Members have access to our unmatched Claims Department team, managed and staffed by some of the most experienced professionals in the insurance business. Our deep understanding of the local defense, plaintiff, and judicial environments combined with strong relationships, has resulted in a ten-year average of 90.5% defense verdict of our jury trials.
Following is a sample list of results from cases in which we defended policyholders. Many cases are private and unavailable for public viewing, but we hope that by reading the following results you are able to see how we approach case strategy and defense.
For specialty-specific trial results, visit the specialty resources pages in our risk management section.
Lack of Informed Consent/Improper Performance
Specialty: General Surgery
Allegation: A 52-year-old male alleged lack of informed consent and improper performance of a low anterior resection. The patient had undergone a screening colonoscopy, at which time three polyps were removed. One of them, a well-differentiated adenocarcinoma, had invaded the superficial submucosa and had a negative margin of .8mm. Anastomosis couldn’t be achieved at the time of surgery, so the patient had a temporary colostomy, which was successfully reversed. The pathology from this surgery showed no evidence of residual cancer or cancer spread. The plaintiff argued that meant surgery was never indicated. The patient claimed altered bowel habits affecting his quality of life and ability to work. The plaintiff claimed past and future medical expenses, past and future wage loss, and general damages.
Plaintiff Attorneys: Nathan Roberts and Anna Price, Connelly Law Offices, Tacoma, WA
Plaintiff Experts: Joseph Scoma, MD, Colorectal Surgery, San Diego, CA; Peter Wasserman, MD, Oncology, Seattle, WA; Bennet Omalu, MD, Pathology, Lodi, CA; Anthony Choppa, MEd, Life Care Planner, Seattle, WA; Christina Tapia, PhD, Economist, Seattle, WA
Defense Attorneys: John Graffe, Johnson, Graffe, Keay, Moniz & Wick, Seattle, WA and Tim Allen, Bennett, Bigelow & Leedom, Seattle, WA
Defense Experts: Edward (Chip) Freimanis, MD, General Surgery, Renton, WA; Mark Welton, MD, Colorectal Surgery, Stanford, CA; James Cunningham, MD, Oncology, Walla Walla, WA; Emily Volk, MD, Gastrointestinal Pathology, San Antonio, TX; Brian Fennerty, MD, Gastroenterology, Portland, OR; Charles Blanke, MD, Gastrointestinal Oncology, Portland, OR
Result: Defense Verdict. Thurston County Superior Court, Judge Wilson
Alleged Negligent Prescription
Allegation: A 55-year-old female alleged inappropriate prescription for Wellbutrin to treat low libido. The patient had a complex medical history, was on multiple medications, and was treating with a neurologist. The physician advised the patient of the potential side effect of a slight lowering of the seizure threshold. The patient reported she had not had a seizure in more than a year and was allowed to drive. The patient saw her neurologist several months later, and the neurologist was advised of the prescription, although that physician later did not recall being told. The patient had an early morning single-vehicle auto accident resulting in bodily injury.She alleged that the accident was caused by a seizure. The codefendant neurologist settled prior to trial. The patient claimed past and future medical expenses, future wage loss, and general damages.
Plaintiff Attorney: Ralph Rayburn, Rayburn Law Office, Beaverton, OR
Plaintiff Experts: Michael Barmache, MD, Emergency Medicine, Portland, OR; Michael Resnick, MD, Psychiatry, Portland, OR
Defense Attorneys: David Mempham and Abby Miller, Hodgkinson Street Mepham, Portland, OR
Defense Experts: Reed Wilson, MD, Neurology, Portland, OR; John Barry, MD, Psychiatry, Palo Alto, CA; Philippa Ribbink, MD, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Portland, OR; Brent Burton, MD, Toxicology, Portland, OR; Mark Yerby, MD, Neurology, Portland, OR
Result: Defense Verdict. Multnomah County Superior Court, Judge Greenlick
Allegation: A 52-year-old female alleged that a barium enema study ordered due to a prior history of rectal cancer was performed without lubricants, that there was a failure to adequately insert the catheter prior to inflation of the balloon, and that the physician refused to terminate the study when instructed to do so by the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged rectal injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Plaintiff’s allegation was vehemently disputed, and the plaintiff’s version was not supported by witnesses. The patient claimed medical expenses and general damages.
