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Christopher L. Smith - Trial C.V.

Trial Attorney: Christopher Smith and Susan Schmid for Defendant
Case No: SC027649
Court: Los Angeles County Superior Court – Central District
Judge: Hon. Ernest George Williams
Dates: October, 1994
Summary

Plaintiff alleged he suffered testicular atrophy and impotency as a result of a negligently performed surgical repair of an inguinal hernia. Defendant contended the surgery was properly performed, that plaintiff was advised of the risks prior to surgery, that testicular atrophy is a known complication of inguinal hernia repair which occurs in the absence of negligence and any impotency issues experienced by plaintiff were unrelated to the surgery.

Demand: None
Offer: Waiver of Costs
Verdict: Defense Verdict
 
Trial Attorney: Christopher Smith for Respondent
Case No: BC112493 – Stayed and referred for private arbitration.
Court: Los Angeles County Superior Court / Private Arbitration
Arbitrator: Hon. Robert A. Wenke
Dates: April 1996
Summary

Plaintiff alleged defendant was negligent in performing surgical repair of tendons in his dominant hand which had been lacerated in an industrial injury and was also negligent in providing postoperative management, resulting in adhesion formation which prevented plaintiff from fully flexing his thumb. Defendant contended both the surgery and postoperative treatment complied with the standard of care and any compromise of function was attributable to the industrial injury itself.

Demand: $249,000.00
Offer: Waiver of Costs
Verdict: Plaintiff's Award of $87,000.00
 
Trial Attorney: Christopher Smith for Defendant
Case No: Citation No. 1938
Court: Ventura County Superior Court
Judge: Hon. William L. Peck
Dates: October, 1997
Summary

Defendant owner/operator of an independent bar was cited under newly enacted anti-smoking statute for permitting smoking in his establishment. Defendant contended that he was not aware that patrons were smoking because he was in the back store room and that upon returning to the bar immediately asked those who were smoking to extinguish their cigarettes.

Demand: None
Offer: None
Verdict: Conviction with a reduced fine.
 
Trial Attorney: Reed Smith and Christopher Smith for Respondent
Case No: None.
Court: Private Arbitration
Arbitrator: Ted Hammond
Dates: 1999
Summary

Claimant was a member of Kaiser Permanente in the 1960's when he was involved in a solo-MVA. The turn indicator pierced his orbital socket and unbeknownst to plaintiff and his care providers at the time, a portion of the plastic knob broke away from the indicator armature and wedged against his the cribriform plate. Plaintiff entered the military and later joined the California Highway Patrol patrolling the high desert in Antelope Valley where he again became a member of Kaiser-Permanente. Plaintiff had frequent sinus complaints over a period of years and despite plain film x- rays having been taken of his sinuses the retained plastic knob remained undetected until plaintiff suffered a grand mal seizure. Thereafter, advanced imaging studies identified the foreign object which was surgically removed via craniotomy with surgical revision and repair of the cribriform plate.

Claimant alleged that the workup of his long standing sinus complaints did not comply with the standard of care which required a head CT scan or other advanced imaging study be obtained and that had such a study been done the diagnosis would have been made at an earlier time. Respondent contended that acute sinus complaints are common in the high desert for which an advanced imaging study was not indicated and that the standard of care was complied with at all times. Respondent further contended that any delay in detecting the presence of the foreign body caused no harm because so long as the patient was asymptomatic it was unlikely surgical intervention would be undertaken.

Demand: $250,000
Offer: None.
Verdict: Respondent Award
 
Trial Attorney: Christopher Smith and Bruce Miller for Respondent
Case No: None.
Court: Private Arbitration
Arbitrator: Rich Cahill
Dates: 1999
Summary

Claimant suffered an apparent seizure while at work and was evaluated by Kaiser's neurology service. She was not placed on anti-convulsant medication due to current pregnancy and a the possibility she actually fainted due to restricted blood flow, secondary to late stage pregnancy rather than a seizure. Claimant was counseled not to operate a motor vehicle, but no report was submitted to DMV by Kaiser's care providers. Claimant delivered her child and received follow-up neurology care. She suffered a repeat seizure while driving, resulting in a motor vehicle accident. Claimant alleged she had never been told not to operate a motor vehicle and, in fact, her physician told her that she may operate a motor vehicle. Claimant contended the standard of care required she be told not to operate a motor vehicle and that a report of the seizure be submitted to the DMV. Claimant further contended that had she been properly counseled and/or the seizure reported to DMV, her license would have been suspended and/or revoked and she would have voluntarily refrained from driving, thereby avoiding the motor vehicle accident. Respondent contended Claimant had been counseled not to operate a motor vehicle and had never been told it was safe for her to resume driving. Respondent further contended a report was not submitted to DMV because the clinical history did not establish she had suffered a seizure. It was further contended Claimant would have likely chosen to drive her car regardless of what she was told by her doctor and/or what the status of her driver's license may have been.

Demand: $350,000
Offer: Waiver of Costs
Verdict: Respondent Award
 
Trial Attorney: Christopher Smith
Case No: None.
Court: Private Arbitration
Arbitrator: Unknown
Dates: 1999
Summary

Claimant got out of her hospital bed after having had surgery and lost consciousness, suffering a fall in her hospital room and sustaining injury to her jaw and teeth. Claimant contended that fall precautions should have been in place and that the nursing staff was negligent for leaving her unattended. Respondent contended that appropriate precautions were in place and that the standard of care was met.

