80-year-old man fractured his hip after falling in a chain-owned nursing home. National policies of the parent corporation were not followed and, after five pain-filled weeks in the hospital, he died. The case settled immediately prior to jury selection.

Nursing Home Feeds Disoriented Resident Solid Food Despite Restrictions Due To Her Inability To Swallow
Due to a history of hospitalizations from pneumonia caused by inhaling food, our 83-year-old client was determined at risk for anything but a softened diet. These orders were ignored and she was allowed access to regular food. Several hours after her last meal she began to show signs of breathing problems. When taken to the hospital she was found to have choked on French- fried potatoes. She developed aspiration pneumonia and died ten days later. The case settled through Court mediation in south-eastern Pennsylvania.

 

Medical Malpractice

Sponge Left in Patient During Kidney Transplant
The plaintiff was on dialysis for years while waiting for a kidney. Finally he received the call. Soon after the operation he began to develop a fever and his stomach became swollen. His creatinine level shot up indicating that the kidney was failing. The doctors went back in and discovered that a surgical sponge had been left behind and had formed an abscess. The infection over whelmed the kidney and it had to be removed. He had lost his place on the list and was back on dialysis. Because of the effects of the infection, and other factors, he most likely will never be eligible for another transplant. The hospital and surgeon fought the case claiming that the infection did not cause the death of the kidney. We obtained a kidney transplant physician and infectious disease expert who were ready to testify on behalf of the plaintiff. The case settled just before trial for seven figures.

Inexperienced Residents Delay Birth of Baby, Causing Permanent Brain Damage
A young woman was admitted to a teaching hospital to give birth to her first child. Her entire labor was monitored by residents in training since the senior doctor, according to his own testimony, only attended to his “private, paying” patients. The labor was allowed to continue too long and the child needed to be extracted by forceps. The forceps injured the baby’s head, leaving a bruise on his face. Within hours he began to have seizures and a CAT scan revealed a brain bleed in the same location as the bruise. He was ultimately diagnosed with developmental delays and autism (Pervasive Developmental Disorder). A medical expert from Sweden who had conducted research in the relationship between anoxia (the lack of oxygen to the brain) and autism was located. This expert was prepared to fly in to testify. A settlement of $1.8 millionwas reached shortly before trial, which will pay for custodial care and medical treatment for the rest of the child’s life.

Psychiatrist’s Orders Disobeyed Resulting In Patient’s Suicide
Our client was a professional who became depressed and suicidal. After ingesting an overdose of Tylenol she was admitted to a hospital for treatment and protection. The nurses were instructed not to leave her alone. At 6:30 am the night nurse left the room to report that the screen was missing from the window. Upon returning to the room, our client was gone. She was found on the ground just below the window of her seventh story hospital room. She had crawled through the opening in the window and jumped to her death.

The medical records revealed that the on-duty nurse had written in the records that she had checked in on our client and found her asleep in bed after she had already jumped to her death (an obvious falsification of the record).Our experts were ready to testify that the hospital staff failed to properly protect our client from her mental illness. The case was settled for $750,000.

Improper Emergency Room Care Causes Child’s Death
After falling at home and injuring her back, the parents took their ten-year-old daughter to the emergency room of a local hospital. The child could not walk and had to be carried by her parents into the hospital. X-rays taken of her back showed no spinal damage. During her stay at the emergency room she developed a high fever. Tests were taken to rule out appendicitis but an urinalysis test showed traces of blood. Although the fever went down, the child, who was still unable to walk, was discharged and allowed to go home. Within three days the child experienced increased pain in her legs and was rushed to a different emergency room where she ultimately died. An autopsy showed that she died of sepsis (blood poisoning). Our firm retained three medical experts who were prepared to testify that, had a blood test been given during her first emergency room visit, the presence of blood poisoning would have been discovered and could easily have been treated with antibiotics thereby preventing their child’s death. The case settled on the eve of trial for $725,000.

Over Sedated Emphysema Patient Dies While Doctors Stand Idly By
A 68-year-old retired City of Philadelphia recreation director was admitted to a local city hospital for treatment of difficulty breathing as a result of emphysema. In the middle of the night, the oxygen levels in her blood dropped and she became disoriented. Without first examining her, a resident ordered the nurse to give her a sedative. Within ten minutes she went into cardiac arrest and a “code red” was called. The doctors had incorrectly recorded her advanced directive instructions and, rather than providing her cardiac resuscitation as she had requested, they stood by and watched her die. We retained experts in bioethics and pharmacology and in spite of the difficulty in proving that she would have survived had she been resuscitated, the matter settled for $200,000.

