At trial, Keith was extremely well prepared and presented a persuasive account of the facts with integrity and emotion.
The opposing lawyer often looked embarrassed when Keith's far greater preparation was obvious to the jury.
- Medical Malpractice
- Product Liability
- Premises Liability
- Insurance Disputes
- Vehicle Accidents
- Commercial Disputes
- Employment/Civil Rights
- Criminal Defense
Misdiagnosis of Bowel Obstruction - $2,820,000 Verdict & Settlement
A recent college grad with Crohn's Disease went to MetroWest Hospital's ER, complaining of excruciating stomach pain. The internist responsible for his care diagnosed a non-emergency partial bowel obstruction related to Crohn's. He prescribed medication to reduce inflammation. As he waited for the medication to work, my client's condition deteriorated. He developed a grapefruit size mass in his belly, increasing pain, abdominal rigidity and dehydration - all signs of a complete obstruction requiring surgery. The Dr. went home, without arranging for a surgical consult or an MRI, even though he suspected the presence of a complete obstruction. By morning, my client was suffering from kidney failure and was in shock. He was transferred to Beth Israel for emergency surgery and lost two feet of bowel that had become necrotic from loss of blood. As a result, he is at high risk of becoming unable to digest food, requiring him to go on IV nutrition or undergo a bowel transplant.
After a two-week trial, the jury returned a verdict totaling $2.8 million, and the case was soon settled for the full amount.
Tardive Dyskinesia - $750,000 Settlement for Neurological Disorder
A 45 year-old man became depressed after being diagnosed with kidney disease. His doctor improperly prescribed Trilafon, an anti-psychotic medication, over a period of 15 years. The man began to have difficulty walking, involuntarily bending forward. He was diagnosed with tardive dyskinesia, a disorder characterized by involuntary twisting of the torso, arms and hands, and a variety of facial movements and tics. As early as 1975 certain anti-psychotic medications had been causally linked to the development of this permanent disorder.
Post-Surgery Infection - $500,000 settlement for nerve damage
A semi-retired MIT professor underwent spinal surgery at Mass General Hospital and was discharged to an inpatient infirmary at MIT for three days. While at MIT, he developed signs of a surgical infection, including increasing drainage from the surgical wound. He also had a skin rash extending out from the wound. His doctor at MIT diagnosed the rash, but failed to consider the possibility that he also had an infection and failed to perform any tests, such as a MRI, to assess the possibility of an infection. After discharge from MIT, visiting nurses became concerned that while the rash was improving, the drainage was getting worse. They contacted the surgeon, who had him readmitted to MGH, where an infection was diagnosed. By that time, the infection had caused nerve damage, resulting in loss of function and feeling in one leg
At trial, I was able to use medical records to argue that the opinions of the defendant's expert witness were baseless. Prior to trial, the Dr's insurer made no settlement offer. A $500,000 settlement was reached after the jury had been deliberating for two days.
Ambulance Errors - $500,000 Policy Limit Settlement for Brain Damage
A 4 year-old boy was transported by ambulance upon suffering a seizure. The ambulance lacked appropriate equipment and failed to go to the nearest hospital. An EMT used the wrong type of airway tube, causing the boy to vomit, and then failed to clear the airway. The boy suffered oxygen deprivation resulting in impairment of his motor, speech and cognitive abilities.
Failure to Diagnose Benign Brain Tumor - $375,000 Settlement for 5 Years of Headaches
A young woman began to suffer severe headaches, particularly at night. After sleeping for a few hours, she would wake up in pain. She became so anxious about waking up in pain that she often was unable to sleep at all. Her PCP referred her for a brain MRI. The radiologist read the film as normal. She continued to suffer for 5 years, until another MRI with a different radiologist revealed a benign brain tumor. The new radiologist looked at the old films, and there it was. The tumor was removed; the headaches went away.
Improper Prescriptions - $375,000 Settlement for Narcotic Addiction
A 27 year-old man suffered a back strain in a workplace accident. His primary care doctor prescribed Percocet continuously for four years. The doctor failed to conduct proper tests and did not refer the man to a specialist. The man became an addict, and eventually a heroin user, from which he contracted Hepatitis C. At the time of the settlement he was in Methadone treatment.
