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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Tennessee Judge Approves $20 Million Punitive Damage Jury Verdict Against Navistar


Tennessee Judge Finds Navistar’s Conduct “SHOCKING”, “EGREGIOUS” And “REPREHENSIBLE”

JACKSON, TN - In a follow-up to the August 10, 2017 Tennessee jury’s $30.8 million verdict on behalf of a Tennessee-based trucking company defrauded by Navistar Inc. in the sale of tractor-trailers powered by the discontinued Maxxforce engine, a Tennessee judge has denied Navistar’s attempt to have him disapprove and vacate the jury’s verdict on both actual damages and punitive damages.

On December 1, Judge Roy Morgan of the 26th Judicial Court located in Jackson, Tennessee, considered multiple motions by Navistar challenging the verdict awarded to Milan Logistics Supply Chain.

The Judge specifically approved of the punitive damages award and amount. Judge Morgan stated that testimony and conduct of Navistar was “somewhat shocking”, “reprehensible” and “egregious”.

The Judge stated that the proof showed that Navistar knew before launching the trucks that they had issues with the Maxxforce engine but “took a course of action not to disclose and claimed it was just normal business practice.”

At the August trial, Jack Allen the former Chief Operating Officer of Navistar, stated that it was just “normal practice of business” not to disclose to customers considering a purchase when a company like Navistar knows its products have known defects, have serious issues with regard to pre-launch testing and are being launched with the product validation incomplete.

This testimony was cited by Milan’s lead trial attorney, Clay Miller of the Dallas law firm Miller Weisbrod, as one of the multitude of reasons the punitive damage verdict should be approved.

In addition to approving the punitive damage verdict, Judge Morgan added $1.337 million of attorneys’ fees to the award since the jury found Navistar’s fraudulent conduct violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Have you been injured in a sideswipe accident with an 18-Wheeler?


Semi-trucks are huge vehicles that can weight upwards of 80,000 lbs. Because of this, accidents involving 18-wheelers tend to be catastrophic, often resulting in severe injuries or even wrongful death. 18-wheelers are a common sight on Texas roads, but when a truck driver causes an accident due to negligence, do NOT expect the insurance company to treat you fairly.

Truck accident injury claims are defended vigorously. Insurance companies have gotten really good at shooting down or minimizing claims. Because of the high policy limits on commercial trucks, adjusters often go to great lengths to limit the value of your claim. They may claim that you should have done your part in ensuring that the trucker was aware of your presence, or they may call into question your driving record and pick out a ticket you received five years in order to show that you’re a bad driver.

As truck accident attorneys, we see these tactics used all the time. Even worse, we talk to many victims who were strung along by the insurance company only to find out several months later that their claim has been denied. Unfortunately, by the time these people reach out to us, it’s often too late in the process for an attorney to help.

It is important to get in touch with an experienced truck accident law firm immediately if you’ve been injured in a truck accident. While property damage claims are usually pretty straight forward, the same cannot be said for an accident injury claim (especially those involving commercial trucks). There is no harm in having someone in your corner to advocate for your best interests and navigate the claims process, and it costs you nothing out of pocket to hire us.

18-Wheelers have massive blind spots

A blind spot is simply an area within a field of vision that cannot be seen by a driver due to the shape of the vehicle or the angle of the side mirrors. As a result, truck drivers are trained to approach highway off-ramps with care, and to change lanes only when it is absolutely certain the other lane is clear.


While we never recommend driving directly next to an 18-wheeler for an extended period of time, do not allow them to blame you (even partially) for their own act of negligence. Truck drivers are still governed by the same traffic laws as everyone else (FMCSA regulations), and you deserve to be fairly compensated.

Common sideswipe accident scenarios:
  • Poor driver training can cause Dallas truck drivers to operate vehicles in a reckless manner
  • Driver distraction is a huge cause of Dallas 18-wheeler accidents. This can be due to the truck driver messing with the radio controls, watching TV while driving, talking on the phone, and engaging in activities which take their attention away from the task at hand
  • Tire blowouts happen every once in a while, and may be the result of inadequate maintenance, product liability, or due to a mismatched tire
  • Driver intoxication is another common cause of sideswipe accidents in Dallas, including drivers impaired by alcohol, stimulants, pain killers, or illegal narcotics
Sideswipe crashes can be dangerous because they can result in underride accidents, rollovers, and jackknifing. Passenger vehicles involved in sideswipes are often pushed off the road or into incoming traffic.

Contact us today!
If you were hurt or a loved one was severely injured or died in a trucking accident, immediate investigation and concerted legal action may be necessary to protect your right to seek maximum recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation.

