Martin Kane & Kuper Esqs. Assist Local Charity to Give Back to Sandy Victims In Need
Pictured here are a few of the Martin Kane & Kuper Esqs. employees loading donation items into vans for the Simuel Whitfield Simmons Organization. The firm collected various household items, non perishable food, clothing, shoes, toiletry items, infant clothes/toys, blankets and more to provide to Natasha Rodgers, and her charity. This charity will immediately distribute the many donated goods to local area families who have been displaced or suffered loss following Hurricane Sandy.
James D. Martin Earns Best Lawyer Status
Martin Kane Kuper, LLC of East Brunswick is proud to announce the recognition of James D. Martin, Esq. as one of The Best Lawyers in America, as selected by his peers. Nearly 4 million confidential evaluations from the top attorneys in the country are the basis for honoring his work in the practice areas of Medical Malpractice Law–Plaintiffs, Personal Injury Litigation–Plaintiffs, and Product Liability Litigation–Plaintiffs in the 19th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. This publication is considered to be the most respectful referral list of practicing attorneys and the most credible guide to legal excellence in the United States.
Estate of Singelyn v. Iorio – Press Release
On March 4, 2007, Trese Ann Singelyn was admitted to Somerset Medical Center with complaints asthma-related shortness of breath. Within a day of her admission, she came under the care of attending physician, Richard Iorio, M.D., her long-time pulmonologist. When her breathing did not improve as expected over the next couple of days, Dr. Iorio became suspicious of a pulmonary embolism and on March 8, 2007 elected to prescribe a strong anticoagulant drug called Lovenox. Dr. Iorio further elected to administer Lovenox on a full therapeutic basis, or 108 mg/day, as opposed to a prophylactic dose of only 40 mg/day until his suspicion could be confirmed.
After three days of receiving Lovenox, Ms. Singelyn’s anticoagulation levels became extremely high and caused a large left anterolateral abdominal wall bleed, which collected from her rib cage down to her pubic bone. Ms. Singelyn’s blood pressure dropped significantly to 75/41 and caused her to go into severe hemorrhagic and hypovolemic shock. She was thereafter transferred to the Critical Care Unit, but expired a short time later during the early morning hours of March 11, 2007.
The Estate of Trese Ann Singelyn commenced suit in 2008 alleging the Defendant, Dr. Iorio, deviated from acceptable standards of medical care in his treatment of Ms. Singelyn. Specifically, the Estate argued that the Defendant chose to administer full therapeutic Lovenox but failed to obtain urgent diagnostic studies to either confirm or rule out the presence of a pulmonary embolus. Indeed, Plaintiff’s expert internist, Kevin Bell, M.D., opined that Defendant’s prescription of Lovenox at the full therapeutic dose was actually over five-times the dose warranted.
Moreover, Plaintiff’s expert pulmonologist, Joel Duberstein, M.D., took the position that despite obvious signs of internal bleeding, which included Ms. Singelyn’s sudden and severe drop in blood pressure, substantial reduction in hemoglobin and back and flank pain, the Defendant utterly failed to begin treating Ms. Singelyn for internal hemorrhage. Dr. Duberstein testified that Ms. Singelyn required aggressive fluid resuscitation and blood transfusion with fresh frozen plasma, among other therapies. Given Defendant’s failure to provide any of these interventions, it was the position of the Estate that Ms. Singelyn’s death was both untimely and wholly avoidable.
The Defendant, however, contended Dr. Iorio’s use of full therapeutic Lovenox was appropriate given his suspicion of a potentially fatal pulmonary embolus. He further claimed that, if there were negligence, it was committed by the critical care specialist or Director of the Critical Care Unit, who shared responsibility for Ms. Singelyn’s care after her transfer to Critical Care. Defendant also asserted through his expert, Bennett Ojserskis, M.D., that any potential negligence was mitigated by the fact that Ms. Singelyn’s life expectancy at age 75 was, at most, two to five years.
