June 2009 Archives

June 26, 2009

Wrongfully Convicted Chicago Man Awarded $21 Million Dollars By Jury

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Juan Johnson, a Chicago resident, was awarded $21 million dollars by a jury in a wrongful conviction lawsuit. Johnson was framed for a 1989 murder and spent eleven and a half years in prison before he was finally cleared of the crime in 2004. The award is the largest ever in Chicago for a wrongful conviction case.

The defendants in the case, The City Of Chicago and former police officer Reynaldo Guevara were alleged to have intimidated witnesses into testifying that Johnson killed a rival gang member outside a nightclub on North and Western Avenues on the northside of Chicago. The former officer allegedly told witnesses that if they didn't blame Johnson for the murder then they themselves might be implicated.

The City Of Chicago says that it plans to appeal the jury's decision.

June 25, 2009

Psychiatric Malpractice/Suicide Case Settled By Goldberg & Goldberg

Lawyers at Goldberg & Goldberg settled a psychiatric malpractice case this week that was filed against Dr. Dixon Spivy and St. Joseph's Hospital in Chicago. The case involved a young pregnant mother of two who was released from St. Joseph's Hospital after a suicide attempt. She continued to suffer from major depression and killed herself and her unborn fetus shortly thereafter. The case was pending in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.

The defendant's alleged that the plaintiff, who took more then twenty melatonin sleeping pills, had not actually tried to kill herself and was merely trying to go to sleep. They also claimed that the plaintiff was not a risk of harm to herself or her unborn fetus. Dr. Spivy admitted that he only spet fifteen minutes evaluating the plaintiff in the hospital before declaring that she was only suffering from a mood disorder.

The case settled for an undisclosed sum of money.

June 22, 2009

Capping Medical Malpractice

How do we cap medical malpractice without capping medical malpractice awards for those patients who are injured by the negligence of doctors. Everyone agrees that the health care system in the United States is in need of a drastic overhaul. The key is accomplishing an overhaul without further abridging the rights of the needy.

Andy Hoffman in Friday's Daily Kos Online wrote an excellent editorial suggesting a novel, yet thusfar, unexplored solution to reducing the cost of medical malpractice claims on society. Weed out the worst offenders, those doctors who repeatedly victimize their patients and have no business practicing medicine.

Focusing on medical malpractice caps will do nothing to reduce health care costs. California, as Hoffman notes, has had caps on medical malpractice awards for the past 34 years. The caps in california are drastic, $250,000 limits on malpractice awards, and have had literally no effect on the cost of malpractice insurance or the price of health care in that state. Why not focus on the cause of medical malpractice cases and the conduct of those bad doctors who are driving up prices for everyone else, rather then the victims? Sounds reasonable to us.

June 18, 2009

Some Questions To Ask A Lawyer You Find On The Internet

Searching for a lawyer who practices in the area of medical malpractice in Chicago, Illinois is as easy as opening up you web browser and Googling "medical malpractice chicago." When i ran this search term Google returned 275,000 search results. The first page of results alone listed more then 30 lawyers, including those who have purchased sponsored ads. I know a lot of these lawyers, and some of them do practice in the area of medical malpractice and are very fine attorneys. The vast majority of others are "brokers", business men who earn a living referring cases to other lawyers who are capable of actually working on a case and expecting part of the fee as a result of finding the case.

At Goldberg & Goldberg we have been practicing in the area of medical malpractice in Chicago for more then forty years. We do not broker cases out to other lawyers. We work up and try our client's cases ourselves. Our results speak for themselves. We have collected almost $1 billion in compensation for our clients.

When you interview a lawyer that you have found on the internet about his ability to handle your case you are making an intensely important decision. Can this lawyer carry my banner and accomplish the herculean task of bringing a hospital or doctor to his knees in court. In order to do this you should ask a few basic questions of your potential lawyer to see if he has the right stuff to handle your case. If the lawyer hems and haws when answering your direct question you should consider finding someone else to represent you. Here are some sample questions you should ask:

How Many Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Have You Or Your Firm Tried To Verdict?
This question is a strong indicator of a lawyers intent to actually handle your case himself. You can identify a broker lawyer by asking him or her if the results they have recovered were as primary counsel or whether or not they asked another lawyer to actually try the case on the client's behalf. The Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter publishes lists of every verdict that has been rendered by a jury in Cook County. Ask to see copies of the lawyers verdicts, all trial lawyers keep them.

Do you Refer Cases Out To Other Lawyers Or Do you Work Them Up And Try Them Yourself?
Again, this direct question will help you identify an untalented lawyer broker who is merely trying to refer your case to a capable lawyer and earn a part of a shared fee by finding cases.

Are You In The Position To Finance My Case?
We routinely spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on each case preparing them for trial. If a lawyer cannot afford to finance your case it is a pretty good indicator of their ability to work up and try a medical malpractice case.

These and other direct questions will help direct your case to a lawyer who can actually try your case.

June 18, 2009

Trying Lawsuits To A Jury In Chicago

Trying lawsuits in Chicago at the Cook County Courthouse located at The Richard J. Daley Center is a risky proposition. Even though anti-consumer groups like the Chamber of Commerce and other insurance company proxies have identified Illinois as a judicial "hellhole" the fact of the matter is that injured people face an uphill battle whenever they go to the courthouse.