At Miller Weisbrod, our clients are not statistics — they are real people in need of representation to defend their rights. Our truck accident attorneys are prepared to take on even the biggest trucking companies and commercial transportation operations across the United States. For more information, contact our offices in Dallas at 214.987.0005 to schedule an appointment.

Friday, November 17, 2017

BRAZILIAN BUTT LIFT: WOMAN PARALYZED DURING SURGERY


DALLAS PLASTIC SURGERY INSTITUTE AND PLASTIC SURGEON SUED
Injects Too Much Fat Into Muscles Above Sciatic Nerve Causing Permanent Paralysis.
Keeps Patient in Cloister at Park Lane “Luxury Post-Operative Hotel” Instead of Transporting to Hospital for Emergency Medical Care.

On January 16, 2017, Rolanda Hutton went to Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute and Dallas Day Surgery Center in Dallas, for liposuction of the abdomen, bilateral flanks and back, followed by butt augmentation through fat transfer aka Brazilian Butt Lift (as popularized by Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez).

Following her procedure during post-operative care while being kept at the surgery center, Mrs. Hutton continually complained of weakness, numbness and inability to stand. Because of this, she should have been emergently transferred to a hospital.




During the procedure, treatment and post-operative medical care, Sameer Subhash Jejurikar, M.D. was negligent as follows:
  • Injecting too much fat into each side of Rolanda Hutton’s deep gluteal muscles and sciatic notch on both sides of her buttocks
  • Angling the injection cannula down and failing to ensure that deep muscle and sciatic notch injection of fat would not occur during Rolanda Hutton’s autologous fat grafting to buttocks
  • Failing to emergently transfer Rolanda Hutton to an appropriate hospital for relief of compressive and compartment-like syndrome
  • Failing to obtain an emergent consult from a physician capable of decompressing Rolanda Hutton’s sciatic nerves

In addition, the nurses at Dallas Day Surgery Center and the Cloister at Park Lane “Luxury Post-Operative Hotel” were negligent for:
  • Failing to notify Dr. Jejurikar immediately of Mrs. Hutton’s lower extremity weakness, numbness, inability to stand, and symptoms of rhabdomyolysis
  • Failing to invoke the chain of command and act as a patient advocate when Dr. Jejurikar did not emergently transfer Mrs. Hutton to an appropriate hospital for relief of compressive and compartment-like syndrome
  • Failing to invoke the chain of command and act as a patient advocate when Dr. Jejurikar did not obtain an emergent consult from a physician capable of decompressing Mrs. Hutton’s sciatic nerves

As a result of her botched Brazilian Butt Lift, Rolanda Hutton has suffered permanent parasthesia and paralysis.

Dallas attorney Les Weisbrod, a nationally-recognized medical malpractice attorney and past president of the American Association for Justice (the world’s largest trial lawyer association), is representing Rolanda Hutton and her husband, Bryan Hutton.

Weisbrod said, “Dr. Jejurikar wrongfully injected too much fat in the deep muscles right above the sciatic nerve not just on one side of her body but on both sides during one procedure which means Mrs. Hutton likely will never walk again for any meaningful distance. Then, knowing that he likely injured her sciatic nerves, he kept her for 48 hours in a so called ‘luxury post-operative hotel’ missing the window of opportunity for decompressive surgery to free up the pressure on the sciatic nerves before the blood supply to the nerves was permanently lost from compression from the injected fat causing her paralysis. He needed to send her emergently to a hospital and a surgeon qualified to decompress her sciatic nerves soon after she woke up from anesthesia.

Weisbrod added, “Rolanda and Bryan Hutton want to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else in Dallas or anywhere in the U.S. They hope that by calling attention to this lawsuit it will serve as a wake-up call to cosmetic surgeons and nursing staffs to care about their patients and pay attention, and not dupe patients into believing “a luxury post-operative hotel” is anything like a hospital where patients need to be when plastic surgery goes wrong.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Parents sue hospital after doctor fails to spot girl’s fatal meningitis


Keller family sues Texas emergency room chain for over $1 million after preschooler’s death

It was just before 10 one August morning in 2016 when Keller resident Brian Steinborn discovered his 4-year-old daughter Olivia in bed, her body cold, skin blue and vomit on her face.

He and his wife, Juli Treadwell, had managed only a few hours of sleep the night before.

At about 2 in the morning, the couple had taken their feverish child to be examined by a doctor at the nearest emergency room — a freestanding facility run by Excel ER, less than 1 mile away from their home. At that time, Olivia was alert and her fever had fallen from its 101-degree peak.