The trial of this matter commenced on September 26, 2011 before the Honorable John J. Coyle, J.S.C. in Somerset County Superior Court. After nearly two weeks of testimony by no fewer than ten witnesses, and three days of deliberation, a jury of seven returned a verdict in favor of the Estate of Trese Ann Singelyn in the amount of $250,000.00. However, seconds before the jury verdict was read in open court, the parties reached an agreement to settle the matter for $350,000.00. Thereafter, in accordance with the stipulation of the parties, the Court molded the jury verdict to reflect the resolution reached by the parties, namely, a compromise of the controversy in the amount of $350,000.00.
Todd Drayton, Esq. of Martin, Kane & Kuper, LLC, represented the Estate of Trese Ann Singelyn in this matter, while the Defendant was represented by Joseph Lang, Esq. of The Lenox Law Firm.
$5,000,000.00 – Below knee traumatic leg amputation on construction site
On March 25, 2012, Mr. John Kanard, formally of Keansburg, New Jersey executed a release ending three years of civil litigation arising out of an on the job accident which occurred on September 28, 2007. At that time, Mr. Kanard, a professional flatbed tractor trailer driver, employed by Ho Ro Trucking of Linden, NJ was assigned to a hauling job for defendant, Gardner Masson Bishop of Hackettstown, New Jersey. Mr. Kanard and another driver, reported to a staging area near Exit 13 on the New Jersey Turnpike where Gardner Bishop had stored “Jersey Barriers” used for the demarcation of lanes of traffic and/or to temporarily block or relocate lanes of traffic when road work is being performed on the turnpike. These barries are made of steel reinforced poured concrete each weighing in excess of 7,000 lbs.
Mr. Kanard’s flatbed trailer was to be loaded with seven barriers, three in the first row, and four in a second row on the rear of the trailer. After the first row of three was loaded, via crane, Mr. Kanard proceeded to strap the barriers to avoid their shifting during transport. While he was engaged in this strapping maneuver, the second row of barriers was being loaded. It was at that time that the crane operator forcibly struck one barrier with another causing it to fall from the truck and strike Mr. Kanard. As a result, Mr. Kanard suffered a traumatic trans tibial below knee amputation of his left leg. The plaintiff was transported by ambulance to University Hospital in Newark. The amputated leg was also transported to the hospital but due to extensive crush injury of the soft tissues, blood vessels and bone, there was no possibility of re attachment.
Mr. Kanard went onto have two additional amputation surgeries resulting in an above the knee completion. He has since been fitted with various prosthetic devices and continues to receive physical therapy, frequent adjustments and socket revisions.
After the accident Mr. Kanard relocated to the State of Pennsylvania so that he could be near supportive family members. He continues to reside in the State of Pennsylvania and has not been able to return to work since the date of accident. Mr. Kanard was a high school dropout who never obtained his GED. As such, job opportunities have been limited but he is currently pursuing rehabilitation and retraining through various organizations sponsored through the State of Pennsylvania Department of Rehabilitation Services.
The plaintiff and defendant, represented by Mr. William Mergner of Leary, Bride, Tinker & Moran retained numerous expert witnesses who addressed allegations of negligence and contributory negligence. It was generally alleged by the defense that Mr. Kanard, as a professional truck driver, knew that he had positioned himself in a zone of danger during the loading process. Defendants further contended that Mr. Kanard was warned on the morning of the accident to stand clear of the truck during the loading process. The defendants contended that there was no reason for Mr. Kanard to be strapping the partial load at the time of the accident as there was no time constraints or urgency in the loading process. At the time of the incident, Mr. Kanard was positioned within three feet of the side of the trailer and unable to get out of the way once the barrier began to fall.
It was the plaintiff’s contention that one or more of the Gardner Bishop workers were aware of Mr. Kanard’s presence and failed to warn him or cease the loading activity until such time as he was clear of the danger zone. Further, it was alleged that the crane operator was negligent in the manner in which he proceeded to load the barriers and that one of the two accident barriers was swinging out of control causing it to strike the second accident barrier with such force as to knock it from the trailer. The defendants failed to use tag lines or such other safety procedures as would have prevented the out of control swinging of the loading barrier and were otherwise negligent in the supervision of the loading process.
