Three Wins in One Week - Firm Secures Two Defense Verdicts and Federal Court Dismissal

April 13, 2010

(APRIL 13, 2010) – In a very successful week at Ryan Ryan Deluca, two of the firm’s attorneys secured defense verdicts at trial and an RRD partner obtained a dismissal of a federal court suit that had been pending since 2004.

On March 30, 2010, RRD partner Rob Laney obtained a dismissal of a suit filed in federal court against a client who was accused of having engaged in tortious misconduct in connection with the management of a multi-national investment portfolio.

The plaintiff claimed that RRD’s client was a key player in a scheme that resulted in the loss of $6 million that had been placed with an investment company for which the firm’s client formerly worked. The plaintiff had already obtained a $10 million judgment against the investment company, which included prejudgment interest on the plaintiff’s losses, and was seeking a similar judgment against the firm’s client. The United States District Court rejected the plaintiff’s arguments that the statute of limitations was tolled by the client’s alleged continuing misconduct and fraudulent misrepresentations and found that the claims were time-barred, requiring dismissal of the suit.

Meanwhile, Partner Kevin Tepas received a defense verdict on April 1, 2010 in a medical malpractice case involving a 45 year-old woman with a significant medical, surgical and pharmacological history who presented to an Emergency Room complaining of severe abdominal pain. Our client, a surgeon who took over care of the patient at the hospital the following day, concluded that surgery was not indicated at that time and that further testing and observation was appropriate.

By mid-afternoon our client concluded that an exploratory laparotomy should be undertaken. During this procedure, the surgeon discovered a loop of bowel that had become strangulated by an adhesive band and had become necrotic. This was removed and there was no visual or pathologic evidence of contamination of the abdomen. By the second post-operative day, the patient was maintaining her own blood pressure without the need for pressor medication however troubling breath sounds had been detected at the base of her left lung which also showed infiltrates on x-ray. By late afternoon, the patient's blood pressure again diminished. She spiked a fever and showed signs of organ failure. Pathological testing of her lungs showed MRSA pneumonia. The patient continued to deteriorate and later died. No autopsy was performed.

Attorney Tepas argued that the surgeon's decision to obtain further data and to monitor the patient complied with the standard of care even though the bowel may have become necrotic during this time and that the patient's death was caused by unavoidable MRSA pneumonia, one of the very risks that militated against surgery in this patient. RRD presented supporting testimony from a surgeon and from a pulmonologist. RRD also presented testimony from an infectious disease expert who testified that the patient did not have a systemic infection, although she did have an inflammatory response.

The jury deliberated for 6 days before returning a general verdict in favor of the defendant on April 1, 2010.

Attorney Michael Young also obtained a defense verdict on April 1. The incident which was the subject of this matter occurred on December 14, 2006 on Route 1 in Fairfield. The defendant was driving a motor vehicle in the right lane of Route 1 and came to a stop for a red light at the intersection with South Pine Creek Road. He was the first vehicle stopped at the light. The plaintiff had been riding his bicycle down Route 1 for some time in the same direction as the defendant. The plaintiff traveled down the right side of the road and approached the defendant from behind. The plaintiff came to a stop slightly to the rear and right of the defendant's vehicle and intended to proceed straight through the intersection. As he sat at the light, the defendant decided to turn right onto South Pine Creek Road. When the light turned green, he turned without signaling and the rear passenger side of his vehicle came into contact with the plaintiff. The defendant never saw or heard the plaintiff and was actually flagged down further down South Pine Creek Road.

The defendant acknowledged that he failed to put his right turn signal on. We were able to assert, however, that this was not the proximate cause of the accident.

The jury deliberated for 45 minutes and returned a defense verdict.