Pathologist Fails to Diagnose Cancer - $310,000 Settlement for Increased Risk
A middle-aged woman had surgery to remove a lump in her throat. A pathologist found no cancer. Several years later, she had a tonsillectomy and pathology results revealed cancer. I had an expert review the old slides. The cancer was present and should have been diagnosed. The delay increased the risk that my client would not respond to treatment. The case settled seven years after the missed diagnosis. Luckily, my client is still doing well.
Surgical Error - $250,000 Settlement for Elbow Disability
A 65 year-old woman had surgery to repair a broken elbow. The surgeon's improper placement of screws left her with weakness and limited range of motion.
Orthodontia - $225,000 Settlement for Faulty Braces
An orthodontist put braces on a young woman, failing to recognize that her teeth had abnormally short roots. At the time of settlement, as a result of the braces weakening the roots, it was anticipated that she would lose a number of teeth.
Dental Implants - $162,500 Settlement for Nerve Damage
A 45 year-old man developed numbness in his lower lip and chin following the placement of two dental implants. X-rays indicated that there was an unusually narrow bone mass available for the implants, which should have alerted the dentist to the risk that an implant screw could go through the bone into the alveolar nerve canal. This should have prompted the taking of a CAT scan, which would have made it apparent that the implant screws were too long for the available bone.
Improper Prescriptions - $150,000 Settlement for Narcotic Addiction
Following a car accident, a young woman began suffering chronic headaches. For several years her doctor prescribed painkillers, primarily Darvon. Treatment and efforts to diagnose the cause of the headaches, including the role the narcotics played in causing "rebound" headaches, were inadequate. Evidence of addiction was ignored. The woman's addiction led to the loss of employment. When the doctor became the target of a D.E.A. investigation, he terminated treatment without referring the woman for help. She spent all of her savings on drugs and was jailed for trying to pass phony prescriptions.
Wrongful Steroid Prescriptions - $125,000 Settlement for Hip Replacement
A middle-aged man required a hip replacement after being prescribed Prednisone for flu symptoms. The modest settlement was achieved despite the absence of medical literature associating bone damage with the amount of steroids prescribed.
Inadequate Suicide Precautions - $125,000 Settlement for Fractured Wrists
A 33 year-old man was committed to a state psychiatric hospital with severe depression and suicidal thoughts. When allowed to go out on hospital grounds alone, he became severely agitated, and later told staff that he had wanted to kill himself. The man's primary psychiatrist testified that nurses failed to report this episode to him. When he was again permitted to go outside alone the next day, he climbed a ladder to the top of a two story building and jumped, fracturing both wrists.
Excessive Steroid Prescriptions - $100,000 Settlement for Wrongful Death
A 78 year-old woman was prescribed excessive amounts of Prednisone to treat emphysema. She developed a colon leak that led to an infection and to her death. The settlement was achieved despite an autopsy report that revealed a number of other life-threatening conditions.
Botched Circumcision - $60,000 Award for Child
An Ob-Gyn removed too much skin in performing a circumcision. The infant had to undergo two repair procedures. Luckily, there was no permanent abnormality or injury.
Dangerously Designed Hotplate- $900,000 Verdict/Settlement for Memory Impairment
A graduate student in Chemistry was conducting an experiment with an electrical hotplate when an explosion occurred. He suffered minor burns. More significantly, he was exposed to toxic tin fumes which impaired his short-term memory. The hotplate was defectively designed in that fumes were drawn into the body of the hotplate by a fan and then exposed to a sparking mechanism that controlled the thermostat. The university, accused of negligent supervision, settled during trial. The jury returned a liability verdict against the hotplate manufacturer. The manufacturer then settled prior to the damages phase.
SUV Rollover - $900,000 Settlement (present value) for Partial Paraplegia/Brain Damage
After driving several hours late at night in the rain, an 18 year-old in an SUV went off the side of the road and rolled over. There were no witnesses and he retained no memory of the accident. He suffered partial paraplegia, necessitating a wheelchair, and also suffered brain damage which impaired his ability to talk. Accident reconstruction experts concluded that the vehicle went off the road at a point where there was no curb, and then rolled over when the left tires struck a curb as the vehicle proceeded off the highway. Experts were used to establish that the vehicle's defective design made it prone to rollover and uncrashworthy. A structured settlement of approximately $1.6 million over twenty years was achieved.
Faulty Power Line - $490,000 Settlement for Burns
A utility lineman suffered burns in an explosion. Expert accident reconstruction focused on a component part that was shattered in the explosion. The settlement was achieved despite the lineman's failure to follow various safety procedures.
Computer Keyboard - $85,000 Settlement for Carpal Tunnel
A newspaper reporter was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. Suit was brought alleging that the design of the computer keyboards used by the newspaper was defective, increasing the risk of carpal tunnel injury. Expert examination focused upon the force required to press down the keys and the lack of feedback to indicate when the keys were sufficiently depressed.
Summer Camp Accident - $130,000 Settlement for Fractured Cheekbone
Two counselors took a group of campers out on a lake and brought along several windsurfing boards. The counselors and campers jumped and dove off the boards, which did not have the sails attached. A 13 year-old boy was floating in the water when a counselor jumped off a nearby board. The board then shot along the surface and struck the boy in the face, fracturing his cheekbone.
Dangerous Restaurant Stairwell - $120,000 Settlement for Hepatitis C
An elderly man fell down a flight of stairs in a restaurant when he backed up into a hallway door to allow a waiter to pass by. The door opened the wrong way, in violation of building codes. The gentleman received a blood transfusion at an emergency room from which he contracted Hepatitis C. At the time there was no test available to detect Hepatitis C in blood donations.
Slip and Fall - $90,000 Settlement for Arm Fracture
A 55 year-old musician fell on an icy sidewalk, fracturing his humerus. An investigation revealed that water was flowing onto the sidewalk from an elevated commercial parking lot. A snowplow had piled snow against a wooden fence, downhill from a storm drain, causing run-off to flow under the fence and down to the sidewalk.
LSD-induced Attack - $65,000 Verdict for Assault
A young woman was assaulted by a teenage stranger who broke into her home. He was experiencing a "bad trip" on LSD. A claim was brought against the homeowner's insurance policy of the teenager's parents. The insurer refused coverage, relying upon an exclusion for intentional conduct. On appeal, in a case of first impression, the Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the insurer's liability, finding that voluntary intoxication did not bar coverage. 413 Mass. 781 (1992).
Slip & Fall - $50,000 Settlement for Wrist Fracture
A young woman, shopping for a new home, fell on an icy walk that the homeowner had not cleared.
Bad Airplane Food - $30,000 Settlement for Cracked Tooth
A middle-aged woman took a bite of a ham sandwich on an American Airline's flight and heard a loud crunch. A piece of hard ceramic was in the sandwich and cracked one of her teeth. The tooth was saved through some painful oral surgery.
Unfair Auto Insurer - $315,000 for Wrongful Death
A 79 year-old woman was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. The driver was arrested and pled guilty to vehicular homicide. The driver had $40,000 of insurance and no assets. The victim had available underinsurance of $210,000. The underinsurer delayed making any offer, repeatedly claiming that it needed more time. After a demand letter alleging bad faith was sent, the insurer offered only $50,000. Suit was filed seeking multiple damages based on the insurer's unfair conduct, resulting in a settlement well in excess of the insurance limits.
Wrongful Denial of Disability Benefits - $84,000 Annual Benefits
A 52 year-old executive was unable to continue working due to chronic stomach pain and vomiting from pancreatitis. Her employer's disability insurer, Unum, denied benefits, claiming that her pain was not severe enough to warrant disability and that her condition was psychosomatic. Investigation revealed that the insurer's "independent" medical expert was a doctor who had retired from active practice and whose office address, as listed with his state's medical board, was the same as the insurer's. Upon threat of a lawsuit, the insurer reinstated the benefits.
