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Case Results

$4.2 million verdict; assault & battery

Our office received a judgment in which the plaintiff alleged that he had been stabbed, resulting in the eventual loss of his eye. The injury occurred when the plaintiff was trying to break up a fight at a party. The defendant pulled a knife as the plaintiff tried to separate him from another person. The plaintiff was stabbed in the eye, then was stabbed in the hand and neck as he tried to protect himself.

$3 million; motor vehicle accident

David Rifkin worked for a local man paralyzed beneath his waist when a tractor-trailer jackknifed and slammed into his truck. After filing suit the case was settled for $3 million through mediation and our diligent efforts.

$2.3 million verdict; assault & battery

Our office won a jury trial in Superior Court in which the plaintiff alleged she suffered damages from being raped by the defendant. The jury award with interest exceeded $2.3 million. This award was written up in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as one of the top 20 jury verdicts of that year.

$1.85 million; negligent prescription

Plaintiff, a resident of Swampscott, MA was prescribed an anti-malarial drug for discoid lupus (a skin rash) by a world-renowned dermatologist. He was to be monitored by an ophthalmologist because of the known complication of retinopathy (closing in of the field of vision and spots in the eye) Within months the patient indeed developed legal blindness. After being turned down by several law firms, possibly due to the defendant dermatologist’s reputation, two separate former clients referred the case to David Rifkin. The actual prescription failed to comport to the most recent studies that strongly suggested limiting the amount of the medication; and consequently, the patient was overdosed.

Within one year, on the eve of trial, Attorney Rifkin settled with the defendant dermatologist, the defendant ophthalmologist, and two pharmacies as well the drug manufacturer for a total of $1.85 million. It was purportedly the first medical malpractice case in Massachusetts to settle for in excess of one million dollars.

$1.5 million settlement: wrongful death.

The estate of a 59-year-old woman brought an action of the wrongful death of a woman who died from a pre-surgery diagnostic test which was performed negligently.

The matter settled for $1.5 Million prior to suit being filed.

$1 million; settlement for defective product

The plaintiff high school athlete was paralyzed while running back a kickoff when his helmeted head struck another player. The family contacted David Rifkin, who working with other counsel, obtained expert testimony from a Bio-mechanical engineer, as well as an engineer with experience in football helmet design and construction. Together they opined that the helmet did not protect the fragile cervical vertebrae in the plaintiff’s neck and that the helmet company had known of this foreseeable risk and that helmet warnings were necessary. The manufacturer’s failure to warn the general public, coaches, and players of the facts constituted a failure to warn of the known limited protective capabilities of the helmet; and therefore the manufacturer breached the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.

The plaintiff, who was initially completely paralyzed below the neck, through extensive physical therapy and wise use of his settlement to improve the quality of his life regained partial use of his upper body, arms, and thumbs, although his fingers and lower extremities remain paralyzed. He graduated from UMass Amherst, and is mobile via a wheelchair and drives a specially equipped van. He later coached and taught school as a substitute.

Years later during physical therapy, the therapist inadvertently caused a fracture which was missed by x-ray, later causing an infection. David Rifkin settled this case also for the client.

$1 million; failure to diagnose a stroke

Our office sought compensation for the injuries suffered by the plaintiff as a result of a failure to diagnose his right middle cerebral artery infarction. The 19-year-old man presented to the hospital on separate occasions complaining of severe headache, nausea, vomiting, and visual disturbances and was treated each time by the defendant doctor who negligently failed to obtain the appropriate diagnostic tests and instead sent the plaintiff home with a diagnosis of migraine headaches.

The defendant’s expert disputed liability and causation. The litigation was lengthy and contentious but we successfully settled the case one month before trial for $1 million dollars.

$0.5 million; premises liability

A telephone lineman stepped onto a manhole cover which collapsed. The cover was adjacent to a trailer park on state property. Attorney David Rifkin proved that the operator of the trailer park had improperly braced the cover. The injured lineman sustained a herniated neck disc. David Rifkin settled the case after the case was called for trial for $500,000.

$495k settlement: medical malpractice

An 82-year-old male was admitted to a VA facility on June 23rd. By July 7th his respiratory status had improved so the VA personnel decided to remove his breathing tube so he could breathe on his own without a ventilator. He was switched to a different respiratory assist device, a Bipap machine, so he could get more efficient oxygen service by a face mask. When this change occurred, the ventilator equipment was changed but the VA personnel failed to change the face mask as required, an unexplainable and fatal error…….

The wrong face mask was used for about 12 hours and the error was not discovered until the next morning just after 7 a.m. the man suffered a cardiac arrest minutes later and died later after he could not be resuscitated.

The case settled for $495,000.

