Health Care Professionals

Goldberg Segalla attorneys have a long and successful history of defending physicians, hospitals, nurses, physician's assistants and other health care professionals. In fact, a number of our seasoned litigators have medical backgrounds, including a former registered nurse and a former paramedic. They put that experience to use in the courtroom.

Our trial-tested litigators have defended claims of obstetrical malpractice, improper surgical technique, neurologic misdiagnosis, psychiatric treatment and a variety of hospital in-patient claims. They have tried to verdict scores of medical malpractice cases. These years of experience have helped us develop an extremely valuable database of expert witnesses to call upon and of experts commonly retained by plaintiff's attorneys. This database is essential in developing effective cross-examination of opposing expert witnesses based upon testimony they have given in other cases.

Our attorneys are deeply involved with the constant refinement of their trial technique and knowledge of current medical science with service on the Steering Committee of the Defense Research Institute's Health & Medical Liability Committee, which has over 2000 members nationally. They have spoken at its national annual conference to hundreds of trial attorneys and health industry professionals on the subject of advanced trial technique in the defense of medical malpractice cases.

The cases we have handled have made new law upon which future cases will be decided. We tried the case of Kambat v. St. Francis Hospital, the leading case citation in New York's Pattern Jury Instructions on the subject of res ipsa loquitor, a legal concept applied when an unintended medical outcome can ostensibly have no explanation other than professional error. Although the first jury unanimously found in favor of our client, on appeal to New York's highest court the case was remanded for a second trial to be conducted with the res ipsa loquitor jury instruction, which essentially tells a jury to find for the plaintiff if the medical outcome could only be explained by medical error. On retrial, a second jury also unanimously found for our client. The case was considered significant enough to receive front page treatment in the New York Law Journal, New York's leading law publication, and to be addressed in tort law textbooks used in law school curricula. In another case which received national media attention, we defended a hospital at which a nurse had euthanized extremely ill elderly patients and was convicted and imprisoned. The hospital's liability for these actions turned upon its supervision and knowledge of the activities of the nurse, and we directed the in-house investigation which was essential to establishing defenses to the multiple wrongful death claims.

Our lawyers work with the leading medical expert witnesses in the United States while developing defenses for our clients. For example, in a recent case we retained a leading neurologist who had previously been retained by the State of Florida as its independent medical expert in the widely publicized Terri Schiavo 'right to die' life support case. The central issue in our case, in which we represented a major medical center, turned upon this expert's testimony and represented a potential multi-million dollar swing in the jury verdict, depending upon whether the patient could receive an award for conscious pain and suffering. The use of this expert was critical in demonstrating the absence of cognition. These issues are representative of the complexity of the cases our health care clients entrust to us.

We anticipate the manner in which the development of widespread use of electronic patient records, HIPAA law and health insurer subrogation claims may impact our clients and counsel them so they are prepared for the effects of these changes in the health care industry. We volunteer to teach medical students at medico-legal seminars to advance their knowledge of their legal obligations, for the benefit of their patients and their practices. In short, we are active in every important aspect of the advancement of current medico-legal thinking and our attorneys bring that to bear for the benefit of every client we have the privilege to represent.

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Leadership and Action

To put our philosophy and commitment into practice, we have a Diversity Task Force, which includes our Managing Partner, in place to conceptualize and implement diversity-focused programs as well as give diversity a voice in our decision-making at the highest level. The individuals on this task force share the firm’s strong commitment to increasing the diversity, and they use their unique experiences and backgrounds to support and advance that goal. The team meets regularly to create programs, schedule events, establish diversity initiatives both inside and outside of the firm, set long-term goals, and develop the strategy to recruit and retain people from diverse backgrounds.

The Chair of our Diversity Task Force, Joseph M. Hanna, has spearheaded numerous diversity initiatives in various organizations and outreach programs, serves on several diversity-related committees, and is a frequent author and speaker on diversity. Among other positions, he is Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Minority Trial Lawyer Committee and its Special Committee on Human Rights, Editor-in-Chief of the ABA’sMinority Trial Lawyer, a 2014 Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), a past President of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York (MBAWNY), current President of the MBAWNY Foundation, and the Diversity Liaison for several committees at the 22,000-member Defense Research Institute (DRI).

Each summer, Goldberg Segalla proudly welcomes interns through a formal Diversity Clerkship Program that was conceived by Joe while he served as President of the MBAWNY. The program was developed in collaboration with the MBAWNY and the SUNY Buffalo Law School to provide opportunities for minority UB Law students to gain firsthand experience in the legal system. Since it was launched in 2011, the program has placed more than 80 students in clerkships in area courts as well as in several area law firms, with more judges and law firms asking to participate every day. It provides participants with an in-depth look at the legal process and the interaction between the bench and the bar that they would not otherwise get. At our firm, a dedicated team of partners monitors the work of these law clerks and ensures they obtain valuable experience to help develop important legal research, writing, case management, and client service skills critical to their long-term success. Our program earned the firm the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s 2012 George B. Vashon Innovator Award.

