Claire Neiger defended a hospital in week-long trial in which significant damages were alleged due to the hospital’s alleged negligence in allowing the plaintiff to roll off a stretcher in the stress lab. Plaintiff, a 50 year old female physical education teacher, claimed a cochlear concussion with severe hearing loss in her right ear requiring the use of a hearing aid, and a complete tear of her right rotator cuff, confirmed by MRI, from the fall off the stretcher. For damages, plaintiff presented a neurologist for the neck and rotator cuff tear and two ENT specialists to testify that Plaintiff’s hearing loss was severe, permanent, and caused by the fall. Plaintiff alleged three months loss of work and ongoing inability to teach dance and coach’s women’s basketball. Prior to trial, Plaintiff demanded $2.7 million dollars.
The hospital asserted a defense based on lack of notice of a fall risk and comparative negligence, but did not retain a liability expert. The hospital presented an ENT expert to dispute Plaintiff’s hearing loss and an orthopedic surgeon to refute causation of the torn rotator cuff. The jury awarded $37,000 (her medical bills and wage loss only) which was reduced by her 50% comparative negligence to $18,500. No appeal was filed.