Monday, December 8, 2014

Killed by a petroleum truck when the dual wheel assembly broke

Plaintiffs were successful in settling a general negligence claim against Defendant petroleum transportation company on behalf of the Estate of Plaintiff for $1,500,000. On October 22, 2010, Defendant's petroleum tanker was travelling southbound on the Southfield freeway approaching Outer Drive when a dual wheel assembly broke off the axle, traveled down the freeway, bounced over the median fatally striking Plaintiff roof. During discovery, it was learned that all four axles on the petroleum tanker had been butt welded at the spindles. Butt welding is a process where a flat surface is welded to a flat surface significantly reducing the integrity of the axle. The point at which these axles were welded, the spindle, is the area where the axle holds the most weight. There was no question that the axles were welded inappropriately. Even Defendant’s own expert agreed on that matter. The defense was that the owner of the petroleum trucks did not know that the axles were welded. Plaintiff claimed this to be a violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations where it specifically states that the motor carrier had a duty to insure the safety of the trailer by inspecting, repairing and maintaining or causing to systematically inspect, repair and maintain all the parts including the axles. FMCSR §3.96.3. The case settled approximately one week before trial. Submitted by: Plaintiff’s attorneys David W. Christensen and Mary Pat Rosen; 5510 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202; telephone 313-875-8080; facsimile 313-875-9857; E-mail:

OB/GYN failed to do a c-section on time

Non-Disclosure Co-Next Friends of Plaintiff-Minor vs Defendant Hospital, OB/GYN M.D. and NNP Settlement: Case settled at facilitation for $1.25 Million Dollars Facts: This is a claim of medical negligence in the management of the delivery of Plaintiff-Minor at Defendant-Hospital by Defendant OB/GYN M.D. and also in the management of Plaintiff-Minor’s post-natal care by Defendant NNP. This is a case adding insult to injury; first, for failing to detect progressively worsening fetal heart tones and to timely deliver this child by C-section; and, second, in failing to recognize and appreciate seizure activity with significant apnea for the first 3-1/2 hours of this child’s life. As a result, Plaintiff-Minor was diagnosed with significant global hypoxic ischemia. Mother of Plaintiff-Minor was known to Defendant OB/GYN M.D. with a significant gynecological history which included a procedure that left scarring on her cervix. At 6:00 a.m. the day before delivery, there was spontaneous rupture of the membranes and noted to be green in color. Plaintiff-Minor’s mother presented to Defendant-Hospital at approximately 7:30 a.m. The first admitting nurse was unable to locate the cervix and noted moderate amounts of meconium stained fluid. A second nurse performed a vaginal exam and noted anterior lip 100 per cent effaced and a -1 station. Defendant OB/GYN M.D. was informed at approximately 7:45 a.m. The records indicate that Defendant OB/GYN M.D. performed a vaginal exam at approximately 10:30 a.m. which showed no anterior lip or no effacement as the scar was keeping the cervix closed. Defendant OB/GYN M.D. discussed with Plaintiff-Minor’s mother her options based on the presence of the scar: (1) to attempt to tease the scar open with her fingers and (2) a Cesarean section if that did not work. Plaintiff-Minor’s mother was hooked up an external fetal monitor which persistently showed decelerations from approximately 8:17 a.m. until 10:59 a.m. with periods of loss of pattern erratic heartbeat and late decelerations. Plaintiff-Minor was born by C-section at 11:33 a.m. with a weak cry, blue extremities, decreased reflexes and decreased tone. Despite his presentation, Plaintiff-Minor was given apgar scores of 6, 7 and 8. However, even Defendants’ nurse expert agreed that his first apgar score should have been a 4 and his subsequent apgar scores may have been 7 and 8, however, that was with resuscitation. Plaintiff-Minor required bulb and intubation, suction, tactile stimulation and blow-by oxygen. He was also given Narcan for nasal flaring, a sign of respiratory distress, all within the first eight minutes of life. At approximately 1:30 p.m., two hours after birth, Plaintiff-Minor’s blood glucose was drawn and determined to be 32. He was fed and a repeat blood sugar at approximately 2:00 p.m. was 31. At approximately 2:10 p.m., Plaintiff-Minor’s respiratory rate decreased to 36 and his 02 saturation was noted to be 60 to 70 per cent and he was dusky. Between 2:16 p.m. and 5:44 p.m., Plaintiff-Minor was noted to have 11 apneic, bradycardic and/or desaturation events. Each required stimulation for recovery and/or stimulation with bagging. One of the attending nurses testified that if Plaintiff-Minor was not being stimulated by a medical procedure, i.e., IV starts and/or lab draws, he required stimulation to continue to breathe from approximately 2:00 p.m., until he was transferred at approximately 6:00 p.m. At the transferring hospital, an MRI was performed after 24 hours of age reported significant supratentorial bilateral defusion abnormalities consistent with global hypoxic ischemic injury. At the time of settlement, Plaintiff-Minor was totally dependent. He did not walk, did not sit, had no head control, had no extremity control, was tube fed, there was no cognitive recognition and continued to have multiple seizures a day, even on medication and cortical vision impairment. Plaintiffs relied on the expertise of an OB/GYN physician, a neonate nurse practitioner, a neurologist, a neonatologist, a vocational rehabilitationist, a life-care planner and an economist. Plaintiffs’ OB/GYN physician’s opinion was that based on the fetal monitor strips, this should have been an emergency Cesarean section and should have been performed at 9:45 a.m. It is the opinion of Plaintiffs’ neonate nurse practitioner that this infant needed a blood sugar check within a half an hour of delivery and also required earlier intervention, given the repetitive episodes of apnea and desats, including intubation and Phenobarbital. The Defendants set forth a defense that the fetal monitoring strips did not reveal signs and symptoms of fetal distress. Their main defense was that the cord blood gas, which reported out as pH of 7.24, a PC02 of 60, a P02 of less than 5, a bicarb of 26, an 02 saturation unable to calculate due to the decreased P02 level and a base excess of -2 indicated that the child did not have metabolic acidosis and, therefore, the care was appropriate and the damages occurred prior well before delivery. The settlement was reached through the assistance of a facilitator with a non-disclosure agreement. Mary Pat Rosen 313-875-8080