Auto Accident - $250,000 Settlement for Arm Fracture
Insurance policy limits were paid to an elderly woman who suffered a broken arm and consequent loss of range of motion. The driver of the car that she was in inadvertently ran a red light and was struck by another car.
Auto Accident - $130,000 Settlement for Ankle Fracture
A 75 year-old man exited a taxi. Before he could walk away, the cabdriver drove off, striking his lower leg with the rear tire.
Auto Accident- $105,000 Settlement for Wrist Fracture
A 62 year-old lawyer was knocked down by a slow-moving car while crossing the street. The driver, turning into bright sunlight, claimed that he did not see him. The wrist fracture did not require surgery.
Auto Accident- $100,000 Settlement for Knee Fracture
Insurance policy limit was paid to a middle-aged man whose car was hit by a driver who crossed the center line.
Deceptive Developer - $7.2 Million Award for Cheated Investor
My client invested $50,000 for a 10% interest in a developer's real estate trust. The developer flourished, but refused to give the investor an accounting and did not distribute any profits. When the developer still failed to provide a complete accounting after suit was filed, the Court entered judgment against him and conducted a hearing on damages. To establish damages it was necessary to track the developer's tangled web of property dealings throughout the country. The Court found that the investor was entitled to double damages due to the developer's deceit.
Wrongful Termination of Hospital Privileges - $220,000 Settlement for Radiologist
A doctor's feud with hospital administrators culminated in the termination of his privileges. The Court found that the hospital had failed to provide the doctor with due process and fair hearing rights and granted summary judgment against the hospital. The hospital then settled the case.
Campus Police Misconduct - $60,000 Settlement for Improper ID Procedures
A female college student reported that a man had exposed himself in front of her dormitory window. A neighboring student reported seeing my client, another student, nearby after the incident. He did not even remotely fit the description provided by the victim. Campus police told the victim they had caught the perpetrator, placed the young man in the headlights of a cruiser, and asked her to confirm the identification. Criminal charges were brought and subsequently dismissed.
FMLA Violation - $50,000 Settlement for Librarian
A school librarian was forced to choose between keeping her job or going back to work while her husband was dying of cancer. Suit was brought alleging violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Mediation led to a successful settlement.
Anti-Gay Harassment - $37,500 Settlement
A young man quit his job with a commercial cleaning company as a result of homophobic remarks made by a supervisor.
Murder - Found Not Guilty
My client was seen by many witnesses chasing and shooting at someone on a Brockton street. Up the block, in the direction of where he was running from, a friend of his was shot and killed. I developed compelling evidence, which had been missed and ignored by the prosecutor and police, that the guy my client was chasing was responsible for the murder. My client was just 19 years-old. In October 2011, after a 10 day trial, we walked out of the courtroom together.
Murder - Found Not Guilty - Insanity
This 2009 trial may be the only Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity verdict involving a male defendant in Massachusetts over the past 25 years or so. My client had suffered with paranoid delusions for many years. He eventually came to believe that his family was part of a conspiracy against him. In the throes of psychosis, he killed his mother, who had been desperately trying to have him hospitalized. Portions of the homicide were videotaped by my client and seen by the jury.
Critical trial evidence included my client's medical records, family witnesses and psychiatric experts. This evidence developed a picture of worsening insanity and the failure of the mental health system. The jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity after seven hours of deliberation.
Murder - Case Dismissed - Insanity
A young M.I.T. graduate student killed his wife and then walked into the campus infirmary and reported it. He was arrested and sent to BridgewaterState Hospital for observation. I immediately went to visit him with a video camera and recorded a lengthy interview in which he clearly was delusional. I also found evidence of a progressive psychological breakdown over the prior days. When the Commonwealth's expert looked at the tape and reviewed this evidence, which included supportive statements from the parents of my client's wife confirming the breakdown, he agreed that my client was psychotic and was not responsible for his actions. Charges were dismissed. The young man successfully recovered in a psychiatric hospital.
