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Steven Lubell and Joshua Bloom of Lubell Rosen Obtain Defense Verdict on Broken Middle Finger in the Bronx, New York

By March 17, 2015 No Comments

Syosset, N.Y. – March 17, 2015 – Steven L. Lubell, Esq., partner and Joshua Bloom, Esq., associate, both of Fort Lauderdale-based health care and medical malpractice law firm Lubell Rosen, recently won a defense verdict in the representation of their client, defendant Aloysius Smith, M.D., a hand surgeon in the Bronx. The case was handled out of Lubell Rosen’s Syosset office.

Dr. Smith was accused of failing to diagnose and splint plaintiff Lawshawn Peterson’s fractured middle finger. Peterson ultimately needed surgery and as a result, was left with a permanent scar and angular deformity on the tip of his middle finger. On March 11, after a one-week trial, a Bronx jury determined that Dr. Smith’s negligence did not cause any damage to Peterson. Peterson was represented by Richard Berne, Esq. from Brooklyn.

The evidence at trial established that a door slammed on Peterson’s left hand on March 3, 2009, injuring his middle, ring and pinky finger. Peterson presented to the hospital emergency room later than morning. X-rays were read, but the radiologist only reported a fracture to the pinky finger. On March 9, 2009, Peterson reported to the St. Barnabus hand clinic, supervised by Dr. Smith, in the Bronx. No one at the hand clinic nor Dr. Smith reviewed the X-rays; they only relied on the erroneous X-ray report. Consequently, the hand clinic did not properly splint the middle finger and left it mobilized. The middle finger remained mobilized for seven days, until a new splint was placed on the middle finger.

The defense’s case focused on causation. X-ray films established that the fracture became displaced about four weeks after the accident. The evidence also established that a proper splint was placed on Mr. Peterson’s middle finger about 13 days after the accident. X-rays confirmed that as of 17 days following the accident, the middle finger had not become displaced and surgery was not indicated. The displacement occurred sometime between day 17 and day 28, while Mr. Peterson was wearing his splint. Both expert witnesses agreed that even while wearing a splint, a displacement can occur. Lubell argued, therefore, that even if the middle finger was properly splinted during the first 13 days, the displacement would probably have still occurred.

The jury deliberated for one hour and 17 minutes. By a 6-0 decision, the jury determined that the negligence was not the cause of Peterson’s displaced finger or the resulting surgery.

“Defense verdicts in the Bronx are very rare,” Lubell said after the verdict. “We are proud that we were able to successfully defend a good doctor and prove his case to the jury.”

About Lubell Rosen

Lubell Rosen is a law firm dedicated to providing full service representation as well as defending and protecting physicians, health care professionals and businesses in the health care industry. The firm has been named a U.S. Top Ranked Law Firm by FORTUNE Money Magazine. Only the finest attorneys are invited to join the practice. Lubell Rosen’s headquarters are located at 200 S. Andrews Ave., Suite 900, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. To reach Lubell Rosen’s headquarters, call 954-880-9500. The firm also has offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Coral Gables, Florida; Syosset, New York; Upper Saddle River, New Jersey and Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, visit www.lubellrosen.com.

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