Lawrence Rosenblatt and team obtain defense verdict in Westchester County involving claims of life-long injuries to a three-month-old infant and 25-million dollar demand.

After a trial that being with jury selection in mid-March, followed by three weeks of an aggressive prosecution at trial by plaintiff’s counsel, on April 5, 2024, trial partner Lawrence Rosenblatt and associate Sara Silverhardt were able to secure a defense verdict on behalf of a pediatric gastroenterologist  in Westchester County.

Plaintiff claimed that there was a failure to consider an anorectal malformation (severe anal stenosis) in a three-month-old infant seen by the defendant for constant regurgitation and, it was alleged, active constipation since beginning thickened feeds with oatmeal three weeks prior. It was also claimed that photographs taken before and after the subject visit demonstrated chronic abdominal distention which, when combined with the alleged presenting complaints, should have led to a  differential diagnosis of anorectal malformation. Plaintiff claimed that such differential should have mandated the performance of a digital rectal examination, which would have discovered the severe anal stenosis, avoiding a 12-week delay in diagnosis during, plaintiff claimed, there was severe constipation leading to colonic neuropathy, and a ‘loss of chance’ of the infant regaining complete continence by three years of age (the infant now almost six years of age). Plaintiff claimed that, as a result of this delay, the infant-plaintiff would never achieve a ‘leak-free life’, would require life-long bowel management, up to three additional surgeries, and have lifetime psychological issues. The plaintiff asked the jury to award damages in excess of 25-million dollars.

At trial, Lawrence was able to demonstrate, and thereafter argue during summation, that: the infant-plaintiff likely had other relevant congenital anomalies at birth associated with her condition, including a megarectum and recto-vaginal fistula; that the purpose of the pediatric GI visit was only for an upper-GI related issue (not active constipation); that photographs taken more than two days after the subject visit were not probative of whether abdominal distention existed on the day of the visit, and that bloating seen on a photograph 56 hours after the visit was caused by intermittent gas, not excessive accumulation of feces in the rectum and colon. Lawrence, in conjunction with his co-defendant, vigorously challenged all of plaintiffs’ experts, and presented well-credentialed experts to refute plaintiffs’ claims, including a world-renown pediatric surgeon, who operated on the infant and had never testified in court in his 40-year career.

Following over three hours of summations by all parties, the jury was given the case late in the day, and the following day, after approximately three total hours of deliberations, rendered a 6-0 finding of no liability as to Lawrence’s client, as well as a 6-0 finding of no liability as to the co-defendant medical practice.

We want to note a special appreciation to the named insured, who prepared diligently with Lawrence for trial, as well as the carrier, for having the faith in ARFD to try this high-exposure matter to verdict, the first trial in New York for this carrier.