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PERSONAL INJURY, Product Liability

SETTLEMENT RESULT: $312, 500 paid to Plaintiff

CASE: I.D. Confidential.

SETTLEMENT DATE: 2000

ATTORNEYS: Plaintiff- Barri Kaplan Bonapart (Bonapart & Associates, Sausalito)
Defendant- William Weston (Weston & Herzog, North Hollywood)

EXPERTS: Plaintiff- Thaddeus John Whalen, Damages Expert
Mark Cohen, Pacific Economic Consultants, Lafayette

FACTS & CONTENTIONS: Plaintiff was a midwife at Kaiser Hospital in San Jose, CA. While performing a procedure on a patient and supporting herself on the lower portion of the patient’s birthing bed, as was standard practice, Plaintiff was thrown back onto the floor and into a steel instrument table, crushing her tailbone, as a result of bed’s collapse. Investigation showed that two supporting metal posts of the birthing bed had come out of their frame, causing the collapse. Plaintiff was diagnosed with coccygeal contusion, lumber sprain, an annular tear at L3-4 with moderate desiccation of the disc material and a mild, diffuse spurring and disc bulging at L4-5. She also had a large herniation which was compressing her spinal cord.

Plaintiff experienced severe pain and limited mobility, and was prescribed medication as well as a physical therapy regimen. She was put on a modified work schedule, in which she worked fewer hours and performed tasks that earned her less pay. During work, she reinjured herself and was thus set back even further. Because of Plaintiff’s continued discomfort and disabilities, she incurred high medical costs, loss of earnings, and increases in necessary child care. It was also extremely unlikely that Plaintiff would ever be able to return to her duties as a practicing midwife.

The complaint was filed against Defendant, the manufacturer of the birthing bed. Plaintiff claimed damages for medical costs, lost wages, lost earning capacity, increased child care costs, emotional distress, and loss of consortium for her husband.

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