But her heart continued to beat rapidly and her breathing remained abnormal, so clinicians checked her vital signs and ordered labs. She was given fluids and discharged home with a prescription for an antibiotic to treat an ear infection.

But nearly five hours after returning home, they were headed back. Olivia’s condition had worsened. By the time she reached the facility for the second time, she was in full cardiopulmonary arrest.

And it was too late to save her life, claims a medical malpractice lawsuit filed Wednesday in Dallas County court that accuses the company and the doctor on duty that night of negligence.

The lawsuit claims the facility, among other things, failed to properly evaluate Olivia’s condition and improperly discharged her instead of immediately transferring her to a hospital.

An autopsy report from the Tarrant County medical examiner, done on Aug. 8, the day after the incident, found Olivia’s primary cause of death was bacterial meningitis, a brain infection that can turn deadly in a matter of hours.

The emergency doctor failed to detect the serious condition, the lawsuit says.

Olivia Steinborn, 4, died Aug. 7, 2016, after being taken to Excel ER in Keller. Her parents are suing, arguing that her bacterial meningitis was misdiagnosed.

Diagnosis errors are a national problem considered a significant but under-recognized threat to patient safety. Clinicians struggle with the issue industry-wide. In a recent survey, more than half of the respondents who had experienced a medical mistake said the provider said nothing was wrong, when there really was an issue that needed to be addressed.

But the attorneys on this case say the incident goes beyond a typical medical mistake. They say it raises questions about staffing, oversight and experience at Excel ER's freestanding facilities.

The lawsuit accuses the facility of failing to staff “appropriately qualified and experienced physicians” and says the chain of command did not do its role in elevating Olivia’s case when her physician did not.

The doctor who treated Olivia was a medical resident, still in training to become a board-certified emergency medicine specialist, and therefore should have been under supervision of an attending physician, the lawsuit says. Olivia’s parents were never notified of the doctor’s trainee status.

To Dallas-based medical malpractice attorney Les Weisbrod, who is representing the family, the situation constitutes gross negligence that boils down to bad economics.

The ER was too cheap, and looking too much in the way of profits, to pay for a real physician who had finished training,” he said.

The family is seeking over $1 million in damages.

Excel ER and its attorney, Bryan Haynes of Dallas law firm Scheef and Stone, did not respond to requests for comment.

Two experts who reviewed Olivia’s health record and autopsy report at the request of the family's lawyers say the standard of care was not met and the diagnosis was missed.

Olivia’s symptoms upon entering the emergency room would have been “obvious (and frightening) to an emergency physician practicing the standard of care,” wrote Dr. Kenneth Corre, an emergency physician at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, in statement that was filed with the lawsuit.

The experts noted symptoms that should have been clear red flags. They include fever, vomiting and diarrhea within the past 24 hours, and her persistent rapid heart rate and abnormal breathing.

The preschooler was also deaf, prone to ear infections and wore a cochlear implant in her right ear, which put her at increased risk for meningitis, a condition they say should have immediately been ruled out. “Inexplicably, none of this happened,” Corre wrote.

Her blood work also showed a “grossly abnormal white count and platelet count which were indicative of an overwhelming bacterial infection,” wrote Dr. Armando Correa, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston whose statements were also included with the lawsuit.

The clinical care the child received “proximately caused her cardiorespiratory arrest and subsequent demise,” he wrote.

Less clear is whether the staffing of a resident was key to the problem.

“Residents moonlight all the time, and many times it's without supervision,” said Dr. Cedric Dark, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He did not review Olivia’s records and could not comment on her case.

However, he says the issue may be more indicative of the challenges facing emergency medicine, and not exclusively with freestanding emergency facilities.

A freestanding emergency room is a state-licensed facility that is not physically connected to a hospital and provides emergency care around the clock. Some of them are satellite emergency centers affiliated with a larger hospital network.

Others, like Excel ER, are completely independent from a hospital network.

All freestanding facilities should be able to stabilize a patient in an emergency situation, and each is required to establish transfer agreements to send appropriate patients for a higher level of care. But there is no requirement that says an emergency medicine specialist must be be on staff.

“The problem is there is an ER doctor shortage in Texas. We don’t have enough emergency-trained specialists to staff every single shift 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” Dark said.

Any type of physician who has finished at least one year of residency can apply for an independent license to practice and legally work in a Texas emergency room without having to be an emergency medicine specialist.

The issue is that it’s deceptive,” said Weisbrod, who also represented the family of Dallas Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan. Consumers may expect to be treated by a resident at a teaching hospital, but they also expect those trainees to be supervised by an attending physician.

I don’t know anyone that would suspect that if they went to an emergency room that is not a teaching hospital that they would get a resident in training. It’s not a best practice.

