Heyl Royster



Defense Verdicts in Med Mal Cases


Partner David Sinn and Associate Matt Thompson recently successfully defended a gastroenterologist in a jury trial in Rock Island County, Illinois. Our client had performed a diagnostic colonoscopy on the plaintiff to identify and remove polyps. During the procedure, the gastroenterologist identified a perforation in the sigmoid colon that required a sigmoid colon resection and laparotomy. The plaintiff also underwent a second procedure to repair an incisional hernia that developed in his abdomen from the colon resection. The plaintiff asked the jury for recovery of medical and surgical expenses of approximately $100,000 and $250,000 for the loss of a normal life, disfigurement, and past and future pain and suffering. Evidence provided at trial indicated that the plaintiff had a 15-50% chance of having another incisional hernia. After a five-day trial and more than three hours of deliberation (the initial vote was 11-1), the jury returned a defense verdict, finding that the firm's client was not negligent. 

Doug Pomatto and Mike Denning of the firm's Rockford office recently obtained defense verdicts in two jury trials in Winnebago County. In one case, the firm represented a general surgeon at a trial in which the plaintiff alleged that the surgeon failed to entirely remove her gallbladder during a cholecystectomy. Tests taken after plaintiff's surgery revealed the potential presence of a gallbladder remnant that was surrounded by liver tissue, which was removed by a subsequent surgeon. Plaintiff claimed that the surgeon fell below the standard of care by failing to remove the entire gallbladder during the original surgery. The defense argued that the surgeon performed the original surgery safely and the abnormal gallbladder was not visualized during the original surgery because the surgeon was adhering to well-accepted surgical techniques which seek to minimize potential injuries to adjacent structures such as the liver and common bile duct. The jury returned a defense verdict for our client after a brief deliberation.

In the other trial, Doug and Mike defended an orthopedic surgeon against allegations that the doctor improperly casted plaintiff's both-bone forearm fracture, allegedly causing permanent deformity and loss of motion. The plaintiff was a 14-year-old patient who fell from a roof. The plaintiff claimed that the surgeon should have used a long arm cast, or above the elbow cast, to immobilize the fractures. The firm provided evidence that the angulation was due to intrinsic muscle forces, and that the surgeon's treatment and the plaintiff's casting were within the standard of care for those types of fractures. After less than 30 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a defense verdict in favor of the surgeon.