According to statistics published by the Clerk of the Circuit Court and the presiding Judge of the Law Division, Judge William Maddux, the Law Division had 14,713 new jury filings, and 17,548 pending jury cases -- numbers that are fairly consistent with the last several years. And in the three-year period used for this review of Law Division jury verdicts, the number of verdicts each year ranged from 402 to 475. Among those cases juries ruled for defendants in 71 percent of the medical malpractice suits in that same three-year period. And comparing 2007 to 2008, the plaintiff win percentage in medical malpractice verdicts fell from 39 to 18 percent.

While it is true that the vast majority of lawsuits are settled by the parties prior to a jury verdict, those plaintiffs that take a matter to the jury for final resolution face a greater chance of leaving the courthouse without being compensated. At Goldberg & Goldberg our record of success in the Cook County law Division is without compare. We have settled and tried to verdict more then 135 cases that have settled for more then $1 million dollars, including the largest personal injury verdict ever in the State of Illinois, $127,700,000. Winning a case against a doctor or a hospital is an uphill battle. We work up and try our own cases in the firm unlike other lawyers who advertise their experience and results and then refer cases to actual trial lawyers like Goldberg & Goldberg.

June 11, 2009

Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line Disrupted By Car Crash

The Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line was disrupted early Thursday morning when a car travelling on the Eisenhower Expressway jumped the retaining wall and landed on the railroad tracks, where it was struck by an oncoming train.

The driver of the car was able to exit the vehicle before it was hit by the oncoming CTA train. Seven of the thirty passengers riding in the train were injured. Two passengers in another vehicle involved in the collision were also injured and treated at local hospitals.

Blue line service was shut down for more then three hours during the morning's rush hour service, the CTA is reporting.

June 10, 2009

Illinois Appellate Court Makes Proving Apparent Agency In Chicago Easier

On June 5, 2009, the First District Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Chicago affirming a trial court ruling by Judge Daniel M. Locallo clarifying certain issues related to the Illinois Supreme Court's 1993 ruling in Gilbert v. Sycamore Memorial Hospital,156 Ill.2d 511, 622 N.E.2d 788 (1993).  The opinion is captioned Spiegelman v. Victory Memorial Hospital, 1-07-3195 (1st Dist. June 5, 2009).

In 1993 the Illinois Supreme Court recognized that a hospital can be held vicariously liable for the conduct of a non employee doctor provided that the hospital 1) acted in a manner that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the individual who was alleged to be negligent was an employee or agent of the hospital; 2) created an appearance of authority and 3) the plaintiff acted in reliance upon the conduct of the hospital or its agent.  Gilbert v. Sycamore Memorial Hospital,156 Ill.2d 511, 622 N.E.2d 788 (1993).  

Now, the First District Appellate Court, which covers Chicago and Cook County, has decided another apparent agency case, Spiegelman v. Victory Memorial Hospital, 1-07-3195 (1st Dist. June 5, 2009), further clarifying the higher court's earlier apparent agency rulings.  The court ruled that the mere existence of a release signed by the plaintiff identifying its physicians as independent contractors does not, in and of itself, create an insurmountable hurdle to the holding out element.  The court reasoned that based on the totality of facts and the ambiguity of the consent form, a jury could reasonably conclude that the consent was ambiguous and therefore did not adequately inform the plaintiff of her doctor's independent status.

Furthermore, with regard to the reasonable reliance element, the court found that the the admission of newspaper advertisements exalting the health care the hospital offered were relevant to establish that the hospital was holding itself out as a complete provider of medical care.  It was irrelevant that the plaintiff did not testify that she actually saw the advertisements.  It was only essential that the plaintiff testify that she relied upon the hospital to provide her with complete medical care.  The court reaffirmed the concept that reliance is satisfied if the plaintiff reasonably relied upon the hospital to provide medical care, rather than a specific physician.


June 1, 2009

Chicago Obstetrician Blames Parents For Their Baby's Deaths

In an amazing report in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago obstetrician Dr. Peter Rosi blames parents for the deaths of their children.  Dr. Rosi believes that 80% of complications in childbirth are psychological and that babies can be killed by their mother's "attitudes."  He is proud of the fact that he practices obstetrics the way it was done 50 and 100 years ago.  Dr. Rosi has been named as a defendant in at least 10 medical malpractice cases in Cook County, Illinois and was accused of negligent homicide based on his conduct during childbirth in Sitka, Alaska in 1980, a charge of which he was eventually aquitted.

If it is true that Dr. Rosi is proud to practice obstetrics the way it was practiced 50 or 100 years ago, then his patients should be concerned.  In the past 50 years obstetrics has been revolutionized by fetal heart monitoring, ultrasound, advanced genetic screening and profoundly less invasive procedures which protect maternal and fetal well-being.  Fetal and maternal morbidity and mortality have been greatly reduced throught the use of these advance medical techniques which are now commonplace.

Dr. Rosi, age 73, practices at the Homefirst Clinic with offices in Rolling Meadows, Orland Park and Naperville, Illinois.  Homefirst is led by controversial physician, Mayer Eisenstein, who advocates physician attended home birthing.  Dr. Eisenstein also claims to be able to reverse or cure children who are suffering from Autism.