The speciality of emergency medicine is relatively new, dating back about 50 years to the late 1960s, according to the Emergency Medicine Residents' Association.

In 2014, the American College of Emergency Physicians recommended that every emergency department be staffed by “appropriately qualified emergency physicians,” but that recommendation has not been widely adopted, experts said.

“That, potentially, is an area where the legislatures can look to improve upon,” Dark said.

Texas’ rules for freestanding facilities require that there be “adequate medical and nursing personnel qualified in emergency care.” That includes at least one physician, someone qualified to initiate lifesaving measures, and at at least one nurse with advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support certification.

Excel ER operates six facilities in Texas. The one where Olivia was treated — on Heritage Trace in Keller — is no longer open. It is unclear whether Dr. Brandon Morshedi, who was in his third year of residency at UT Southwestern the night he treated Olivia, still works with the group.

Morshedi completed his residency program on June 30, the medical center confirmed.

Excel ER's website touts that its facilities have “the experience and skill needed to lead you to a comfortable outlook.” And that if its physicians determine a patient needs a higher level of care, “we can immediately arrange a transfer.”

Excel ER declined to comment on why that did not happen for Olivia, who was sent home with diagnoses that included dehydration, an ear infection and a nonspecific viral syndrome.

Monday, October 16, 2017

MILLER WEISBROD WINS $26,500,000 JURY VERDICT

MILLER WEISBROD WINS $26,500,000 JURY VERDICT IN A CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT CASE

On October 4th 2017, a Dallas County Jury returned a verdict in the case of Fernando Canales vs. RJC Midwest L.P. in the amount of $26,500,000. The verdict included $11,500,000 of actual damages and $15,000,000 in punitive damages in a construction fall case. The case was tried by firm partner Clay Miller and Josh Birmingham who joined the firm on first day of the trial.

Fernando Canales is a Honduran National that worked as a decker in the construction industry. Decking is the placing of plywood on top of the structural framing to form the floor, wall and roof surfaces of a building. Fernando, while always a hard worker, was and is a simple man—he has a 2nd Grade education and is unable to read or write in either his native Spanish or English.

For years, prior to his accident Fernando had been diligent in wearing a harness and tying a safety rope in an effort to protect himself from a multi-story fall. Fernando had never received any training on actually how to properly use the fall protection equipment. Fernando had “learned” how to secure the safety rope by watching others when he first started working in decking. What Fernando did not know was that he was and had been securing the safety rope backwards for years—instead of clipping the lanyard into his harness, Fernando was tying it wood structures on the building and hooking the opposite end to his harness.

On the day of his accident, Fernando was wearing his harness and tied off in the manner he believed was correct. When he slipped instead of having the lanyard “arrest” his fall the rope spooled out and he went to the ground two stories below. The impact of the fall damaged his spinal cord, leaving Fernando a paraplegic.
The General Contractor RJC Midwest Admitted in Deposition Testimony and then again during trial cross examination that it had the responsibility to train not only employees but subcontractors on how to properly use fall protection equipment.




RJC’s corporate representative admitted under cross-examination that it’s on-site safety coordinator ignored RJC’s own safety manual when he failed to carry out this training. Despite these admissions, the Defense Attorney argued vigorously that the fall was 100% Fernando’s fault because he had hooked up the safety rope incorrectly. The jury saw and appreciated that it was not fair to blame the victim when the Defendant had wholly failed in their obligations to train and assigned 100% of the responsibility to RJC.

Deposition of Robert Jordan Jr.


Trial transcript of the cross examination of Robert Jordan Jr.

This is the 2nd 8 figure verdict in the last 60 days for Clay Miller. On August 11, 2017, a jury in Jackson, Tennessee returned a $30,800,000 verdict (including $20,000,000 in punitive damages) against Navistar International arising from a commercial fraud case involving the sale of 18-wheelers.

Miller Weisbrod handles cases involving serious injury and death all across Texas and the United States. We would welcome the opportunity to put our experience and resources to work for you and your clients through a variety of arrangements including referrals or joint ventures.

Miller Weisbrod, LLP is a national law firm specializing in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases. Partners Clay Miller and Les Weisbrod have built the firm’s reputation with successful verdicts, settlements, appeals and favorable decisions across the country. With resources and finances available to take on the powerful interests that have caused harm, the firm is committed to providing quality representation for clients who are seriously injured and families of victims who are killed as a result of the negligence or misconduct of others. Miller Weisbrod has offices in Dallas and affiliate offices in Houston and Austin. For more information call (214) 987-0005 or visit www.millerweisbrod.com