From The Legal Intelligencer: Chester County Jury Issues Defense Med Mal Verdict in Case With $18M Demand
Obermayer attorney Gary Samms obtained a unanimous defense verdict on behalf of an obstetrician/gynecologist on October 30, 2019 after a contentious eight day trial in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas before the Honorable Jeffrey Sommer. A suburban Philadelphia jury has rejected a couple’s claims that a doctor’s alleged failure to administer a certain medication during their daughter’s delivery caused the infant to develop cerebral palsy. Plaintiffs had made an $18 million dollar demand. The suit stemmed from allegations that Dr. Sara Lynn Wheeler failed to properly give the infant’s mother magnesium sulfate to help protect against cerebral palsy. However, defendants argued that the fetus, which was premature, was still past the point where the drug should have been provided, and that, instead of reducing the infant’s risk of cerebral palsy, it would have increased the chances of heart attack and death. Gary Samms, who represented Wheeler, said the experts played a significant role in convincing the jury. According to Samms, not only did the plaintiff’s standard of care expert admit on cross-examination that there was a significant body of literature supporting the defendants’ position about the cut-off for when magnesium sulfate should be used, but Wheeler’s placenta analysis expert, Dr. Carolyn Salafia, also was effective in demonstrating to jurors that there was placental dysfunction five to seven days before the birth.
Gary Samms stated that “the jury commented that our cross-examination of their experts was effective, and they found our experts to be more qualified.”
There were 16 experts in the case, eleven of whom testified during the trial, including experts in placental pathology, neuroradiology, and pediatric neurology in addition to obstetrics and gynecology. Mark Hermanovich, Esquire and Barbara Heaton contributed significantly in the work-up and disposition of the matter.
is the Chair of the Professional Liability and Catastrophic Loss Group at Obermayer. He has comprehensive experience in complex civil litigation matters. His law practice concentrates in the areas of commercial, medical malpractice, professional liability, health care, sexual assault claims, intellectual property litigation and cases of high monetary exposure.