Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice
Unlike most general practice firms, we represent many individuals with personal injury claims arising from accidents, defective products, medical malpractice, and other causes.
Unlike many other firms that handle personal injury cases, we do not rely on routine processing of a large volume of cases. Instead, we treat each personal injury matter with the same emphasis on thorough preparation, personal involvement of senior attorneys, and commitment of resources that we try to bring to all cases in our practice. Many of our clients are referred to us by other attorneys, who know that we are the attorneys within the profession who will achieve the best possible results for clients they refer to us.
Delayed Diagnosis of Breast Cancer
Two recent cases involved two instances of delayed diagnosis of breast cancer from which the women ultimately died. Both cases settled for significant amounts after the women’s deaths. In one case, the delay occurred because the defendant negligently failed to compare the plaintiff’s prior year’s mammogram with her current mammogram, thereby missing a significant change. In the second case, the women’s primary care physician failed to have the patient undergo annual mammograms, despite the fact that the woman had strong history of breast cancer in her family.
Delayed Diagnosis of Lung Cancer
The plaintiff, a 70 year-old former smoker, saw her primary care physician for a persistent cough. The doctor diagnosed pneumonia, prescribed an antibiotic and sent the plaintiff home. At the insistence of the plaintiff’s niece, who is a pediatrician, the plaintiff returned and requested a chest x-ray. The radiologist’s report of that x-ray revealed a suspicious mass and recommended a repeat chest x-ray and CT scan. The plaintiff was never informed of the results of the chest x-ray. When the plaintiff returned several months later with the same symptoms as earlier, a repeat chest x-ray and subsequent CT scan revealed advanced lung cancer. After establishing that the doctor had altered her records, the case settled prior to trial.
The plaintiff suffered severe emotional and physical damages as a result of the unnecessary and unwanted Cesarean section delivery of her fourth child. After a lengthy trial, the jury awarded a substantial verdict to the plaintiff and her family.
The 17-year-old plaintiff severely injured his leg in a moped accident while on a school trip. His subsequent treatment for these injuries and resulting infection led to a below-the-knee amputation. During jury deliberations, the defendant’s insurance company agreed to pay a substantial settlement to the plaintiff.
Rehabilitation Facility Malpractice
The elderly plaintiff, a distinguished writer, was transferred to a rehabilitation facility within a hospital to recuperate after surgery. When “sitters” assigned to her were either relieved or inattentive, the plaintiff got up from bed, wandered and suffered two falls. After the second fall, her health deteriorated swiftly and she subsequently died. The facility settled for a confidential amount after discovery.
The elderly plaintiff, who had resided at a nursing home facility for several years, suffered a broken leg when a nurse’s aide failed to use prescribed equipment to transfer the plaintiff from her bed. The elderly plaintiff broke her leg. The aide then put the patient back in bed and the patient did not receive any treatment until the next morning, when she was sent to a hospital. The case settled before suit was filed and resulted in a substantial financial settlement and the termination of the nurse’s aide.
Psychiatric and Social Worker Malpractice
When John and Jane Doe were four and two years old, their father died suddenly and their mother, Mary Doe, began to experience serious mental health issues. Over the course of the next several years, Mary Doe was hospitalized numerous times and treated with an outpatient psychiatrist, social worker and family social worker. Over that same time period, she was horrifically physically, emotionally and sexually abusing John and Jane. The health care professionals involved never took steps to protect the children, or have them removed from her care. The case resulted in significant settlements prior to trial against the family social worker and psychiatrist and a $7.5 million judgment after trial in state court against the mother’s social worker.
Noteworthy/Representative Cases: Civil Rights-Abuse and Neglect of Students and Adults with Disabilities
Abuse and Neglect of Students and Adults with Disabilities
- Widespread reform arose from the lawsuit we brought on behalf of six students who attended the Mission Hill School, a K-8 pilot school within the Boston Public School (“BPS”) system. These six early-primary-school-aged students were the victims of sexual and physical assaults by a peer over the course of two years and were educated in a toxic environment. The abuse began in October 2014 and continued until the perpetrator was finally transferred to another school. The amazing parents of our clients had tried unsuccessfully, in every way they could think of, to have their and other children protected, as well as to get the perpetrator the help he needed. The school administration was dismissive of these and other families and hostile to staff who raised concerns. BPS had let the Mission Hill School operate with shockingly little oversight. We filed suit in 2017 on behalf of two students and had four other students join the suit afterwards. After four years of hard-fought litigation and two mediations with a federal magistrate judge, BPS agreed to pay the families a combined $650,000 in August 2021. This settlement, the largest the City of Boston had paid in a decade, drew significant attention. Certain administrators at the Mission Hill School were dismissed and within weeks of the settlement, the BPS superintendent retained a law firm to conduct an extensive investigation into the Mission Hill School. That investigation resulted in a recently released 189-page report, which gave a scathing assessment of the failures of the administration at the school – relating not only to the particulars of our lawsuit, but the culture of pervasive bullying and sexual misconduct, and the systemic failure to meet the needs of the students there. As a result, the Mission Hill School has been closed.
