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AUGUST 1, 2011 - DEFECTIVE MEDICINE LEAVES MAN BLIND

Gold & Gold, P.A. has been retained to represent one of the 12 individuals in Miami who was given an injection of the prescription drug, Avastin, that was contaminated. The contaminated Avastin caused a tremendous amount of pain and took the sight of of his right eye within a day of recieving the injection. A lawsuit was filed on Friday, July 29, 2011 against the manufacturer of Avastin, the Pharmacy and two other businesses involved in the transportation, storage, distribution and sale of Avastin. WSVN Channel 7 News covered the story, which can be viewed at the link below:

2011 Hernandez Verdict - Rear End Collision

Palm Beach County, FL The defendant did not dispute liability in striking the back of the plaintiff's car while it was stopped at a traffic light in Palm Beach County. The defendant denied that the plaintiff sustained a permanent injury as a result of the collision.

The plaintiff was a 33-year-old female at the time of the accident in 2006. The plaintiffs physician testified that the plaintiff sustained a cervical disc herniation as a result of the rear end impact.

The plaintiff claimed that she had seen an orthopedic surgeon 1wice yearly since the 2006 accident and each time, the orthopedic surgeon referred her for more therapy because her cervical pain was not resolving. The plaintiff, a mother of 1wo minor children, testified that she continues to suffer flair-ups of neck pain. She returned to her prior employment following the collision and made no claim for past or future loss of wages.

The defendant denied that the plaintiff cervical condition was causally related to the accident. The defense also argued that the plaintiffs condition was not causing impingement: she did not require surgery and any therapy she required could be performed at home.

The jury found that the plaintiff sustained a permanent injury as a result of the accident and awarded her $190,000 in damages.

REFERENCE
Hemandez vs. Paredes. Case no: 502009CA043821:
Judge Donald W. Hafele, 01-13-11 .

Attorneys for plaintiff:
Philip A. Gold and Lance C. Rudzinski of Gold & Gold in Coral Gables, FL.

JULY 2011 - PHILIP GOLD NAMED TO FLORIDA TREND'S "TOP UP & COMERS" LIST

We are proud to announce that Philip A. Gold has been recognized by Florida Trend Magazine as a Florida Legal Elite "Top Up & Comer". The selection process tallies votes by attorneys throughout the state, and only 132 attorneys in the State of Florida recieved this recognition in 2011. The Entire 2011 Florida Trend Legal Elite Magazine can be viewed at the link below, with Philip Gold's listing on page 27:

JUNE 2011 - DAVID GOLD CONTINUES TRADITION AS A TOP LAWYER IN FLORIDA

We are proud to announce that founding partner, David H. Gold has once again been selected to the 2011 Florida Super Lawyers and the 2011 South Florida Legal Guide Top Attorneys.

2010 ASHER VERDICT

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant drove through a red light and struck a non-party vehicle, which was then propelled into the plaintiff's car. The defendant stipulated to negligence, but disputed the injuries that the plaintiff alleged to have sustained as a result of the accident.

The plaintiff was a 49-year-old man at the time of the collision. The plaintiffs doctors testified that the plaintiff sustained aggravation of a preexisting disc herniation at the L3-L4 level and new herniations at C4-C5 and C5- C6. The plaintiffs neurosurgeon testified that future cervical surgery was recommended. The plaintiff also complained of ongoing headaches associated with the accident.

The defendant argued that the plaintiff had a five year history of chiropractic treatment for lower back and neck pain prior to the date of the collision. The defense stressed that the plaintiff made no medical complaints at the scene and did not seek treatment until some 11 days post-accident. Testimony indicated that the plaintiff had exited his vehicle after the collision and assisted the female whose car had struck his car.

The defendants orthopedic surgeon testified that a review of the plaintiffs MRI films revealed osteophytes which suggested that his cervical condition was degenerative and not caused by trauma. The plaintiff countered that the osteophytes were on the opposite side of the spine from the impingements. The defendants orthopedic surgeon also opined that the plaintiff was not a candidate for cervical surgery. The defense introduced surveillance video depicting the plaintiff lifting chlorine tubs and turning his neck with no apparent difficulty.

The jury found that the plaintiff sustained a permanent injury and awarded him $1 00,800 in damages. A prior trial resulted in a defense verdict and the plaintiff was granted a new trial after arguing that the defense improperly read new portions of the plaintiffs deposition testimony during closing statements in an effort to impeach his credibility.