We also have sponsored Success in the City, an annual diversity networking and mentoring event developed by Joe that brought together students, legal and business professionals, educators, nonprofits, and political leaders to make lasting partnerships. Many employment, business, and mentoring relationships resulted from this event. Past events have drawn more than 500 political and business leaders, legal professionals, and students. Success in the City has influenced the development of similar programs in Baltimore, Cleveland, Birmingham, Dallas, and elsewhere.

Goldberg Segalla also demonstrates leadership inside our firm and throughout the legal community specifically focused on the advancement of women. As a complement to our Diversity Task Force, we have developed a formal Women’s Initiative — a firm-wide movement designed to spark opportunities, develop mentoring relationships, promote leadership, plan events, and support the advancement of women in legal, management, and administrative contexts.

Our firm is committed to spreading the message throughout the broad legal and business communities that embracing diversity contributes to greater overall success. We conduct training sessions for in-house counsel at Fortune 500 corporations on increasing and promoting diversity.  Our attorneys have authored articles and delivered presentations on diversity for various legal organizations, including the Defense Research Institute and the American Bar Association, and our efforts and accomplishments in this area have been profiled in publications such as Law360, the New York State Bar Association’s State Bar NewsBusiness First of Buffalo, the Buffalo Law Journal, and others.

In one recent example of our work to provide inspiration and raise awareness of diversity and women’s issues in the legal community, Caroline Berdzik, a partner in our Princeton office and a member of our Women’s Initiative Leadership Committee, spoke to Law360 for the publication’s “Female Powerbrokers” series. In the interview, Caroline discussed her career, the challenges of being a woman at a senior level at a law firm, the work-family life balance, and the importance of taking risks. She also offered guidance to female attorneys on moving their careers forward and advice to law firms on both increasing the number of women partners and retaining top female talent. Her longtime advocacy for women (at her previous firm, she served on the Women’s Business Development Committee and was a member of what became the national Women’s Presidents Organization) helped earn her a spot on the 2015 NJBIZ list of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business.

Joe Hanna also was featured by Law360 in its “Minority Powerbrokers” series, in which he shared his perspective on breaking the glass ceiling in the legal industry, the challenges of being a lawyer of color at a senior level, how law firms can increase diversity in their partner ranks, and Goldberg Segalla’s core commitment to diversity.


Goldberg Segalla is proud to be a member of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association Firm Affiliate Network, which was created by the MCCA to assist and acknowledge law firms that are committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

We are also a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), a national organization of leaders in law firms and corporate legal departments dedicated to creating a truly diverse legal profession. As noted earlier, Joe Hanna was a Fellow of the LCLD in 2014. In this position, he played a critical role in organizing the first-ever New York City LCLD Fellows Roundtable event, and he was instrumental in establishing a mentorship program in Hartford for local diverse first-year law students.

We support the diversity efforts of numerous organizations, including:

  • American Bar Association
  • Asian American Bar Association of New York
  • Columbian Lawyers Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Korean American Association of Greater New York
  • League of First Nations
  • Minority Bar Association of Western New York
  • National Bar Association
  • Native American Rights Fund
  • National Association of Asian American Professionals
  • National Congress of American Indians
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Seneca Free Trade Association
  • SUNY Buffalo Law School
  • Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York

Our outreach efforts led to the creation of a comprehensive database of more than 500 minority law organizations throughout the United States. Contact between these organizations takes place in anticipation of bringing CLE and legal programs together. This group of minority bar associations includes both local and national organizations, such as:

  • National Association of Women Lawyers
  • National Association of Muslim Lawyers
  • Hispanic National Bar Association
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar
  • Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
  • South Asian Bar Association of Philadelphia
  • Vietnamese American Bar Association of North Carolina
A Talented and Diverse Team

Diversity is further evident within our firm through the many languages and dialects our team speaks, including Arabic, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Malayalam, Mandarin, Marathi, Norwegian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, and Urdu.

Goldberg Segalla’s culture is one that values team-spiritedness, collegiality, and interpersonal harmony within our working community. We are a firm that believes in diversity in the workplace, and we are proud to offer a professional and positive work environment for each and every member of our team.

On these values, and on our commitment to diversity, we will never waver. We are proud of what we have accomplished thus far, but we also realize that this is a long-term mission. We will continue to innovate and to improve diversity in law and business — both within Goldberg Segalla and across the communities in which we live and work.

Diversity Matters — Join the Conversation

If you have questions regarding any of the firm’s diversity initiatives or would like to discuss ideas regarding increasing diversity in the legal profession, please contact Joe Hanna (716.566.5447; or another member of our Diversity Task Force: