Silver Spring Law Firm Wins $4M Negligence Verdict For North Dakota Plaintiff
Jury Finds Midwife Fails to Deliver Baby in Timely Manner, Causing Brain Damage and Mental Retardation
BISMARCK, ND - A Burleigh County jury in Bismarck, North Dakota rendered a verdict in favor of a minor plaintiff for $4 Million against a Certified Nurse Midwife. The jury deliberated for more than ten hours before reaching its verdict, which was rendered Friday evening, November 18.
The lawsuit was filed in 2009 on behalf of the minor child in the District Court for Burleigh County, North Dakota. The suit alleged that while administering the birth, the midwife was negligent in failing to deliver the minor child many hours prior to his actual birth. By that time, the lack of oxygen and/or lack of blood flow to the brain had already caused permanent brain damage. All babies have what's known as fetal reserves, which allows them to withstand the rigors of the labor process. The fetal heart rate tracing lets the care providers know if the baby is doing well: if there are problems on those tracings, then the care providers must act and either resolve the problems or get the baby out of that environment. In this case, the midwife did not do that. The child now has mental retardation and severe behavioral issues, all related to the injury to the frontal lobe of his brain. Lawsuits on behalf of minors require that the child's information be kept confidential.
"There was no reasonable explanation for this delay in delivery," said Christian Mester of the Maryland-based law firm Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester, co-lead counsel representing the minor child. "This midwife ignored the warning signs that were present requiring that our client be delivered. Instead, this midwife continued on, disregarding her responsibility to this patient,"
"This child should be normal. Instead, he requires 24/7 care, and will require this for the remainder of his life," said Lee Bissonette, co-lead counsel of the Minnesota-based law firm of Hellmuth & Johnson.
The trial took place over three and one-half weeks in Burleigh County District Court in Bismarck, North Dakota. "This jury heard testimony from a large number of expert witnesses on both sides," Bissonette said. There was compelling testimony from treating doctors that the child's neurologic problems were permanent and were the result of his brain injury and not other causes propounded by the defense.
"This jury paid attention to every single witness in this case over almost four weeks of testimony," Mester said. "They took their oath seriously and their verdict reflects that they were able to sort out the truth and made sure justice was done in this case. We are so pleased for our client and his mother - this verdict allows for the child to receive the care he requires for the remainder of his life in order to maximize his chance of living as normal a life as possible, given his permanent and disabling injuries." Bissonette added "The courage this mother showed to bring this lawsuit on behalf of her child was great. This verdict demonstrates the jury saw she did the right thing."
Along with Mester and Bissonette, the plaintiff was represented at trial by nurse-attorney Maria Dawson, also of the Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester law firm.
About Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester, LLC
The medical negligence department at Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester, LLC, concentrates in prosecuting complex medical negligence cases. The firm also represents plaintiffs in personal injury matters and pharmaceutical litigation. The firm's principle offices are located in Silver Spring, Maryland and Reisterstown, Maryland. For additional information visit www.gfmjustice.com.