The case was mediated by Judge John Keefe of Red Bank, NJ and was settled in the amount of $5 million dollars shortly thereafter.
Plaintiff was represented by James D. Martin, Esq. and Dana McDade, Esq. of Martin, Kane & Kuper, East Brunswick, New Jersey.
$15,000,000.00 – Traumatic brain injury in ATV accident
On March 12, 2012, judgment was entered in the amount of Fifteen Million Dollars ($15,000,000) on behalf of a man severely injured in an ATV accident.
On August 10, 2008, Michael Wojcik, then 24, was a passenger on an ATV being operated by Joseph Mastorio. Mr. Mastorio lost control of the ATV, causing Mr. Wojcik to be thrown from the ATV and striking a tree with his head. The driver of the ATV admitted to drinking prior to the incident and was charged with driving while intoxicated. Mr. Wojcik was found laying near the tree with a shattered bicycle helmet near him and was unresponsive with an obvious deformity to his neck. He was medivaced to hospital where he was in a coma for several weeks. Upon discharge, he was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, multiple fractures of his face, ribs and numerous other injuries. While in the hospital, he underwent five surgical procedures. He also sustained two strokes during this time.
As a result of his injuries, Mr. Wojcik is no longer able to speak, has difficulty swallowing and must be fed by feeding tube, lost significant amount of vision in his right eye, lost the use of his left hand, walks with a limp and has significant memory problems. Although Mr. Wojcik was a graduate of West Virginia University, testing subsequent to his discharge from the hospital placed him in only a fifth grade percentile in math, reading and spelling.
Plaintiff was represented by Brian Yesalonis, Esq., and James D. Martin, Esq., of Martin Kane & Kuper, in East Brunswick, NJ. Defendant refused to appear in the matter. Judgment was entered by the Honorable Honora O’Brien Kilgallen, J.S.C., of Freehold.
Fitzhenry v. Liberty Mutual – Martin Kane Kuper settles $125,000.00 personal injury case.
On February 6, 2012, Plaintiff Danielle Fitzhenry agreed to settle her personal injury lawsuit against the Defendant, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. The matter arose from a motor vehicle accident occurring almost five years ago on July 20, 2007. While stopped at a traffic light, Mrs. Fitzhenry was struck along the driver’s side by a motorist insured by Liberty Mutual. After discovering the motorist was uninsured, Mrs. Fitzhenry commenced suit in Middlesex County Superior Court against Liberty Mutual under the terms of her uninsured motorist insurance policy.
Mrs. Fitzhenry claimed permanent injuries to her cervical and lumbar spine as a result of the accident. Among her back injuries were herniated discs as L4-L5 and L5-S1. She also alleged aggravation of a pre-existing rheumatoid arthritis condition. She was initially treated with physical therapy and chiropractic care, but eventually saw a neuropsychologist, underwent acupuncture and received local steroid injections from her primary doctor and rheumatologist in an effort to control her severe back and neck pain. When all such conservative measures failed, Mrs. Fitzhenry began receiving lumbar and cervical facet injections, under anesthesia, in 2009. Since then, she has received more than six facet injections, which have provided only short term relief. To date, Mrs. Fitzhenry has never undergone any form of corrective back surgery.
Liberty Mutual disputed all claims of permanent injuries, contending instead that a subsequent motor vehicle accident in August 2008 had intervened and destroyed the causal connection between Mrs. Fitzhenry’s ongoing pain and her July 2007 accident. During the subsequent 2008 accident, which involved a front-end collision, it was documented that Mrs. Fitzhenry sustained another back sprain and a fractured right hand. However, Liberty Mutual argued that the March 2009 MRI, which revealed multiple herniated discs, as well as the surgical facet injections that followed in April 2009, were not performed until after the second accident. In addition, Liberty Mutual claimed that any injuries Mrs. Fitzhenry may have suffered as a result of the July 2007 accident had long ago resolved. Thus, Liberty Mutual sought to avail itself of New Jersey’s verbal threshold defense, which requires objective medical evidence of a permanent injury before a plaintiff like Mrs. Fitzhenry can be compensated.