Lack of Supervision at Psychiatric Hospital Leads to Patient’s Death
A severe mental condition necessitated our client’s admission to a local psychiatric hospital. While under the care and custody of the hospital, our client ingested an overdose of medication, which caused her death. Suit was filed which alleged improper supervision of our client and the lack of security in regard to visitors. It was never established how our client got the medication which caused her death. The case was hotly contested by the defendants, not only on liability but also on the lack of damages; our client had no prior track record of earnings. There was also the suggestion that our client facilitated the acquisition of the drugs that lead to her death. In spite of these difficulties the case was ultimately settled for $185,000.

 

Premises Liability

Defective Parking Lot Results in a One Million Dollar Verdict
Our client was shopping at Home Depot. As she was pushing her cart containing purchases and her two-year-old child, it struck a raised manhole cover which was obscured by water. The water came from a hose used to water outside plants located in the parking lot just adjacent to the manhole cover. The plaintiff fell, striking her knee, as she tried to catch her daughter who was falling from the cart. She sustained chondromalacia of the knee which required arthroscopic surgery. Our client’s physician testified that she would need future surgery. The defendant presented three witnesses at trial who testified that the manhole cover was not covered by water and that, in any event, water from the hose would not extend to the manhole area. In addition, they retained a physician who testified at trial that our client’s injuries were unrelated to the accident and did not require any future care. The case was tried and resulted in a verdict in the amount of $1 million.

Customer Falls in Hole at Loading Dock
In the evening hours, our client purchased a piece of furniture which had to be picked up at a loading dock. As he presented his receipt, he fell on a broken portion of the pavement. We alleged that there was improper lighting and signage. Through investigation we were able to locate a witness who was present at the time of the accident and verified the lack of lighting.

Our client was ultimately diagnosed with a fracture of his right ankle and meniscus tear of his right knee. His right ankle was placed in a cast and his knee eventually required surgery. In addition, our client was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff which did not require any surgery. The defendant contested not only the manner in which this accident occurred but the extent of the injuries. The case ultimately settled for$475,000.

Collapsed Fence Causes Injuries
Our client was walking on a sidewalk when a construction fence collapsed on his ankle causing a severe fracture of his right ankle. Suit was brought against the general and subcontractors. The case was contested by all the defendants. However, after extensive discovery we were able to establish liability against all of the defendants. After lengthy court mediation the case settled for $450,000 with each party contributing to the settlement.

Unsafe Playground Equipment Causes Injury to Child
A 13-year-old boy fell from the top of a wobbly jungle gym at a City-owned playground. The equipment which was installed by a local civic group had been improperly anchored. The city failed to check the jungle gym after its installation.

Our playground expert was ready to testify that not only was the jungle gym improperly anchored and unsafe but that the ground was not adequately cushioned to prevent injury to children who would fall.

Our client developed permanent scarring and weakness in his leg. His orthopedic surgeon testified at deposition that the leg injury was caused by impact with the hard surface. The case settled on the first day of trial for $250,000.

Raised Floor Mat Causes Customer to Fall
Our 67-year-old client had just entered a bank to make a deposit. She was the first person waiting in line to enter the bank that morning. As she walked into the bank she tripped over a turned up mat directly in front of the entrance. Our client sustained permanent injuries to her knee. The bank contested the case, presenting evidence that the mat was safe and that our client was not watching where she was walking. A Philadelphia jury found in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $225,000.

Elevator Accident Results In Plaintiff’s Verdict
While our client was in an elevator carrying boxes weighing approximately 40 pounds, the elevator suddenly descended. It jerked and dropped abruptly causing our client to be thrown forcefully to the floor. As a result she sustained a tear of the ligaments of her right knee, cervical sprain and strain and bilateral carpal tunnel injuries. Extensive investigation revealed numerous repair slips showing prior problems with the elevator. Our expert was able to recreate the accident and determine that the defendant’s failure to remedy the prior problems was the cause of the accident. The defendants hotly contested their failure to adequately respond to prior complaints and presented expert testimony refuting how the accident occurred. In addition, the defendant had testimony from their examining physician that the knee injury had healed and the other injuries were unrelated to the accident.

Workplace Injuries

Failure to Ventilate Fumes Causes Explosion and Fire
A printing company had purchased a self-contained printing press which was ventilated through the roof of the building. Fumes, which were heavier than air, accumulated at the base of the printing press. Our experts were able to establish that the machine malfunctioned, causing a spark to ignite the fumes, which caused an explosion and fire. Our client was working close to the printing press at the time of the explosion. He was burned over 80% of his body and was flown to a burn center. Our client’s injuries were devastating. He was hospitalized for months and required multiple surgeries.

Through our experts we were able to establish liability not only against the manufacturer of the printing press but the designer of the ventilation system. Depositions were taken in Chicago, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

After depositions, the case was settled for a total guaranteed payment to our client, which exceeded $5 million.

