Charles R. “Chuck” Mullins handles personal injury and accident lawsuits in Jackson, Hinds County Mississippi and all over the state. One of the saddest times in a lawyer’s career is when he has to handle a case involving an injured baby. Below is a story about a lawyer fighting for justice for an injured infant.
In what’s believed to be the largest personal injury lawsuit verdict in the history of the Capital Region, a state Supreme Court jury in Saratoga County awarded $43.5 million Thursday to a woman who sued the former Bellevue Maternity Hospital in Niskayuna for severe brain damage she suffered during her birth in 1984.
Tiffany Busone, 24, of Schoharie County, sued the hospital for malpractice, arguing she suffered cerebral palsy as a result of a lack of oxygen and a failure to properly resuscitate her during her birth on July 15, 1984, according to people familiar with the lawsuit. She was deprived of oxygen for 10 to 15 minutes, they said.
While Busone has above-average intelligence and earned a degree from Arizona State University, she uses a wheelchair and lacks motor skills due to the brain damage, the sources said.
The lawsuit, initially filed by the woman’s mother, J. Tracy Busone, dates to 1984 when the family lived in Saratoga County.
It is believed to be the largest local verdict in a personal injury case. A news release from O’Connell and Aronowitz, the Albany law firm that represented Busone, called it the top personal injury verdict “in the history of upstate New York.”
The six-member jury of three men and three women unanimously handed up the verdict in a trial before state Supreme Court Justice Stephen A. Ferradino early Thursday afternoon.
The payments break down into $20 million to pay for home health aides, another $15 million for future pain and suffering, $6 million for past pain and suffering and the balance for medical expenses and loss of earnings, the law firm said.
Busone will always require the use of a wheelchair, care of home health aides and medical equipment and will never be able to work to support herself financially, the firm said.
“This is an astounding verdict,” attorney Stephen Coffey, who tried the case for Busone alongside attorney Robert Harris, said in a phone interview.
“This verdict supports what she always thought … that Bellevue didn’t do what they were supposed to do,” Coffey said.
Bellevue Maternity Hospital, now know as Bellevue Woman’s Center, is part of Ellis Medicine, the Schenectady hospital system that runs Ellis Hospital in Schenectady.
Donna Evans, a spokeswoman for Ellis Medicine, noted Bellevue has been within the Ellis system since the fall of 2007. Ellis Medicine, she said, has “no knowledge or involvement in the events that occurred” more than 24 years ago.
“Ellis was not a party to this case,” she said.
Sources close to the case said the former hospital was willing to agree to a “high-low” agreement in which it would pay $2 million maximum, if it lost the case — or, if it prevailed, as little as $300,000.
An attorney representing defendant Bellevue could not be reached for comment.
If you or a loved one has suffered an accident please call Chuck Mullins.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.