At trial, the parties stipulated the issue of liability and proceeded only on the issues of proximate causation and damages. However, just before the close of the Plaintiff’s case and prior to the testimony of the defendant’s expert, the case settled for $125,000.00. The Honorable Martin Kravarik, J.S.C. (ret.) presided over the trial which was in its eighth day when it settled. Todd Drayton, Esq. represented Mrs. Fitzhenry on behalf of Martin Kane & Kuper, LLC, while Lynn Hershkovitz-Goldberg, Esq. of Baumann & Viscomi defended the matter on behalf of Liberty Mutual.
Martin Kane Kuper Attorney James D. Martin Honored by State Bar Association
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James D. Martin, Esq., partner in the law firm Martin, Kane, Kuper (www.mkklaw.com), was recently honored by the New Jersey State Bar Association Civil Trial Bar Section at their James J. McLaughlin Award Dinner. The event, which recognizes attorneys who demonstrate civility, legal competence and professionalism in the practice of civil trial law, was held at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick.
Born in a log cabin in the Pocono Mountains, Jim grew up in New Brunswick, later attending Rider College from which he graduated in 1970. In 1975 he graduated from Rutgers Newark Law School. Jim joined the New Brunswick law firm of Lynch, Mannion, Lutz & Lewandowski. During the next thirty six years Jim became one of the most respected and successful trial attorneys in the state. He is the past chairman of the Civil Trial Bar and remains a member of the executive committee. He is a former president of the Middlesex Trial Lawyers and a trustee of the Middlesex Bar Association. He is a recipient of the Civil Trial Bar Award from the Trial Attorneys of New Jersey, the Herman Brietkopf Award from the Middlesex County Trial Lawyers and was named Civil Trial Practitioner of the Year by the Middlesex Bar Association. Jim is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a civil trial attorney.
Jim remains one the most prominent lawyers in Middlesex County and all of New Jersey, handling cases in all levels of the state and federal courts. Jim is perhaps best known for his handling of complex medical malpractice cases.
Martin Kane Kuper Sponsors the American Cancer Society “Celebration on the Hill”
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In 2006 Martin Kane Kuper Esqs. sponsored the banner for the American Cancer Society (ACS) which was displayed at the Relay for Life Cancer Walk in Woodbridge NJ. It was signed by all participants and cancer survivors with messages to congress asking them to continue to give funding for cancer research and medical treatments.
Corine Mogenis, of Martin Kane Kuper, an Ambassador for ACS at the time, took the banner to Washington DC to the “Celebration on the Hill” which was an event that took place on Capitol Hill. People from every state in the US came to show their support in asking Congress to continue to support funds for cancer research and development, clinical trials and cancer support.
The banner was displayed on a wall with others showing the signatures and messages on view for Congress to see before their vote.
The Cancer Promise was signed by a majority of the representatives that year and the funding continued!
Martin Kane Helps the Simuel Whitfield Simmons Organization
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The Firm of Martin Kane Kuper has been a regular contributor to the Simuel Whitfield Simmons Organization (SWS), The organization’s mission is to help meet the immediate and long term needs of at-risk youth and families in New Jersey. They strive to break the cycle of poverty by offering families and youth the resources, mentorship and education they need to achieve self-sufficiency.
The staff at Martin Kane Kuper have taken up several yearly collections to provide SWS with items for those “in need” in the community, from clothes, household items and food and toiletry, to furniture, electronics, beds, money and gift cards. They have even donated prom dresses to the “Help a Girl Attend the Prom” drive.
MKK staff members have helped deliver collected items to needy families at monthly “give always” where all collected items are brought to a local parking lot and families in need line up to come get whatever they need at no cost. They also regularly volunteer their time for other events and fundraisers for the SWS organization in an attempt to give back to those in their local communities.
The Firm of Martin Kane Kuper believes that we are all part of the community and recognize that everyone needs a helping hand at some point in their life. We are all in this “together.”
Martin Kane Kuper Proud to Sponsor The Mets
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In 2010 the firm of Martin Kane Kuper became the proud sponsors of The “Mets”, an 11 year old “minor” team in the East Brunswick Baseball League. The firm was proud to be part of the East Brunswick local community sports program and to help kids participate in organized sporting events. They hope to continue this support in the future and share in the local community.