Nurse Injured Due to Maintenance Company’s Negligence
A nurse at a local hospital was injured and fell at work on her way to pick up a patient in the emergency room of the hospital. The floor had been freshly waxed but without any warning signs. The case was referred to us to handle by another attorney as a Workers’ Compensation matter. (Under Pennsylvania law, an employee injured on the job cannot sue a fellow employee or his employer for negligence, but can receive Workers’ Compensation.) The housekeeping staff at the hospital were fellow employees of the nurse.

After undertaking representation, it was learned that the hospital had a contract with a major conglomerate to run housekeeping using hospital employees. After extensive discovery and investigation, it was established that although housekeepers were paid by the hospital they were really employees of the major conglomerate. Once this was established, the way was paved for an $875,000 settlement for the nurse who has a permanent neck injury. In addition, $150,000 was secured from the Workers’ Compensation carrier as a settlement, bringing the total recovery to $1,025,000.

Overloaded Shelving Collapses Upon Truck Driver, Permanently Disabling Him
A 64-year-old truck driver was waiting in a warehouse for his truck to be loaded. He stood next to shelving that was holding several tons of sheet metal. An employee of the defendant had admittedly, overloaded the shelving and it gave way, raining 1,500 pounds of sheet metal upon the plaintiff. He suffered multiple fractures up and down the right side of his entire body. Although he was approaching the normal retirement age of 65, we presented evidence from his employer that he would have continued to work until the age of 70. Shortly after his deposition the case settled for $988,000.

Electric Company’s Failure to Turn Off Power Electrocutes Client
The building was going to be stripped and rehabilitated, so our client, a scrap collector was hired to remove the metal from the building.

The defendant assured our client that the electrical power had been turned off. Because it was not, he sustained disabling injuries, which we alleged would worsen and prevent him from continuing in his business in the future.

Our experts were able to establish that the electricity could not be turned off because of the manner in which the electric company had configured its own wiring source.
Recognizing that they could not successfully contest their liability, the defendant strenuously contested the plaintiff’s economic damages and the extent of the injuries. Although our client had returned to work shortly after the accident, we were able to convince the defendant that the nature of the injuries would impact on his future earnings.
Ultimately the case settled for $875,000.

Truck Hits Scaffold Causing Client to Fall
Our client, a painter, was on a scaffold located in a loading area for trucks. The scaffold, which was high above the ground, extended out into a driveway. As our client was painting the outside wall, the top of the defendant’s truck struck the scaffold, throwing our client to the ground. Our client sustained serious injuries to his knee which required surgery.

The defendant had failed to protect our client and the other painters on the scaffold by redirecting or supervising traffic in and out of the loading dock area. The defendants claimed it was the plaintiff’s fault in allowing the scaffold to stick out into the driveway area. In addition, the defendant had expert testimony alleging that the plaintiff should have been wearing a safety belt which would have prevented him from falling to the ground.

After extensive mediation the case was settled for $725,000. In addition, the plaintiff received a settlement with the Workers’ Compensation carrier for $100,000, bringing the total settlement to $825,000.

Chair Collapses Causing Disabling Back Injuries
As our client was leaning back on a chair provided to her by her employer it broke, causing her serious injuries. An intense and quick investigation revealed that the original welds on the chair joining the back to the seat were inadequate. The manufacturer defended the action by alleging that the employer had misused the chair and had failed to properly maintain it. Although the plaintiff was complaining of disabling back injuries, medical tests, M.R.I.s and E.M.G.s , failed to reveal any objective signs of injury. Suit was filed in Federal Court. On the eve of trial the case settled for $372,000. In addition, our client’s Workers’ Compensation lien was reduced without the loss of any future benefits.

Defective Steps Cause Injuries
As part of her job, our client was visiting a work site that was under construction. As she walked up makeshift steps made out of concrete blocks leading to the trailer office, she fell, causing serious injuries to her back and leg. Suit was filed in Federal Court against the construction company. We retained an expert who was ready to testify that the steps were in violation of building code standards. The defendant denied any violations and claimed that our client was not careful and therefore caused her own injuries. On the eve of trial, the case settled for $125,000.

 

Motor Vehicle Accidents

New Housing Development Under Construction with No Traffic Controls Causes Accident
Late at night the plaintiff was a rear seat passenger in a car that had just dropped off a passenger at one of the new homes. Construction of other homes and streets were still in progress. The driver, who had never been there before, was getting ready to exit the development. The street he was on dead ended into a two way through high way. The intersection should have had a Stop sign and lighting. As the driver was making a left hand turn onto the through street it was struck by a car coming from its left. The impact was directly where the plaintiff was sitting. The impact was so severe that the plaintiff sustained a ripped aorta which required surgery. The City, Developer, Contractor, Subcontractors and the drivers were all sued. The driver of the car had minimal coverage and if a finding was made against him alone for making a left hand turn without making proper observations the plaintiff’s recovery would be limited to his small policy. By retaining a highway Civil engineer we were able to establish liability against all parties and reach a settlement in excess of $500,000.

