POC Obtains Unanimous Defense Verdict in Marathon 6 Week Trial

In April 2019, Judge Terry Green in Department 14 of the Los Angeles Superior Court presided over the trial of James Batchelder in which he sued over 18 physicians who had treated him over several years for complaints of unrelenting back pain, including the Chief of Spine Surgery at UCLA (POC’s client), various radiologists, orthopedic spine surgeons, neurosurgeons, and primary care physicians.  Bob Packer and Paul Corson defended the case.  In the midst of this, UCLA performed a diagnostic test not previously tried which suggested a fracture of the pars at L-5.  A relatively simple, non-instrumented fusion with the use of bone morphogenetic protein was used in the course of the surgery.  Plaintiff initially did well, and then regressed, and terminated his relationship with UCLA.  Plaintiff then experienced severe flank pain, forcing him to the ER where a diagnosis of a large kidney stone was made.  It was surgically removed, and plaintiff initially felt better, but soon returned to his refractory back pain with no organic cause determinable.  In part, plaintiff sued many defendants due to imaging studies clearly revealing the presence of the stone.  However, that finding was never disclosed to plaintiff.  All defendants claimed that they were aware of the incidental finding of the stone or imaging performed for low back diagnosis, but the patient’s signs and symptoms were inconsistent with those associated with kidney stone impaction in the ureter.  At trial, all but five defendants settled or were dismissed.  The demand to POC’s client was never less than $1.5 Million.  At trial, plaintiff asked the jury to award about $5 Million in economic and non-economic damages.   On April 24, 2019, the verdict, rendered in less than two hours after closing arguments, was 12-0 that no defendant was negligent.  POC’s cost bill of over $200,000 was approved by the court and now is a judgment against plaintiff.