- This case arises out of the abuse and mistreatment of fifteen students with special needs in a program within the Holyoke Public Schools. The students, who were in grades four through eight, all had pre-existing emotional disabilities including anxiety and trauma-related disorders. The defendants included the municipal entities and various school employees. The students were subjected to unnecessary, abusive, harmful and otherwise improper restraints and seclusions. Students were struck, thrown to the floor, and pinned against walls and subjected to humiliating and dangerous “prone” restraints, where they were pinned face-down on the floor. There were numerous instances of staff egging students on or provoking physical interactions to create pretexts for the restraints. In contravention of restraint fundamentals, staff repeatedly failed to take adequate steps to deescalate situations and avoid the necessity of restraints. Restraints and seclusions were routinely used as punishments for being disruptive, disobedient or disrespectful. These included instances where students refused to change into a uniform or for throwing things. All of the students suffered psychological harm as a result of the restraints administered to them, from living in fear of additional restraints, and witnessing the restraint of other students and being educated in an environment that had a culture of violence at the school because of multiple instances of improper restraint. The case was founded upon the disclosures by a courageous and dedicated whistleblower and investigations by the Disability Law Center and the Massachusetts Department of Early and Secondary Education. The multi-party suit included counts for tort and violations of federal and Massachusetts civil rights statutes. The parties participated in a multi-day mediation, followed by several additional months of negotiating before settling the case for $950,000 to be apportioned among the families.
- We represented seventeen plaintiffs in this matter who had varying significant disabilities, including mental illness, cognitive impairments, autism, and social emotional impairments with associated behavioral manifestations. Several had trauma backgrounds. These men attended a 24/7 residential program for varying lengths of time from a few months to several years. Their claims arose from their mistreatment there, relating mainly to the improper and excessive use of restraints. Pursuant to various regulations as well as the accepted standard of care, restraints were only to be administered when there was an imminent risk of injury to the resident or others. Proper restraint training and protocols focus on avoiding restraints and deescalating situations before a restraint becomes necessary. In addition, restraints are to be administered in certain ways, avoiding things such as prone restraints. In this residential program, restraints were used as punishments and intimidations and to exert control over the residents. Sometimes residents were goaded into being aggressive, to justify the application of a restraints. Residents were, on occasion, enlisted to assist in restraining other residents. Some of the restraints resulted in physical injuries that ranged from broken bones and cuts requiring stitching, to scrapes and bruises. The most significant damages from experiencing as well as witnessing these restraints were emotional. Some residents continue to suffer the effects of the abuse, including post traumatic stress disorder, long after leaving the program. Liability in the case was supported by investigations by several government agencies, testimony from the plaintiffs, statements from employees as well as some surveillance videotape. After a multi-day mediation, the matter settled for ($4 million) that was apportioned among the plaintiffs by the mediator.
- Three children with significant disabilities were abused by their teacher over the course of several years. A new classroom aide produced a written diary of this abuse, leading to the firing and ultimate criminal prosecution of the teacher. Civil suit was brought against various school administrators and entities for failing to properly respond to earlier reports of abuse by the teacher. After two weeks of trial, the case settled for $1.5 million.
- Two children with autism were repeatedly restrained as part of a purported “behavior modification” plan. The plan including “floor restraints” where the students were pinned face down on the floor for uncooperative behavior. Both matters settled after suit was filed in federal district court.
- Children with autism spectrum disorders were placed with an inexperienced and unqualified teacher who reluctantly took over the children’s classroom. The teacher pushed, dragged and otherwise manhandled one student, resulting in physical injuries to him as well as emotional trauma to him and his classmates. The case settled during administrative proceedings prior to filing suit in state or federal court.
- A young child was severely burned in a house fire that was caused when a heating appliance ignited a couch. The case settled for a confidential amount after extensive discovery revealed that the appliance was not equipped with adequate safety devices and had not been properly inspected during a service call shortly before the fire.
- A toddler was badly scalded when he climbed into the bathroom sink and turned on the hot water. The family’s heating company had shortly beforehand raised the temperature of the hot water above the level proscribed by the state sanitary code. The toddler has undergone extensive medical treatments, including skin grafts, that will continue until adulthood. The heating company settled the matter at mediation.
- During the remodeling of a condominium building, an elderly resident tripped and fell on a tarp used by painters near the basement parking facility. The painter and management company settled the matter as trial was scheduled to begin.
- A resident of an elderly apartment complex fell after being struck by a closing elevator door. She broke her hip and was thereafter unable to live independently. The investigation revealed that the electric eye in the elevator had malfunctioned, causing the door to close immediately after opened, thereby not according sufficient time to safely exit the elevator. The management company and elevator service company settled after suit was filed.
- The plaintiffs, a mother and her five children, lost their husband and father, who was the belted front seat passenger in a minivan. The minivan went out of control during a lane change and left the road, rolling over four or five times. The suit alleged that the minivan was unstable and was not crashworthy, in that its roof structure failed to provide adequate protection to its passengers in the event of a rollover. The case settled for a confidential amount on the eve of trial.
- The plaintiff, a 20-year-old college student, suffered severe head injuries when the vehicle he was riding in was hit by another car. The suit alleged that the vehicle was not crashworthy in that its interior surfaces and rollbar were not protected with appropriate energy-absorbing padding. The case against the driver and the manufacturer of the vehicle were settled for a confidential amount after extensive discovery.
- A pedestrian, who was six months pregnant, was struck in the crosswalk by an airport shuttle van. Although her baby was unharmed, the pedestrian suffered a significant leg injury which left her with some permanent impairment. The matter settled prior to trial
- An elderly driver made a left turn into the path of an oncoming bicyclist. Although the bicyclist’s injuries did not initially seem significant, she later developed hip and neck problems that appeared related to the accident. Suit was filed and the matter settled for a significant amount in excess of the automobile insurance policy limits.