Auto accident killed one child and injured two others
Three young children were waiting for their school bus. Before it came, an automobile lost control and left the highway, killing one child and injuring two others.

The driver of the automobile had a small insurance policy which could not compensate the children and their families. Through painstaking investigation, we were able to prove that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation allowed the roadway to deteriorate, causing the car to lose control.

In spite of the fact that police testified for Penn DOT that the car did not leave the road at the deteriorated site, through cross-examination and the testimony of expert and fact witnesses, who had relocated and had to be flown in from around the country, we were able to convince the jury otherwise. The verdict at of $2.25 Million at the time was one of the largest personal injury verdicts in Chester County history.

Client Killed on Highway at Night During Rain Storm
Our client was walking across a major highway in Delaware County at night. There was a thunderstorm at the time of the accident and visibility was poor. As the plaintiff stepped off an island separating traffic he was struck by a truck.

Although there were no independent witnesses we were able to establish through our traffic reconstruction expert that the truck was exceeding the speed limit at the time of impact.

Our client had a very spotty work history and therefore had no real expectations of future earnings. He died immediately upon impact and there was no claim for pain and suffering. Our client, though, was survived by a one-year-old child.

Based on the testimony of our traffic reconstruction expert we were able to obtain a settlement which ensured the child’s financial security for the remainder of his life. The future payments to the child will total in excess of $1,250,000.

Child Killed Chasing Ball Into The Street
A ten-year-old boy was struck by a car after running into the street after a football. The accident occurred in a neighborhood street in suburban Delaware County. The defendant was driving 45 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone and killed him instantly. The defendant was without assets except for a $100,000 insurance policy. We made an additional claim against the owner of a car illegally parked that had blocked the driver’s view of the child for a total settlement of $200,000. No other assets or sources of recovery could be found, however, the surviving family was able to purchase a home in another neighborhood and begin to rebuild their lives. A portion of the settlement funds was placed into a Structured Settlement which will provide the surviving brother and sister money for a college education.

Jaw Injury (T.M.J.) Results In Settlement
As a result of an automobile accident our client sustained injuries to her neck, back and her jaw. Her jaw required four separate operations. Our client’s extensive prior medical history revealed pre-existing complaints and treatment to her jaw resulting from a prior attack when she was struck with a blunt object. In spite of that, we were able to settle for the full policy limits prior to trial in the amount of $200,000.

 

Legal Malpractice

Prior Attorney Fails to Protect Client
Our client was represented by his former attorney for injuries sustained from a fall while renting a condominium at the shore. The previous attorney alleged that the serious injuries sustained by our client were caused by the condominium association’s failure to maintain the steps leading to the rental unit. A trial was held in Federal Court and our client’s case was dismissed as a result of errors committed by the former attorney. A suit for legal malpractice against our client’s former attorney was filed. The legal issues involved in the case were complex and had not yet been decided by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which meant that, regardless of what verdict a jury might render, an appeal was a certainty and it would be years before the issues would finally be decided. After extensive discovery and the retaining of numerous experts the case was ultimately settled on the eve of trial for $600,000.

 

Contract – Residential Litigation

Home Owners Seek Redress for Faulty Design
Homeowners who purchased new homes in a Philadelphia neighborhood began to experience water penetration problems. The water entered their homes, causing wet basements, landscaping deterioration, and undermining their porches. The builder denied responsibility and blamed the City for poor sewer systems and street repair. The City claimed the builder was at fault because the sewers and streets were there before the houses were built. After identifying deficiencies in the plans of the builder and failures in the maintenance of the sewers, the builder contributed $100,000 to a settlement that required the City to provide new sewers and street grading to direct water away from the homes. One of the property owners has just sold her home for over two times the original price.

 

Insurance Company Litigation

Insurance Company Acting In Bad Faith Pays a Settlement Almost Equivalent to 10 Times its Policy Limits
Our client, an elderly man was crossing the street at the corner with a green light. A driver, insured by a major insurance company, did not yield the right of way and struck him causing multiple fractured bones and injuries that plagued him until he died a few years later from cancer. The insurance company claimed that because it couldn’t get their insured’s version of the accident and despite an eyewitness whose statement confirmed that their insured was responsible, refused to pay their $15,000 policy limits. We then filed a bad faith claim against the driver’s insurance carrier. When it became clear that they were going to lose the lawsuit they tried to pay the policy limits of $15,000 to end the case. It was not accepted and a verdict was obtained well above the policy limits. The insurance company ultimately had to settle the case, paying $140,000 because of their bad faith actions.