Plaintiff Attorney: Daniel C. Lorenz, The Law Office of Daniel C. Lorenz, Portland, OR
Plaintiff Experts: Jan Alexander, LCSW, Counselor, Portland, OR; Roy Breen, MD, Colorectal Surgery, Portland, OR Defense Attorney: Karen O’Kasey, Hart Wagner, Portland, OR
Defense Experts: Robert Bloch, MD, Radiology, Portland, OR; Megan Cavanaugh, MD Colorectal Surgery, Portland, OR
Result: Defense Verdict. Multnomah County Superior Court, Judge Matarazzo
Allegation: The estate of a newborn male alleged failure to urgently deliver a term infant after a non-stress test was performed on the mother due to a lack of fetal movement. The non-stress test was not reassuring but was not ominous. The pregnant mother was asked to return to the clinic within hours for a biophysical profile when the technician would be available. The biophysical profile found no fetal breathing or gross fetal movement, among other concerning findings. The results were discussed with the patient, and she was advised that an immediate delivery by cesarean section was possible. The patient was instructed to report to the labor and delivery unit at the hospital. The patient went home to arrange care for an older child, and when she presented at the hospital, a fetal demise had occurred. The estate claimed future economic loss and general damages.
Plaintiff Attorney: Derek Radtke, Phillips Law Firm, Renton, WA
Plaintiff Experts: Harold Zimmer, MD, Obstetrics, Bellevue, WA
Defense Attorneys: Amy Forbis and Jennifer Churas, Bennett, Bigelow & Leedom, Seattle, WA
Defense Experts: Nancy O’Neill, MD, Obstetrics, Spokane, WA; Beth Sanford, MD, Obstetrics, Tacoma, WA; Trevor Macpherson, MD, Pathology, Pittsburgh, PA
Result: Defense Verdict. King County Superior Court, Judge Rogoff
Failure to Diagnose
Specialty: Emergency Medicine
Allegation: The plaintiff presented to the emergency department, on two occasions within a matter of days, with complaints of low back pain. On his third visit, the emergency medicine physician was impressed with his complaints and ordered lumbar imaging, which demonstrated foraminal stenosis at L4-5. Neurosurgery at another facility was consulted, but because it was not believed that the patient’s condition represented an emergency, the neurosurgery consultant recommended the patient be followed as an outpatient. The patient was discharged but returned hours later and was admitted for observation. The neurosurgery department again declined to accept the patient. Unbeknownst to the emergency medicine physician and physician assistant who had been providing care, the patient remained in the hospital under a hospitalist’s care for three days without being transferred. The patient’s condition deteriorated, and when he was transferred, he was diagnosed with a thoracic epidural abscess, which resulted inthe patient being paraplegic with severe spasticity, neuropathic pain, bowel and bladder dysfunction. The plaintiff claimed past and future medical expense, future wage loss, and general damages. A lawsuit was initially filed against the hospital and the hospitalist, which was settled prior to the litigation, and a second lawsuit was filed against those providers.
Plaintiff Attorney: Gene Moen, Chemnick | Moen | Greenstreet, Seattle, WA
Plaintiff Experts: John Stein, MD, Emergency Medicine, Santa Rosa, CA; Jennifer James, MD, Physical Medicine, Seattle, WA; Antony Choppa, MEd, Vocational Rehabilitation/Life Care Planner, Bothell, WA; William Brandt, Economist, Seattle, WA
Defense Attorneys: Jeff Street, Hodgkinson Street Mepham, Portland, OR; Mark Wagner, Hart Wagner, Portland, OR
Defense Experts: Peggy Goldman, MD, Emergency Medicine, Seattle, WA; John Moorhead, MD, Emergency Medicine, Portland, OR; Scott Bonvallet, MD, Hospitalist, Bellevue, WA; Julie Hughes, MD, Hospitalist, Eugene, OR; Andrew Nemecek, MD, Neurosurgery, Vancouver, WA; Arik Van Zandt, Economist, Seattle, WA; Sally Stuart, PhD, Life Care Planner, Seattle, WA
Result: Defense Verdict. King County Superior Court, Judge Andrus