Nov 23 2017

Trial Verdict 2017-34: Morrison Mahoney Partner Peter Knight

Morrison Mahoney Partner Peter Knight, after more than 125 successful jury trials, marked his last appearance at bar with a defense verdict from the New Bedford Superior Court.

The jury rendered a defense verdict of no negligence in a wrongful death, medical malpractice case against an interventional cardiologist. The jury reached its verdict in a dramatic reposte to the plaintiff’s counsel’s closing in which he sought $2.5 in damages. The plaintiff, the decedent’s widow, claimed that following cardiac catheterization, the defendant failed to appreciate the decedent’s cardiac distress and should have had him immediately admitted to the hospital or implanted with a defibrillator. The decedent, a long-time smoker, with triple lipid disease, was allowed to go home after the catheterization, and later that weekend passed away while sleeping, with the death certificate stating cardiorespiratory arrest. The plaintiff claimed that if her husband had been admitted to the hospital after the catheterization, he could have received monitoring, and referral to a cardiothoracic surgeon for possible urgent surgical intervention.

Peter’s final final argument, after the week-long trial, led the jurors away from the plaintiff’s expert, who claimed the standard of care requires “fixing everything” even if there’s no benefit to doing so. Peter carefully guided the jurors through the testimony of the defendant’s experts in interventional cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, who opined that certain blockages should not have been stented or bypassed because the artery fed already dead tissue from the prior heart attack or they were too small to be stinted or bypassed. The plaintiff’s expert cardiologist admitted under cross-examination that he did not have the qualifications to comment on the indications, technique, or effectiveness of angioplasty or coronary bypass which he contended should have been offered. Peter also demonstrated that the expert’s diagram of the heart was misleading. 

Peter is very grateful to Stephen Orlando, Ronna Nesselle, and, Jackie Welch, second chair at trial.

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