In this action, a woman sued the Federal Government after her son sustained nerve damage to his arm after delivery by a doctor managed under a federal program. The matter was resolved with a settlement after 5 years in litigation.
On February 14, 2010, at 37.5 weeks pregnant, the plaintiff was admitted to the labor and delivery department of Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood, New Jersey, upon a complaint of ruptured membranes and irregular contractions. The plaintiff gave birth later that day. At the time of delivery, the newborn demonstrated a left upper extremity with decreased movement from shoulder to elbow. He was diagnosed with “shoulder dystocia” and Erb’s palsy, a form of brachial plexus palsy.
The plaintiff and her son attribute their injuries to Dr. Adam R., an OB/GYN specialist and employee of Ocean Health Initiatives, Inc., who was charged with plaintiffs’ pre- and post-natal care and labor and delivery.
The plaintiff filed suit in the NJ State Court against the defendants, Dr. Adam R. and Kimball Medical Center. The plaintiff accused the defendant doctor of medical malpractice. The plaintiff sought damages including past and future medical expenses for her son, as well as pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, and other damages. The defendant, United States Attorney, successfully removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, arguing that the defendant doctor was caring for plaintiff under a federal program. The United States was thereafter substituted as the only defendant as per federal law. The case was subsequently dismissed, after the Court ruled that plaintiff had filed multiple federal complaints with disparate dates.
The case was thereafter appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, who found that plaintiff’s claim was properly pursued and reinstated the claim. In the interim, the NJ State Supreme Court extended the immunity afforded to charitable and hospital entities to clinics similar to the defendant’s. As a result, at best Plaintiff’s claim would be capped at $250,000 damages and at worst the defendant would be granted total immunity and the plaintiffs would not be entitled to any recovery.
The matter was resolved with a settlement for $225,000. The court approved a distribution of $115,000 in trust to the infant Plaintiff and $110,000 to pay legal expenses (which exceeded that amount). The case was handled by Jim Martin and Dana McDade. Martin Kane Kuper waived attorneys’ fees.