Practice Areas & Industries: Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C.


Birth Injury Litigation Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

The Birth Injury Litigation Practice Group at Marshall Dennehey consists of a core group of attorneys with experience handling cases in Pennsylvania, Delaware, South Carolina, Florida, West Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. In addition, we have experienced medical malpractice trial attorneys that work in collaboration with this group, or independently, as the case requires.

Our attorneys keep abreast of the latest trial tactics and trends in medicine and are often called upon to speak at events hosted by clients and various industry groups. We have access to the country's top experts on:

  • Obstetrics
  • Maternal fetal medicine
  • Neonatology
  • Pediatric neurology
  • Hematology
  • Pediatric infectious disease
  • Placental pathology
  • Pediatric neuroradiology
  • Life expectancy
  • Economics
  • Endocrinology

Steve Ryan, the chair of the Birth Injury Litigation Practice Group, has focused his practice on the defense of birth injuries for more than 25 years. He tried a landmark case in 1985 in which the Pennsylvania Medical Professional Liability Catastrophe Loss Fund (CAT Fund) refused to accede to an $8 million settlement demand in a multiple defendant case involving a (by then) 7-year-old girl with blindness and spastic quadriplegia who suffered from 50 mini-seizures a day and had a significant life expectancy. During the trial, a $2.2 million settlement offer was rejected within seconds of it being offered, the court declined the defendants' request for appointment of a guardian and the jury returned a verdict for all defendants. This decision was used as leverage by judges all over the country to settle cases for reasonable amounts, even threatening to appoint a guardian with power to accept an offer sufficient to guarantee the child's care.

Following the trial, Steve was selected to serve on an inaugural panel of counsel for a large insurer of physicians. The theory was that all the resources of a national carrier, including literature, depositions of opposing experts and access to world-class experts in multiple specialties, could be brought to bear on any given case filed anywhere in the country. An early emphasis was placed on causation defenses in addition to standard of care. Over time it was learned that a jury could find a defendant negligent in a birth injury case, but award no damages because there was no causation. More recently, especially with the imposition of caps on non-economic damages, plaintiffs' life care plans have been inflated to extreme dimensions and the emphasis has been placed on defending against these plans with a variety of sophisticated techniques.

With a deep understanding of the issues involved in these types of cases, the Birth Injury Litigation Practice Group is well situated to provide a state-of-the-art defense, either as primary defense counsel, co-counsel or as a resource to the primary carrier or self-insured's defense counsel. We also offer discrete services in selected cases, including the selection, retention and cultivation of experts, jury research and focus group services. In addition, we provide mock deposition services where we play the role of plaintiff's counsel to test the readiness of a defendant or nurse-witness for the real thing.

Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

House Bill 373 Enacted to Control the Level of Workers’ Compensation Insurance Premiums by Making Significant Changes in the Medical Reimbursements Allowable Under the Healthcare Payment System
Paul V. Tatlow, August 06, 2014
This Act makes substantial changes to Titles 18 and 19 of the Delaware Code designed to control the level of workers’ compensation premiums in Delaware. The most significant changes are: (a) a 33% reduction in medical costs to the workers’ compensation system, phased in over a period of...

Courts Differ on Healthcare Reform
Mark L. Mattioli, July 26, 2014
Yesterday, two separate courts of appeals rendered contrary decisions on whether the subsidy provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) applies in states that have opted not to run their own insurance exchanges. Cur­rently, only 14 states have established their own exchanges, while 36 states,...

Opening the Floodgates for Runaway Jury Verdicts? Florida Supreme Court Declares Caps on Noneconomic Damages Unconstitutional in Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Litigation
Chanel A. Mosley, June 04, 2014
On March 13, 2014, the Florida Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the caps on damages applicable to wrongful death claims in a medical malpractice cause of action. Estate of McCall v. United States, 2014 Fla. LEXIS 933 (Mar. 13, 2014). In a 5-2 ruling, Justice R. Fred Lewis wrote the opinion...

Opening the Floodgates for Runaway Jury Verdicts? Florida Supreme Court Declares Caps on Noneconomic Damages Unconstitutional in Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Litigation
Chanel A. Mosley, May 29, 2014
On March 13, 2014, the Florida Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the caps on damages applicable to wrongful death claims in a medical malpractice cause of action. Estate of McCall v. United States, 2014 Fla. LEXIS 933 (Mar. 13, 2014). In a 5-2 ruling, Justice R. Fred Lewis wrote the opinion...

Feds Are Serious About Data Security
Mark L. Mattioli,David J. Shannon, April 22, 2014
In what could be a landmark ruling in the data breach legal field, a New Jersey district court recently ruled that the FTC's lawsuit against Wyndham Hotels for unfair and deceptive trade practices related to a major data breach could proceed. Although the breach did not happen in a health care...

