After a five-day trial, on March 1, 2019, a Virginia jury found Corey C. Burgoyne, DMD, an oral surgeon, liable for breaching the standard of care and negligently injuring her patient. While performing wisdom tooth surgery on a twelve-year-old child, Dr. Burgoyne cut the child’s lingual nerve in half. As a result of her lingual nerve injury, the child will have lifelong sensory issues with her tongue and intermittent pain. The verdict was returned against Dr. Burgoyne and her practice, Blue Ridge Oral Surgery.
Bartoli Cain Wason’s founding partner, Michele Bartoli Cain, represented the patient and her family for many years working to bring this medical malpractice case to justice. She tried the case with Wally Wason and Tony Russell of Michie Hamlett. The case was defended very aggressively. There were multiple depositions taken, and surveillance was conducted of the minor plaintiff. The defendant’s insurer, OMSNIC, even brought an out-of-state defense lawyer specialist in to take over the lead counsel role in the defense from a large Virginia defense firm.
Litigation costs for the family in this case were more than one hundred thousand dollars. We inquired prior to trial whether the case could be settled reasonably and save a significant portion of those costs. We were told that the defense had no interest in settlement. It was a no-offer case. Therefore, we were very pleased for the family when the jury returned a sizeable verdict, which more than justified the expenditure of those costs.
CASE RESULTS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASES UNDERTAKEN.
Bartoli Cain Wason, PLLC congratulates its founding partner, Michele Bartoli Cain, for being chosen once again as one of Washington, DC’s Best Lawyers in the field of Personal Injury by Washingtonian Magazine. According to the publication, the editors’ list, which appeared in the December 2018 issue, began with a survey of the nearly 1,000 attorneys recognized in all fields of practice on the 2016 list of Best Lawyers, asking whom they consider the best among their peers. The editors then added more research and reporting, contacted still more lawyers, and read up on notable recent successes of the local bar in order to arrive at the final list. Michele was one of only nine female attorneys in her practice area to earn this recognition.
On January 21, 2019, Virginia Lawyers Weekly published its list of Virginia’s Largest Verdicts of 2018. Virginia Lawyers Weekly identified 19 trials in Virginia last year, in which the jury returned a verdict of one million dollars or more. Bartoli Cain Wason, PLLC lawyers served as the attorneys for the plaintiff in two of those nineteen cases. Both were malpractice cases involving nerve injuries. One was tried in Alexandria. The other was in Arlington. Bartoli Cain Wason is currently representing multiple other patients who have suffered nerve injuries, in many jurisdictions across the Commonwealth of Virginia. We welcome new clients or referrals of similar matters.
On January 3, 2013, the defendant oral surgeon undertook to perform an extraction of an impacted first molar, along with remaining wisdom teeth. At age 32, the patient was already old for the procedure, and was asymptomatic, but he had been advised by his general dentist to have an oral surgery consultation on three separate occasions. The procedure was high risk due to the patient’s age and contraindicated due to the intimate proximity of the first molar tooth root to the inferior alveolar nerve. In trying to extract the roots of the first molar, the oral surgeon caused a traumatic tear injury to the inferior alveolar nerve. The patient suffers from a disabling traumatic trigeminal neuropathy with significant allodynia requiring 23 pills/day to knock his pain level down from 10/10 to 7/10. He has tried everything to be cured of his injury, including neurrorhaphy, attempted implantation of a nerve stimulator and a brain surgery, but nothing has helped. Despite all this, he has a wonderful attitude and made a fantastic and deserving witness. His past medical bills were approximately $309,000 and future medical expenses projected to be approximately $1.2M. The jury deliberated more than nine hours over two days before returning a verdict for plaintiff of $1,879,721.00 (One million eight hundred seventy-nine thousand seven hundred and twenty-one dollars). Before trial, we tried to settle the case at mediation, but the oral surgeon’s insurance company only offered $125,000.
Our client was a sixty-three-year-old male professional. He was referred by his general dentist to an oral specialist to assess and treat an oral lesion with an appearance consistent with potential cancer. The oral specialist assumed that the oral lesion was not cancerous but only benign periodontal disease. Over the course of 17 months, the oral specialist never performed any type of tissue biopsy, choosing instead to prescribe approximately 12 courses of antibiotics and 9 courses of pain medication, and performing multiple debridement procedures and extractions. The lesion did not heal, and, upon the patient’s insistence, he was eventually referred to an oral surgeon for a biopsy. The oral surgeon immediately performed a biopsy of the lesion, and pathologic examination determined that it was oral cancer. A work-up found that his cancer had spread throughout his body leading to a diagnosis of Stage IV squamous cell carcinoma. He underwent jaw surgery bilaterally to remove the invasive tumor, and required a fibulectomy to rebuild the jaw. Thereafter, he underwent radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. He could not undertake nutrition by mouth. He had to live with a feeding tube and a PICC line. He could not return to work and suffered recurrence of his metastatic oral cancer requiring additional chemotherapy and radiation, with a poor prognosis. The case settled at mediation following the disclosure of experts.