Martin Kane Kuper Earns Settlement for Client Burned During “Hot Stone Massage”
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Martin Kane Kuper recently settled, a case for a 50+ yr old gentlemen who visited a local spa for a “hot stone” massage. He received a gift certificate as a present from a family member. He had a similar massage some years earlier, without incident. However,this experience was very different. He was asked to sit up while a therapist placed the “warm stones” behind him. He was then asked to lay down on top of the stones. He immediately commented that they were hot at which point he was told to sit up again while they were re-positioned. He laid back down and again commented that they may be too hot. He was assured that his body “would adjust” and therefore remained in position for approximately another minute at which point he could not tolerate the heat. On inspection he had 4 distinct burns, later diagnosed as 2nd degree, on his back – 1 each from the 4 stones involved.
The adjustment that the therapist made was to place another towel over the rocks which apparently took a period for the heat to permeate the 2 towels and transfer to the torso. The client has permanent scarring in 2 of the areas. The firm was able to avoid litigation and settled pre-suit for an significant undisclosed amount.
Attorney Eric Kuper Speaks at State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in Atlantic City
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On May 18, 2011, Eric Kuper, the immediate past Chairperson of the Civil Trial Section of the State Bar Association was a speaker at a program entitled “Hot Topics in Torts” during the State Bar Association Annual Meeting in Atlantic City. Eric, along with six other trial attorneys, discussed recent case law that impacts civil jury trials. Eric spoke of the recent case of Kim v. Kim, the admissibility of unpaid medical expenses at trial and Legislative efforts to amend the statute that prohibits evidence of unpaid medical bills during a civil jury trial.
Eric Kuper has tried numerous cases to verdict over the past twenty years. Within the past two weeks Eric successfully handled an auto negligence case in Middlesex County Superior Court. Following four days of trial, a unanimous jury returned a verdict in twenty minutes in favor of Eric’s client.
$1,250,000 Settlement – Dennis Johnson v. JFK Medical Center
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Dennis Johnson was a 35 year old man who presented to JFK Medical Center ER on Friday, 12/17/04. He was complaining of difficulty seeing in his left eye for a few days which had gotten progressively worse that day. He had a past history of blindness in his right eye.
Mr. Johnson was examined by an Emergency Room Physician and told to take Norvasc for his elevated BP and follow up with an ophthalmologist. Mr. Johnson could not get an appointment with an ophthalmologist until 3 days later, Monday, 12/20/04. At some point during the weekend, Mr. Johnson’s eye sight got worse and by the time he got to an Ophthalmologist on 12/20/04 his vision was limited. He was immediately diagnosed with retinal detachment and referred to the Retina Vitreous Center. After an evaluated there, surgery was recommended and performed on 12/22/04.
Plaintiff ‘s position was that there is a limited window of opportunity to perform surgical intervention to a detaching retina. The delay in getting Mr. Johnson examined by an ophthalmologist and to a retina specialist resulted in permanent deficits in the left eye. After 3 surgeries, his acuity has only been restored to 20/100 and he has lost peripheral vision. As a consequence and in combination with his right eye blindness, he has been unable to return to his prior employment, is unable to drive and is limited in most activities.
Defendants contended that upon reporting to the ER, Mr. Johnson’s macula had already detached, he would have had these deficits in any event and that emergent surgery was not indicated under the circumstances.
The case settled before Judge Jessica Mayer , Middlesex County, in the amount of $1,250,000.00. Plaintiff was represented by James Martin, Esq. of Martin Kane & Kuper of East Brunswick, NJ . Defendant was represented by Sean Buckley, Esq. of Buckley & Theroux, LLC of Princeton,NJ.