Demand: None.
Offer: None.
Verdict: Respondent Award
 
Trial Attorney: Christopher Smith
Case No: None.
Court: Private Arbitration
Arbitrator: Unknown
Dates: 1999
Summary

Claimant suffered a cardiac arrhythmia while undergoing surgery at Kaiser Hospital. Claimant contended her arrhythmia was caused by the improper administration of a general anesthetic and as a result she required life-long medication to control the arrhythmia and suffered from fear she would suffer a cardiac arrest. Respondent contended the arrhythmia was a pre-existing transient condition that had fortuitously occurred during surgery while the patient's cardiac activity was being actively monitored. Due to arrhythmia detection, Plaintiff was now being medicated to treat the condition, thereby reducing the possibility of cardiac arrest.

Demand: None.
Offer: Waiver of Costs
Verdict: Respondent Award
 
Trial Attorney: Stephen Fraser and Christopher Smith for Defendant
Case No: NC027101
Court: Los Angeles County Superior Court (San Pedro), Division 88C
Judge: Hon. Elizabeth White
Dates: 5/5/01
Summary

Plaintiff underwent a colporrhaphy and bladder suspension surgery. Thereafter, she experienced postoperative hemorrhaging resulting in a large pelvic hematoma. Secondary to the pressure produced by the hematoma, adhesions formed causing a shortening of the vagina. Plaintiff contended the shortened vagina was the result of the defendant removing too much tissue from the vaginal wall and/or suturing the vagina, which also resulted in incontinence of urine. Defendant contended the surgery was indicated, that it was performed in a manner consistent with the standard of care and postoperative bleeding is a known complication that occurs in the absence of negligence. Defendant further contended the hematoma was the cause of plaintiff's adhesions and a breakdown of the bladder suspension procedure and that the plaintiffs shortened vagina and incontinence were not the result of negligent care.

Demand: $200,000 via CCP § 998
Offer: Waiver Costs
Verdict: Defense Verdict
 
Trial Attorney: Stephen Fraser and Christopher Smith for Defendant
Case No: LC053077
Court: Los Angeles County Superior Court (Van Nuys)
Judge: Leon Kaplan
Dates: 7/2/01
Summary

Plaintiff was a morbidly obese, pregnant female who suffered from an acute onset of a lower extremity neuropathy after bending over in the shower. She was admitted to West Hills Hospital where she was seen by Dr. Platzer for a neurology consult at the request of the plaintiff's Primary Care Physician. It was felt plaintiff likely had a disc bulge, but was not offered the option of surgery or other interventions due to her pregnancy. She was told to follow- up following delivery. The pregnancy was later lost. Plaintiff did not follow-up as directed and developed a foot drop. She contended she should have been offered surgery while an in-patient and had surgery been offered, she would have elected to risk and/or terminate the pregnancy in favor of treatment. Defendant contended the treatment provided was appropriate and any sequela resulted from plaintiff's decision not to follow-up as directed.

Demand: $250,000
Offer: Waiver of Costs
Verdict: Defense Verdict
 
Trial Attorney: Christopher Smith for Defendant, Leonard Glaser, M.D.
Case No: PC023808 Y
Court: Court San Fernando County Superior, Dept. B
Judge: Hon. Alice C. Hill
Dates: Nov. 20, 2002
Summary

Plaintiff alleged defendant orthopedic surgeons misdiagnosed her fractured talus as a sprained ankle and, as a result, advised her to bear weight as tolerated which resulted in chronic pain and discomfort. She contended the fracture was visible on x-ray and should have been identified by defendants. Defendants contended the fracture was not visible on plain film x-ray, that their care and treatment complied with the standard of care, and any continuing discomfort being experienced by plaintiff was not the result of negligence.

Demand: None.
Offer: Waiver of Costs
Verdict: Defense Verdict
 
Trial Attorney: Christopher Smith for Defendant Gary Batten, M.D.
Case No: SCVSS100008
Court: San Bernardino County Superior Court
Judge: John P. Wade
Dates: March 14, 2006
Summary

Alleging wrongful death of 44-year-old Heidi Ann Brown, mother of four. Minor plaintiffs contended their mother, after successfully given birth to the youngest plaintiff was misdiagnosed by defendants with a pulmonary embolism and/or a pleural effusion when, in fact, she was suffering from congestive heart failure. Plaintiffs contended as a result of a confused and haphazard workup, the actual diagnosis was not arrived at in a timely manner and, consequently, the patient died. Defendants contended the clinical workup was appropriate, the initial differential diagnosis included multiple possibilities including congestive heart failure, and that the patient's continued workup complied with the standard of care. Defendants further contended the patient's death was not the result of any negligent conduct by any of the defendants.

As for Dr. Batten, the defense contended: the patient was evaluated in the emergency room of a small community hospital with limited resources; the patient had a positive screening test of pulmonary embolism; and that based upon clinical evaluation it was apparent the hospital lacked the resources to provide appropriate care for pulmonary embolism or any of the other likely causes of the patient's complaints. After discussing the matter with the patient she agreed she wanted to be transferred to a higher level of care and arrangements were made in accordance with her wishes and in a manner that complied with the standard of care. It was further contended the transfer to a higher level of care provided the patient the best opportunity for timely treatment, that it resulted in no harm, and was not a contributing factor to her death.

Demand: C.C.P. § 998 demand of $839,997.00
Offer: Waiver of Costs
Verdict: Dismissed Prior to Close of Plaintiffs’ Case In Chief