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:
- Maternal fetal medicine
- Pediatric neurology
- Pediatric infectious disease
- Placental pathology
- Pediatric neuroradiology
- Life expectancy
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:
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,...
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...
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...
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,...