$10,000,000 Settlement – McCauley vs. Astaris LLC et al
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On October 20, 2009, an Old Bridge man accepted $9.6 million in settlement of a claim against his former employer and others for severe burns received in an industrial explosion on 5/27/03. Leroy McCauley was employed as a chemical operator at Astaris, LLC in Carteret, N.J. when he was asked to disconnect a piping system used to unload raw phosphorous from a rail tank car on the premises. Raw phosphorous ignites when it comes in contact with air and must be kept in an enclosed environment and is shipped under water in tank cars. Despite a prior flushing of the pipe lines, phosphorous, also known as P4, remained in the line and rushed out when the pipeline was disconnected. The resulting explosion burned Mr. McCauley over 50% of his body. The plaintiff was hospitalized at St. Barnabas Burn Center for two months and underwent multiple debridement and grating procedures and thereafter numerous procedures to reduce scarring and contractures. The suit alleged that the employer consciously disregarded many of its own safety procedures and sent an untrained employee to perform a hazardous task without appropriate safety equipment or protective clothing. Also, named were the manufacturer and distributors of the piping apparatus and the aluminized protective clothing issued to chemical operators at the plant. Plaintiff contended that these suppliers knew or should have known that there were safety devices available to prevent unintended release of P4 from the unloading system and that the protective clothing was in adequate to protect against the severe temperatures at which P4 burns. Monsanto Corp. was included in the suit for alleged failure to provide adequate Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) with its shipments of P4 and for failure to follow the Responsible Care and Product Stewardship Doctrines adopted by it and the American Chemical Council, a trade organization of chemical manufacturers. FMC Corp. and Solutia, Inc. were joint venturers who formed Astaris and the plaintiff claimed were responsible for many of the inadequate policies, procedures and equipment adopted by Astaris.
Several defendants settled just before opening statements with Astaris and others settling after 3 1/2 weeks of trial before the Honorable Nicholas Stroumtsos in Middlesex County.
Plaintiff was represented by James D. Martin and Dana McDade of Martin, Kane, & Kuper in East Brunswick and Bernard Hvozdovic, a sole practitioner in South Brunswick. Defendants were represented by:
James Bride for defendants Monsanto Company and P4 Production, LLC; Rich Bryan for defendant Steel Grip; Brian O’Toole for defendant Olympic Glove and Safety; Don Crowley for defendant Carbis, Inc. and Wendy Smith for defendant OPW.
$250,000 Verdict – Valenzuela v. Patel
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A Middlesex County jury awarded $250,000 on January 13, 2010 to a maternity technician who suffered neck and back injuries as a result of a rear-end collision. The verdict was unanimous.
On November 8, 2006, Catherine Valenzuela of North Brunswick was heading to nursing school when she was rear-ended by the defendant, Dineshbha Patel, also of North Brunswick. Her automobile was struck multiple times by the defendant as it was raining at the time of the collision. During the trial before Judge Heidi Willis Currier, the defendant admitted to traveling 30 miles per hour just before the impact.
The Plaintiff’s lawyer, Todd Drayton of Martin Kane & Kuper LLC, presented evidence from several experts, including an orthopedic surgeon who performed an independent medical examination of Ms. Valenzuela and a chiropractor who had treated her for over two years, which demonstrated that Mrs. Valenzuela suffered disc bulges at C5-C6 and L4-L5, impingement upon her spinal column and distortion of her normal spinal anatomy. As a result, Mr. Drayton argued, the prognosis for the damaged discs is exceptionally poor. He noted that the damaged discs will deteriorate at faster rate and to a more severe endpoint, and that Mrs. Valenzuela could look forward to a future of increasing pain in her neck and back, as well as diminished functioning in her neck and back.
At the time of the accident, Mrs. Valenzuela was only 35 years old and had never suffered any injuries to her neck or back. Nor had she ever been involved in an accident or ever been treated by a chiropractor or orthopedist.
The defendant was represented by Teresa Valle of the Law Office of John Kennedy, who contended that Mrs. Valenzuela’s injuries were not permanent and that they were instead the result of prior back pain suffered over two and one-half years prior to the accident. The defendant further contended that Mrs. Valenzuela’s disc bulge injuries – without more – were insufficient to vault New Jersey’s verbal threshold statute. To that end, the defendant offered Mrs. Valenzuela $300 to settle the matter just before opening statements.