Very recently, last week in fact, I wrote an introductory blog about the many reasons it’s so difficult to win a medical malpractice lawsuit. An appeals court in New Jersey this week has stricken down a $1.25 million settlement after it found the terms of the settlement were not agreed by the Defense.
As stated in the last blog, a settlement can be proposed at any stage of the malpractice process but it doesn’t have to be accepted. In this case the plaintiff, known in documents as 'V.M.' was in the case of a man who was born with a strep infection and because of that developed cerebral palsy. In 2009, his mother who is also his caretaker, filed suit against multiple physicians citing deviations from the standard of accepted care.
After the initial settlement had been reached the Judge, Superior Court’s Joseph Quinn, sought counsel with an attorney who had dealt with the disbursement in cases where the plaintiff was disabled or underage. This attorney recommended that a trust be set up and funded through an annuity with Murphy as sole trustee. It also advised $30,000 to be used at the start for housing and transportation necessities.
The defendants were not a part of these discussions nor did they agree to the settlement terms. They appealed the decision based on a 2007 ruling from the Appellate Division. ‘Impink v. Reyes’ states that the courts inherent powers do not allow the judge to change the terms of a settlement without the parties consent.
As you can imagine this is a very unique case and deserves to be examined. If nothing else is taken from this blog, let it serve as reminder of the intense journey that a medical malpractice case can be. The plaintiff in the case was born in 1993, he filed suit in 2009 and the settlement was reached in 2015 with still no final resolution. This is long and draining process.
The appellate court has ordered the parties partake in a case management conference within 30 days. In an unsigned opinion they said at that stage “If a final enforceable settlement with all material terms is attained, it shall be reduced to writing and presented to the trial court for review at a renewed friend hearing. At such a hearing, the court’s sole options will be either to approve the negotiated terms, or reject them as not being in V.M.’s best interests.”
Hopefully this will all end with the best outcome for the plaintiff who suffered due to malpractice. If you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice, we at the Simon Law Group would be happy to help you. Call today for a free consultation.
If you are seeking representation for a medical malpractice case, call today for a free consultation 800-709-1131 or fill out a contact form on our website for a no-cost consultation.We hope to hear from you today!