Patients’ Right To Access Records Of Health Care Facility/Provider Relating To Adverse Medical Incident Not Limited To Only Records Pertaining To Same/Similar Condition, Treatment Or Diagnosis As Patient Requesting Access
Chanel A. Mosley, March 28, 2014
Known as “Amendment 7,” Article X, Section 25 of the Florida Constitution guarantees patients the right to have access to any records made or received in the course of business by a health care facility or provider relating to any adverse medical incidents.

Recovery of Emotional Distress Damages in a New Jersey Medical Malpractice Action Remains a Tough Hurdle for Plaintiffs
Nicholas A. Rimassa, March 28, 2014
The plaintiff parents brought their 19-month-old daughter to the emergency room at 5:00 pm following difficulty breathing and cold or flu-like symptoms. The child was followed by a pediatric intensivist through the night, who claimed to have called a pediatric cardiologist at approximately 12:00 am...

Prescribing High Potency Medication To a Known Drug Abuser: Is the Doctor Liable For Resulting Injuries?
Julia A. Klubenspies, March 14, 2014
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently heard oral argument on a case involving a patient with a known drug abuse history who swallowed medication from a prescription, high-potency skin patch, which ultimately lead to anoxic brain injury. The question before the Supreme Court is whether the trial...

Defending the Compelled Use of Arbitration Agreements
Jason P. Ferrante, December 18, 2013
On September 9, 2003, an Ohio appellate court published its opinion in McFarren v. Emeritus at Canton, 2013 Ohio App. LEXIS 4058 (Ohio Ct. App. Sept. 9, 2013). The opinion is contrary to fairly recent United States Supreme Court law that bolstered the compelled application of binding arbitration...

How Many Occurrences Have Occurred Where the Occurrence Occurs Under Statutory MCARE Coverage?
Michelle L. Wilson, December 18, 2013
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently addressed the meaning of “occurrence” with regard to the limits of coverage provided by the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund (Fund) on matters that fall under the “extended claim” provision at § 715 of the...

Delaware Supreme Court Concludes That Medical Bills of A Non-Certified Provider Are Not Compensable Because Preauthorization Was Necessary
, November 26, 2013
In Wyatt v. ResCare Home Care (decided November 20, 2013)-a case argued by Linda Wilson of our Wilmington, Delaware, office-the Delaware Supreme Court rejects the Superior Court’s decision in Vanvliet v. D&B Transp., 2012 WL 5964392 (Del. Super. Ct. Nov. 28, 2012) and holds that the medical...

Claimant’s Medical Expert’s Testimony Regarding the Cause of the Decedent’s Death Was Not Equivocal Simply Because the Expert Offered Alternate Theories Regarding the Exact Cause of Death.
Francis X. Wickersham, October 21, 2013
The claimant filed a fatal claim petition, alleging that the death of his decedent was caused by injuries he sustained from a fall from a crane platform at work. The decedent and a co-worker were working, without harnesses, on an elevated crane platform with no handrails approximately six feet from...

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Patients First Act Requires High Threshold for Expert Witness Qualifications in Malpractice Cases.
Michael G. Daly, October 21, 2013
The New Jersey Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision to allow expert testimony from a witness who did not “specialize” in the same field of medicine as the defendant-physicians. Nicholas involved a malpractice claim against two physicians, among others, for the alleged...

Payment of Medical Payments Over an 18-Month Period by the Employer was Done under a Feeling of Compulsion and Thereby Tolled the Statute of Limitations.
Paul V. Tatlow, October 21, 2013
This case was tried before the Superior Court regarding the employer’s appeal from a Board decision that granted the claimant’s petition to determine additional compensation due by awarding payment of medical expenses as well as a counsel fee. The Board had concluded that the...

Provision in a Financial Agreement that Contravenes the Intent of the Medical Malpractice Act by Limiting Damages is Void as against Public Policy.
Chanel A. Mosley, October 21, 2013
Joseph Franks sought medical care and treatment from Dr. Bowers and his surgical group at North Florida Surgeons, P.A. Prior to undergoing surgery, Mr. Franks executed a financial agreement that contained a provision for arbitration. The arbitration provision contained a limitation of damages...

The Difference between “I’m Sorry” and “I Was Wrong.”
Mary Kate McGrath, October 21, 2013
In June 2013, the Pennsylvania Senate passed the Senate Bill No. 379, the Benevolent Gesture Medical Professional Liability Act, also known as the Apology Act. The bill, which passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, returns to the House in the fall 2013 to pass the Senate’s version,...

Landmark False Claims Act Judgment Imposed For Stark Violations
, October 07, 2013
Tuomey Healthcare System is facing the largest False Claims Act verdict ever issued against a not-for-profit hospital. This ruling came on September 29, 2013, when the court ordered that Tuomey pay the sum of $237,454,195 to the United States government and qui tam relator, Michael L. Drakeford,...