86 yr old woman dies because her doctor did not listen to her complaints and refer her to a specialist. $325,000.00 SETTLEMENT

This medical malpractice against Defendant-Hospital and physicians for the failure of the medical practitioners and nursing staff to recognize signs and symptoms consistent with lower extremity, vascular blockage. As a result of the delay in diagnosis, the lower extremity was amputated, complications ensued and the patient died. Plaintiff’s Decedent was 86 years of age at the time, living independently and was living a very active lifestyle. Actually, at the time, she had recently been employed as a caregiver up until the time that her client had passed away. The patient presented to the hospital with complaints of pain and coolness in her lower extremity. The physician assessment revealed left-sided weakness, was alert with lower extremity as “not normal.” The working diagnosis was fatigue and weakness. A second nursing assessment approximately 15 minutes later, indicated complaint of pain and numbness in the lower extremity. The family expressed concern that the left lower extremity was colder than the other and had severe pain which she had never had before. The emergency physician ordered a work up for a new onset atrial fibrillation, head CT was performed which was normal, echo was performed which was normal and carotid Doppler was normal. She was admitted to the family practice service on a 23-hour hold with a diagnosis of fatigue and weakness with no mention of concerns regarding lower extremity. The patient was transferred to a medical floor and attended to by the family practice service. On admission, the patient’s lower extremity was cool to touch with faint pedal pulses and weak plantar flexion. The patient continued to complain of bilateral lower extremity pain, decreased strength and coolness. On discharge, the physician notes indicate the patient had no other complaints other than cold lower left extremity, and she was to follow up with her primary care physician. However, the following day, the patient’s lower extremity appeared blackish in color from the knee down and they took her immediately to another hospital, where she arrived in the emergency department with a cold and pulseless lower extremity. It was determined that she had arterial thromboembolus, She was taken to surgery for a thromboembolectomy and aortogram, angiogram and four-compartment fasciotomy of that extremity. During surgery, there was a clot noted within the femoral artery. A clot was also found in the profundus femoral artery and a significant thrombus was brought up with approximately five passes down the SFA. A secondary thrombus appeared to be at length that encompassed the whole femoral popliteal segment. Flow was restored to the lower extremity. Unfortunately, the lower extremity did not recover due to the profound time of the ischemic insult and major limb amputation was recommended. Surgery of the left leg above-the-knee amputation was performed. The discharge summary revealed that the patient tolerated the first surgical procedure well. However, continuous neurovascular checks noted significant mottling without any pulses in the patient’s distal leg leading to the above-the-knee amputation. While in the hospital, kidney function started to decline. She developed acute tubular necrosis of her kidneys and required dialysis. At that point, she had acute decompensation and acute myocardial infarction, which required ACLS with medications and cardioversion. The patient then went into multi-system organ failure. She was intubated, comfort measures were instituted and the patient died on the 10th day after the initial presentation to Defendant-Hospital. The Death Certificate reveals that she died from multi-system organ failure, cardiac arrest, lower extremity, arterial embolus and limb ischemia. Plaintiff relied on physicians in the specialties of emergency medicine, family practice and vascular surgery. It is the opinion of the vascular surgeon that had the patient been referred for specialty consultation with a vascular surgeon within the appropriate time, the vascular surgeon would have appreciated the symptoms in which the patient complained. She would have been taken to emergency surgery and, more likely than not, the leg would have been salvaged, as well as her life would have been saved. Submitted by: Plaintiffs’ attorneys, David W. Christensen, Mary Pat Rosen and Sandra J. Renard; 5510 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48202, telephone 313-875-8080, facsimile 313-875-9857; E-mail address: Defense attorney withheld. Non-Disclosure in effect. MA

Slip and fell on chicken grease (from rotisserie chicken) spilled on floor at grocery store. AMOUNT $885,000