PAIN, SUFFERING DAMAGES AWARDED IN MED MAL SUIT

Case: Pauline Linker, surviving spouse of Allen Linker, v. Dr. Mitchell Rosenfeld and Rosenfeld & Spitzer, M.D., P.A., Broward Circuit Court

Details: Shortly after returning from a vacation in Europe with his wife, Pauline, in August 1997, Allen Linker, 67, became ill with respiratory symptoms. The retired New York City police officer, who lived with his wife in Weston, visited his primary physician in Hallandale Beach and was given antibiotics. He was admitted to Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines in October 1997 with a high fever, chills, sweats, an elevated white blood count and pneumonia, and was diagnosed with leukemia. According to Gold, the infectious disease specialist who was called in, Dr. Mitchell Rosenfeld, did not perform a special tuberculosis test called an AFB test. Nineteen months later, Linker, still experiencing symptoms after he was released, went to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he tested positive for a bacterial, TB-like infection that had spread to· his blood. Doctors said it was too late to treat him and he died June 1999· In 2ooo, his widow filed suit against Rosenfeld as well as two other doctors at Memorial Hospital West. The plaintiff subsequently dismissed the other doctors from the lawsuit.

Plaintiff's case: The plaintiff's counsel argued that if Rosenfeld had performed an AFB test, Linker could have been treated and would not have died from the TB-like infection.

Defense case: Defense counsel argued that Linker did not have the infection in October 1997 but rather developed it in April 1999• The defense contended that the pulmonologist who saw Linker at Memorial West should have performed the AFB test, not Rosenfeld. They also asserted that Linker developed the infection because he was immunocompromised with leukemia.

Verdict: After a seven-day trial and four hours of deliberation, the jury awarded Pauline Linker $:Z.15 million, all in pain and suffering damages. The defense is appealing the verdict. McAllister said Rosenfeld's medical malpractice insurer went bankrupt and that his coverage through the State of Florida Insurance Fund is limited to $3oo,ooo.

NEGLIGENT IMPLANTATION OF SALINE BREAST IMPLANTS

The plaintiff, a 38-year·old female at the time in question, alleged that the defendant plastic surgeon negligently performed saline breast implants causing breast asymmetry which requires additional surgery to correct. Tbe plaintiff also contended that she was not adequately informed of the possibility of such an outcome. The defendant maintained that the plaintiff's breast asymmetry pre-existed the surgery performed by tbe defendant and tha t some asymmetry is to be expected with breast implant surgery. The defendant also alleged tbat tbe plaintiff was fully informed of all possible risks and complications or the procedure and signed many written consent forms.

The plaintiff testified that sbe wentto the defendant plastic surgeon to bave silicone breast implants replaced with saline implants. The plaintiff's plastic surgeon testified that the defendant deviated from the acceptable standard of care by creating too large a pocket for the new implants. thus causing breast asymmetry. The plaintiff's plastic surgeon opined that surgical repair of tbe asymmeuy would cost approximately $2S.OOO. The plaintiff also claimed to suffer psycbological injuries stemming from the surgery.

The defendant claimed that the surgery performed by him was within the standard of care and that the plaintiff's asymmetry pre-existed the surgery as reflected by pre-operative pbotographs. Tbe defendant's expert plastic surgeons testified that any alleged asymmetry experienced by the plaintiff was an acceptable complication of breast implant surgery caused by capsular contracture.

INJURED PENIS WORTH $1.5 MILLION TO JURY

A Miami-Dade jury awarded $1.5 Million to former South Beach bartender Patrick Timothy O'Neill, who said two urologists injured his penis while treating him for warts.

O'neill, 43, filed suit in '98 agains Drs. Bernardo Lederman and Jacob Cohen, along with South Beach Urological Associates.

Lederman "surgically removed" three papilloma on April 18, 1996. Aftwerard, O'neill says, he developed an infection adn received treatment through the following month. "on each and every visit, the defendants assured [O'Neill] that there was nothing wrong with his penis and that he was 'obsessing over nothing'" says the complaint, filed by attorney David H. Gold.

O'Neill ended up with a "disabling case of Peyronie's Disease, among other things," the suit says. Pyronie's Disease "begins as a localized inflammation and can develop into a hardened scar," according to a website co-sponsored by the National Instutes of Health. "In severe cases, the hardened plaque reduces flexibility, causing pain and forcing the penis to bend or arc during erection."

Gold says O'Neill suffered constant penile pain, plus curvature and atrophic-like condition that caused a decrease in size. O'Neill has undergond treatments fo the past 10 years, including anasthesia injections into the penis anda spinal epidural space.

He alleged negligent care.

"He has to use Lidocaine every day on his penis," Gold says. he must also take the painkiller Percocet before and after sex.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Gerald Hubbart presided over teh five-daytrial The six jurors - four men, two women - deliverated for more thatn an hour Monday. THey awarded O'Neill $1 million for past pain and suffering; $490,000 for future pain and suffering and $10,000 for past medical expenses. They found Lederman 90 percent at fault. Cohen got hit for 10 percent.

"The jury said by their verdict that they believed him, they believed his injury, they recognized and understood what he's been going through for 10.5 years," Gold says.

Attoryneys William fink and Constantine "Jean" Nickas represent the docs. "We do not believe that the plaitiff's alleged injuries are related to teh care rendered by our clients," Nickas says. "We are evaluating the events thattook place during the trial and considering our appellate options."