Rape of a Child - Found Not Guilty
A woman, 20-years-old at the time of trial, claimed that my client had routinely engaged in oral sex with her some 15 years earlier, when she was a neighbor. At trial, I showed many inconsistencies and impossibilities in her story, through examination of my client's medical and employment records, and through cross-examination of the young woman. The jury came back with a not guilty verdict in less than 90 minutes.
Sexual Assault – Found Not Guilty
The defendant was charged with sexually assaulting the 4 year-old daughter of a neighbor. A thorough investigation revealed evidence that the child's parents had fabricated the assault and coerced the child's allegations because they suspected the defendant had reported them to the Department of Social Services for child abuse. The defendant was found not guilty.
Bank Robbery – Sentence Reduced, 12 Year Downward Departure
A 30 year-old man, represented by other counsel, was convicted at trial of bank robbery and sentenced to 27 years. I successfully brought a motion for a new sentencing and presented evidence of my client's rehabilitation during his federal imprisonment. Judge Skinner granted a downward departure of 12 years, which I believe to be the largest departure ever granted in the First Circuit.
Arson – New Trial Granted, Found Not Guilty
A restaurant owner represented by other counsel was convicted of burning down his restaurant. A motion for a new trial was granted based upon an exhaustive investigation which disclosed new evidence. The Commonwealth appealed. We cross appealed, seeking acquittal on the ground that there was inadequate evidence to support a conviction. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed that the defendant was entitled to a new trial and further concluded that the evidence was insufficient to warrant a guilty verdict. The restaurant owner was acquitted. 406 Mass. 450 (1990).
Attempted Rape – Case Dismissed
A State Trooper, posing as an adolescent in an Internet chat room, arranged to meet my client. When my client went to the meeting place he was arrested and charged with attempted rape. The charge was thrown out on a motion to dismiss.
Multiple Rapes – Found Not Guilty
When my client broke off an affair with a co-worker, she accused him or raping her numerous times. Investigation revealed many inconsistencies in the versions of the story that she told to police, to their employer and to her friends. Particularly compelling was evidence that she had attended a wedding with my client and had baked him a birthday cake only a few days after she claimed to have been raped.
Rape – Found Not Guilty
A psychologically troubled woman claimed that her brother had raped her. The jury found him not guilty after hearing evidence that he was out of town at the time of the alleged assault. Most persuasive was a time-stamped photograph of my client taken at the Rhode Island Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Rape, Assault & Battery – Case Dismissed
The credibility of the defendant's ex-girlfriend was undermined through the use of telephone records and the conflicting testimony of other witnesses. At the close of the evidence, recognizing the complainant's credibility problems, the Commonwealth dismissed the charges.
Aggravated Assault & Battery – Found Not Guilty
My client, a young woman, was alleged to have bitten off the fingertip of another woman in a fight. She testified that she acted in self-defense. A medical expert testified regarding how the fingertip was severed. The jury found her not guilty.
Drug Possession & Distribution – Case Dismissed
The police claimed that my client sold drugs to a cooperating informant. But after this deal supposedly took place, the police lost track of the informant for fifteen minutes. I won a motion to suppress, arguing that the informant could have obtained the drugs from anywhere during the time between when he left my client's home and the time the police found him.
Illegal Trunk Search – Case Dismissed
A State Trooper pulled over a car with three black men inside, supposedly due to a broken tail light. The Trooper searched the trunk and found computer equipment that could be used to make phony driver's licenses and identification documents. Federal charges were dropped after I won a motion to suppress based on a lack of probable cause for the search of the trunk.
Drunk Driving – Case Dismissed
My favorite of many OUI acquittals. My client was an Irish priest and was wearing his vestments at the time he was pulled over. Just before the trial was to start, the judge wanted to do a short hearing in another OUI case involving a young, black defendant. The police officer from my client's case got on the witness stand by mistake, looked straight at the black defendant, and began reading his police report from the case involving the priest. This went on for several minutes before the prosecutor realized that he was talking about the wrong defendant. When my case was called I moved to dismiss on the ground that the police officer obviously had no memory of the incident. The judge agreed and dismissed the case.
For a initial consultation with Keith Halpern, Attorney at Law, call (617) 722-9952 or contact me online.