Attorneys J. Douglas Peters and Ann Mandt settled this slip & fall case on behalf of Jane Doe who suffered a closed head and cervical disc injury as a result of a slip & fall on chicken grease in an area grocery store. The key to achieving the settlement reached in this slip & fall case was finding a product liability component that was used to overcome the horrendous slip & fall laws existing in Michigan. The Plaintiff, a 57 yr old white female, walked toward the checkout line at a local chain grocery store. An earlier customer had fumbled with a rotisserie chicken package, apparently spilling chicken grease on the floor. 72 seconds later, Plaintiff walked by, slipped and fell, hitting her head on the cement floor. A security video tape proved to be a double-edged sword. The video tape established that an earlier customer had fumbled with a packaged rotisserie chicken prior to setting it on the checkout counter. Nothing in the video showed that that customer was aware of the spill (he didn't look down & he didn't wipe his hands on his pants or a cloth - this customer was 84 years old and was not sued). The timer on the video tape showed that only 72 seconds elapsed between the time of the probable spill and plaintiff's slip & fall. This video evidence was helpful. Unhelpful was the video evidence that Plaintiff did not suffer a period of obvious unconsciousness. Indeed, the ambulance service medical record quoted the victim's mother as stating that the victim "did not lose consciousness". Plaintiff's Complaint asserted claims against the grocery store and the manufacturer of the plastic packaging used to contain the hot rotisserie chicken. Requests for Production of Documents established that the grocery store's chain, which was national in scope, had recorded approximately 30 chicken grease spills across the country during the prior year. How those spills occurred was not recorded on the accident report forms. A survey of the marketplace established that most rotisserie chicken sellers used one of four packaging systems. The Defendant's was a simple black tray and plastic dome. Other markets placed the black tray and plastic dome in a plastic bag sealed with a twisty. Another packaging option involved wrapping the black tray and plastic dome with a cardboard sleeve with a cardboard handle to ensure that the rotisserie chicken was kept upright and to prevent the top from popping off. The fourth option, the one employed by the Kroger chain, used a heat resistant zip-lock bag made by the Robi Corporation which was probably the safest packaging option. As a result of the slip & fall, Plaintiff underwent cervical surgery for a protruding disc which was 100% successful. Plaintiff was unable to return to work, however, due to the significant psychological and physiological impacts of her closed-head injury. Plaintiff's psychiatrist and neuropsychologist deemed Plaintiff to be permanently disabled. Defendants' psychiatrist and neuropsychologist from the University of Michigan denied that Plaintiff had sustained a closed head injury, opined that she was malingering, and both agreed she was not disabled from gainful employment. Prior to the slip & fall, the 57 year-old white female, trained as a nurse, was making approximately $85,000 per year with bonuses that varied from year-to-year. Because of Michigan's unfavorable slip & fall laws, Plaintiff's counsel focused on the product liability component of the case. The manufacturer of the product, in response to discovery requests, reported no prior incidents in the history of their product. The product manufacturer claimed that in all probability the grocery store employee in the Deli section had not properly affixed the dome to the tray, or, that the mishandling of the product by the customer who purchased the rotisserie chicken was the most probable reason the top dome and tray separated. It was apparent from the video tape that the checkout clerk at the grocery store fumbled with the top while trying to re-affix it to the tray. Plaintiff claimed that this "fumbling" by the checkout clerk should have put the grocery store on notice that the integrity of the rotisserie chicken packaging had been breached. Several additional factors complicated the Plaintiff's case. The Plaintiff herself was an attractive woman who had a bit of a short fuse which a jury might not appreciate. Defendants made much of the Plaintiff's wealthy background and the fact that she had sustained a prior slip & fall on ice while she worked as an employee at the University of Michigan. Family issues and dynamics between the Plaintiff, her husband, and her mother, who also lived with them, complicated the case. The settlement was reached through facilitation and included a non-disclosure agreement. J. Douglas Peters, Ann K. Mandt. E mail address:


On or about February 16, 2011, Freddie Young was a winner of the Michigan Lottery with his share equaling approximately $2,160,051.00. On or about May 7, 2011, Greg McNicol, now deceased, was the owner and landlord of an apartment at which Defendant Freddie Young’s daughter was living. Mr. McNicol brought to her attention the fact that she was behind in her rent and was the subject of complaints by other residents about loud and disorderly parties taking place in her apartment. In response to the complaints, Ms. Young called her father, Freddie Young. Mr. Young arrived at the apartment building, brandished a Magnum 44 at McNicol, shot and killed him. A few days after the murder, Freddie Young was arrested and at the time of his arrest, had in his possession a large sum of money, which on information and belief, consisted of lottery winnings from the previously held lottery drawing. Said possessions were seized and held by the Detroit Police Department. On June 7, 2011, Plaintiff’s Estate filed with the court an ex parte motion for a temporary restraining order asking the court to enter a temporary order prohibiting Freddie Young from transferring, dissipating or otherwise squandering his current assets, including the lottery winnings, pending resolution of the wrongful death claim. On June 7, 2011, Plaintiff’s Estate entered a temporary restraining order prohibiting Freddie Young from transferring, dissipating or otherwise squandering his current assets, pending resolution of the claim. A motion was filed before the court for a temporary restraining order which was entered by the court on June 28, 2011. A temporary restraining order was revisited before the court and is still in effect pending resolution of the judgment entered against Freddie Young. On February 7, 2012, Judge Ryan heard Proofs and Summary Judgment on liability was entered. On March 6, 2012, Judge Ryan appointed a receiver to preserve the assets under the TRO. (Freddie Young was convicted of second degree murder in July 2012). On October 12, 2012, a damage trial was held before the Honorable Dan Ryan at which time the Estate of Greg McNicol was awarded $4.75 million dollars in damages. Judgment was entered on October 23, 2012. Submitted by: David W. Christensen, Mary Pat Rosen, Sandra J. Renard; 5510 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202; 313-875-8080;