$0.4 million; broken arm in an industrial accident

Our office represented a plaintiff who reported to his job as a pipe fitter. He was employed by a subcontractor on a large commercial construction job. He was instructed by the general contractor to modify heater cores and to place carpeting on the rubber grips on the bottom of the ladder to prevent scuff marks on the floor. There were witnesses that heard the general contractor’s supervisor yelling that any subcontractor who did not put carpeting on the feet of his ladder would be fined or thrown off the job and charged for the damage to the tile floor. Plaintiff wrapped all four legs of his eight-foot A-frame ladder with carpeting and secured the carpeting with duct tape. He soon fell from his ladder when the carpeting caused it to slip and he landed on this left side, fracturing his left forearm and wrist. He required two surgeries. We settled the case prior to the pre-trial conference for $400,000.

$0.4 million; failure to diagnose lung cancer

Our office represented a 62-year-old woman with a very significant history with cancer, who presented to her primary care doctor complaining of back and shoulder pain. The doctor ordered a mammogram and also ordered a chest x-ray, the focus of this claim. The report of the defendant radiologist indicated no concern for a mass. Plaintiff contended that the x-ray showed an obvious right paratracheal and hilar fullness that deserved attention. Six months later a CT of the chest showed a mass. The plaintiff died over one year later.

As the prognosis with this type of cancer is grim, the issue in the case became causation. With the chance of survival being only 10-15%, the plaintiff proceeded on a loss of chance theory, contending that while a diagnosis six months earlier would probably not have changed the outcome, the plaintiff did sustain a loss in that she would have had an improved chance of survival.

We settled the claim for $400,000.

$225k settlement: pedestrian accident

A young father was walking to his employment. As he walked in front of the gate of the TD Garden a beverage truck was exiting the lot. He waved the delivery truck on, however, the truck driver “gunned the vehicle” and its bumper caught the gate causing the gate to swing into the sidewalk and hit the plaintiff on his right side above his ankle and his right forearm as he shielded himself. When he woke the next day he was in substantial pain in his right knee. The MRI said there was a partial tear in his anterior cruciate ligament but the doctor had to dissect the Hoffa's fat pad under kneecap which was caused by the blunt trauma. The client had to wear a knee brace for approximately nine months and was unable to go to work and fortunately was able to work from home and had no lost wages.

The case settled for $225,000.

David Rifkin Law Offices have settled scores of cases between $100,000 and $350,000.

$0.95 million (with interest); jury verdict auto accident

The plaintiff was a passenger in a taxi that collided with a commercial truck. The taxi had minimal insurance and was 90% at fault, and the owner died prior to trial. The commercial vehicle was found to be 10% at fault and had the insurance coverage to pay the full verdict.

$0.8 million; failure to diagnose colon cancer

David Rifkin brought a medical malpractice action against the decedent’s primary care physician, contending that the doctor deviated from the standard of care for colon cancer screening and acute presentation.

The plaintiff’s decedent asserted that the defendant doctor provided inadequate colon cancer screening.

A colonoscopy, according to the plaintiff’s expert, would have revealed the mass in her cecum and detection at such an early stage would likely have prevented her death (and/or would have given her a substantially improved chance of survival.

$0.750 million; Construction Accident

Our office represented a carpenter who was employed by a subcontractor on a residential construction job involving the placement of steel beams. The plaintiff was told by the general contractor to get under two steel beams with his ladder to connect the first beam to second with nuts and bolts. The two beams were not flush and without any strap support. When the general contractor saw that the two pieces of steel were not flush at the top he told another worker to get a stick of 2 by 4 and place it under one of the steel beam ends and pull, causing the beam to crash down on Plaintiff.

We contended that during structural steel assembly the load should not be released until the members are secured with at least 2 bolts per connection to connect the beam. We maintained that the general contractor had a well established non-delegable responsibility for job site safety and his handling of the steel beams with the steel delivery company, the second defendant, with the straps removed and the ends not secured, directly caused the huge beam to fall on Plaintiff. We claimed that the driver of the steel truck was negligent in failing to ensure that the beams were safely placed and secured while the supervisor of the general contractor was negligent in supervising the job site.

Plaintiff was med-flighted for the crush injury to his leg. With daily foot swelling and unable to get any relief from the daily pain that went from his right toes to his right hip, the Plaintiff underwent the surgical insertion of a spinal cord stimulator. He did not suffer a fracture of any bone.

The office settled the case with both defendants before the Pre-trial for $750,000.

