Brain Injury Claim Dismissal in New York County

The Supreme Court, New York County (Schlesinger, J.) has set aside a $9.25 million verdict and dismissed a complaint against an HPM&B client, a neurosurgeon who had been found 50% liable.  Plaintiff’s decedent, an heiress to the Mellon fortune, sustained catastrophic neurological injuries when she was struck by a moving truck.  It was alleged that HPM&B’s client should have quickly performed surgery instead of relying on information given to him by a resident that the decedent had no brain stem function and thus could not be saved.

The court relied on two important concessions elicited from plaintiff’s expert during cross-examination by HPM&B senior partner Charles Bach. First, plaintiff’s expert conceded that HPM&B’s client properly made the decision not to operate based on the information given to him about decedent’s neurological status at that time. Second, the expert admitted that he could not opine that surgery performed more than four hours after the accident would have improved decedent’s condition.  Dan Ratner of HPM&B’s appellate practice group handled the post-trial motion.