Breast Implant Update.Judge Hood's decision in Dec 2013

Pursuant to federal Judge Hood’s decision in December of 2013, breast implant clients have begun receiving checks. Some checks are a Premium Payment based on the original disease payment schedule. These payments are being paid in the same order as the original payments were made. Some of our clients have already begun receiving checks, others are still waiting. These checks are approximately 10% of the original disease payment. From these checks we are subtracting a 25% attorney’s fee and approximately $130.00 in costs which have accrued since the original disease payments made years ago. The second payments our rupture clients are beginning to receive are additional rupture payments. These are being made to women who have previously received rupture payments, and these payments tend to be approximately one thousand dollars. Some of you have already received notices of payment in the form of a letter that comes from the Dow Corning Settlement Fund. Within 3 to 4 weeks after you receive that letter we receive the check, cash it and send you your portion. Approximately half of our clients have not yet received their letters, let alone their checks. Finally, under the terms of the Dow Corning Settlement Trust any residual monies in the fund have to be distributed no later than December 30, 2016. Accordingly, we expect there will be a final payment before that date for each of our clients. If you have any questions please feel free to call attorney Doug Peters at (800) 247-5974.

Hip Implant Settlement 2014

Hip implants manufactured by The Stryker Corporation, a hip implant manufacturer, created a settlement fund of $1.4 billion dollars. Michigan residents with Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants often develop persistent hip pain due to fluid buildup around the joint, experience damage to hip muscles, and have blood tests that were characterized by the presence of heavy metal ions. Most orthopedic surgeons have advised the removal and replacement of these devices. The settlement provides awards of three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000.00) for each failed hip implant, and additional monies if injuries were sustained during the surgical removal and replacement. Patients who had their defective implants removed and replaced before November 3, 2014, or patients who are too ill to undergo revision surgery are entitled to make claims against the settlement funds. Charfoos and Christensen is representing patients injured by these Stryker implants. If you or a family member has suffered from one of these implants and would like to learn more about making a claim, please call attorney Doug Peters at 313-875-8080 or 800-247-8974 for a free consultation.

Steroid Litigation Update, August 2014

No clients of any lawyers injured by the steroid injections contaminated with fungus have received any settlements to date. It appears that there will be two sources of funds for the clients of Charfoos & Christensen. First, all of the Boston defendants (New England Compounding, Ameridose, etc.) through the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Boston, have offered insurance proceeds totaling approximately One Hundred and Ten million dollars ($110,000,000.00). It is likely that the bankruptcy court will approve this component of the settlement. If it does, all of the Boston area defendants will be released from the litigation nationally. How much each individual client receives will depend on an injury matrix that looks at factors including death; a diagnosis of fungal meningitis with abscess, and without abscess; unconfirmed spinal meningitis but suspected meningitis; and recipients of injections of steroids from contaminated lots without diagnosis. Other factors will include lengths of stay in the hospital and the age of the patient. A second pot of money may be available to Michigan victims. The insurers of the Michigan Pain Clinic in Brighton and its satellites, and the doctors of the Michigan Pain Clinic have offered a total settlement for all Michigan claims in the amount of $10.5 million dollars. For such a settlement to work 100% of the Michigan victims would have to agree to accept the terms of the settlement. It appears that the total amount of all insurance from all sources from the Michigan defendants total $15 million dollars. The $4.5 million dollar differential between the $15 million and the $10.5 million dollar offer is related to the fact that the defendants do have legal defenses after the expenditures of lots of costs and experiencing the vagaries of trial before a jury, appear to be the variables that cause the insurance companies to expect a $4.5 million dollar discount. We are a long way from the goal line. Complicating the problem is the fact that third party payers (health insurers such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Blue Cross Blue Shield, etc.) have expended tens of millions of dollars on health care that they want reimbursed from the plaintiffs’ recovery pools. Negotiations are going on at the national level to see if these third party payers will waive, reduce or accept a flat percentage from each recovery, to relinquish their liens and allow the settlements to go forward. Although none of the above statements are compatible with “Fair Compensation” for the injuries the victims have sustained, this may be all there is. We will keep you advised of all developments as they occur. If you have any questions please feel free to call attorney Doug Peters at (800) 247-5974.