$700k settlement: medical malpractice/auto accident

A young woman was in a car accident in January. During the time that she was treated, she was rear-ended in a second accident which was not her fault. She then went to a pain management doctor who injected a steroid into her neck which was alleged to have impinged on her spinal cord causing her a cervical spinal cord injury with gait disorder, chronic pain as well as left foot drop and sensory loss in her left foot. Causation was contested as the doctor claimed that her injuries were from the motor vehicle accident. …..

The malpractice case settled at trial for $500,000. The auto accident case settled for $200,000 prior to trial for a total settlement of $700,000.

$0.675 million; negligent abdominal surgery

Our office represented a 45-year-old resident of western Massachusetts, who underwent a laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. In the days following the procedure, she experienced urine leakage into the abdomen and a CT scan revealed a perforated colon. One week after the initial surgery the plaintiff went back to the operating room and underwent a repair for a perforated sigmoid colon, resulting in the need for a colostomy bag, and repair of the ureter, resulting in the need for a nephrostomy tube. Just over one year later the plaintiff underwent surgery to reverse the colostomy and repair her ureter and she is now healthy without any expected further complications.

We settled this matter for $675,000 without filing suit, a rare result in a medical malpractice case.

$0.6 million; negligent hip surgery

David Rifkin represented a North Shore resident who underwent a primary left total hip arthroplasty for osteoarthritis. The hip soon dislocated, and the treating orthopedist then performed a closed reduction. After a period of rehabilitation, the plaintiff sustained additional dislocations and the attending physician performed another closed reduction and inserted a “longer neck”, discharging the patient with an infection. The plaintiff’s hip and infection worsened and three weeks later she was admitted back into the hospital for management of the infection. She was required to undergo treatment for the MRSA infection, after which the subsequent treating physician removed the hip replacement and left the plaintiff without a hip for approximately four months, requiring her to use a wheelchair.

The plaintiff contended that the defendant surgeon made an initial serious mistake in the placement of the apparatus, affixing it too high into the bone instead of keeping it the level of the socket, therefore effectively destroying the function and weight-bearing component of the acetabulum, causing the dislocations. The plaintiff further contended that the defendant physician’s second mistake was not to call in a consulting expert at the time of the first dislocation, but instead opted to place the apparatus at an even higher location, causing even further wobbling, dislocation, and loss of muscle tension as well as causing further dislocations.

Plaintiff contended that the doctor further mismanaged her infection by not aggressively treating it, causing long term harm to the plaintiff by compromising her abduction muscles.

The defendant’s expert disputed liability and causation. David Rifkin settled this claim for $600,000 through mediation without a lawsuit being filed.

$0.5 million; failure to diagnose breast cancer

Our office represented a woman who had developed breast cancer. The attorney filed suit and alleged that the defendant doctor was negligent in failing to identify a mass. The case settled prior to trial for $500,000.

$0.5 million; failure to diagnose coronary artery disease

The surviving spouse brought this medical malpractice claim after her 60-year-old husband died from a myocardial infarction. The decedent presented to his Primary Care Physician for an annual physical exam. The medical records indicated that the decedent mentioned that he had chest pressure to the defendant doctor. Defendant failed to order an EKG or other diagnostic tests for coronary artery disease. The decedent had a myocardial infarction and died three weeks later. We settled the case through mediation one month before the pre-trial.

$350,000; failure to diagnose heart attack

Our office represented a 32-year-old male who went to the emergency room at a local hospital and described to the defendant emergency room physician that he had substernal chest pressure radiating to his jaw and down his left arm. Plaintiff had a history of ominous cardiac risk factors including hypertriglyceridemia, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, a positive family history for coronary artery disease, and a type “A” personality. The Defendant failed to make the diagnosis of an impending myocardial infarction, failed to administer thrombolytic agents, heparin, and/or intravenous nitrates, and failed to secure an emergency cardiology consultation or to admit the Plaintiff to the CCU as was indicated. Instead, the plaintiff was sent home. Five hours later, the Plaintiff returned to the emergency room presented with similar complaints to the same defendant doctor and was admitted to the hospital. After stabilization, the Plaintiff was transferred to another hospital at his request. The plaintiff had cardiac bypass surgery four months later.

The Defendant claimed that he was not negligent in diagnosing the heart attack and that no damage resulted from the five-hour delay, as supported by the subsequent tests which showed no evidence of ischemia.

We settled the claim one week before trial for $350,000.

Jury Verdict for Emotional Distress

A well-known doctor caused a young mother to be restrained and sectioned to a hospital for mental evaluation based solely on the word of her husband whose father was a friend of the doctor, contrary to the Massachusetts statute that has specific laws that sanction such actions by a doctor. The jury found for the client against the doctor after a two-week trial. The jury verdict was less than what was offered as a settlement while the jury deliberated with the lesson that a settlement is often better than winning at trial.