O'Neill, an apiriring screenwriter, now lives in Los Angeles.

AVASTIN INJECTIONS ARE REPORTED TO CAUSE BLINDNESS

At least 16 people in two states have gotten severe eye infections, and some have been blinded, from injections of the drug Avastin, according to health authorities and to lawyers representing the patients.

The incidents, in Florida and Tennessee, demonstrate the risks associated with the money-saving practice of injecting Avastin into the eye to treat the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, a common cause of severe vision loss in the elderly.

Avastin, sold by Genentech, is approved to treat cancer, not eye disease. But many retina specialists use Avastin off label because it costs only about $50 an injection, compared with $2,000 for Lucentis, another Genentech drug that has the same mode of action and is approved as an eye treatment.

The off-label use of Avastin has saved Medicare and patients hundreds of millions of dollars a year. But dividing a vial of Avastin into numerous tiny doses for injection into the eye introduces the risk of bacterial contamination. That is apparently what has happened in the cases in Florida and Tennessee.

The Food and Drug Administration issued an alert late Tuesday saying that at least 12 patients in Miami, treated at three clinics, had suffered eye inflammations. While all had impaired eyesight to begin with, some lost all remaining vision in the treated eye, the agency said.

The F.D.A. said all the infections involved a single lot of Avastin and had been traced to a single pharmacy in Hollywood, Fla., that had repackaged the drug for use in the eye.

In Tennessee, four patients received shots contaminated by bacteria, according to a statement provided to The Tennessean newspaper by the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, part of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The Avastin doses were prepared in the pharmacy of the V.A. hospital in Nashville.

One of the patients, Lloyd Mason Sylvis, 77, suffered an eye infection of Streptococcus viridans that spread to his brain, according to a claim for $4 million in damages that his family has filed with the V.A. Mr. Sylvis received the injection on March 29, but his family went public with its complaint only recently.

"He's permanently blinded, permanently brain damaged," said his son, Lloyd Mason Sylvis Jr. "He came in walking and talking, and he remains in a vegetative state as we speak."

The Florida patients received their injections in early July and were apparently infected with Streptococcus oralis.

Last week, the F.D.A. announced a recall of syringes containing Avastin from Chroniscript, a part of Walgreens pharmacy in Miami.

Jim Cohn, a spokesman for Walgreens, said the syringes had been supplied to "a limited number of physician offices in MiamiDade and Broward counties."

Antonio Salgado, 79, of Miami got an injection of Avastin into his right eye on July 8. While there were no problems with the seven previous injections of the drug, this one caused tremendous pain and caused a white film to grow over his eye, according to his lawyer, Philip A. Gold.

"There was a point in time where his eye was completely white, without coloration, no pupil, no nothing," Mr. Gold said.

Mr. Salgado has filed a lawsuit in state court in Miami-Dade County. Among those sued was Infupharma, a compounding pharmacy that was said to have divided the Avastin into tiny doses. It is not clear what the relationship was between Infupharma and Chroniscript.

Another lawyer, Gary Alan Friedman, said he represented six patients, four of whom have already filed suit.

"They all have either significantly lost vision or have been blinded completely by the contamination," Mr. Friedman said.

Infupharma said it would not discuss details because of the continuing investigation and litigation.

Genentech said it would not comment on the litigation, but said that it had always cautioned against use of Avastin in the eye.

"Avastin is not manufactured or approved and to date has not been proven safe for use in the eye," a spokesman for the company said Tuesday.

While the company is being sued, it could benefit overall if the incidents discourage use of Avastin in favor of the far more lucrative Lucentis.

Eye doctors who use Avastin have played down concerns about the risk of bacterial contamination.

Dr. Philip Rosenfeld, a retina specialist at the University of Miami who pioneered the use of Avastin for macular degeneration, said the recent incidents apparently stemmed from careless procedures by pharmacies and should not discourage the use of the drug.

"It took six years for something like this to happen," he said, noting that there have been more than two million injections of Avastin into eyes in the United States alone since the practic~ began in 2005.

A clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute foutid that Avastin and Lucentis were equivalent in preserving or improving vision after one year. ' ·

CITY RESPONSIBLE POLICE SHOOTING

A Circuit Cour tJury held the city of Plantation responsible Wednesday fo rthe accidntal death ofa teenager shot in a police captain's home with the officer's service revolver.

The jury awarded $850,000 to Connie Kraft, the dead youth's mother.

Plantation was negligent in the 1982 accident because it had no policy for police officers on the safe handling of their handguns in their homes, the jury ruled.

Kraft's attorney David Gold said the verdict carries a message for local law-enforcement agencies.

"They're saying, if you're going ot allow your people to carry guns, make sure they're locked up in a safe place when they are not in use," he said.

George Lanza, representating Plantation, called the ruling "an emotional verdict not based on logic and reason."

"It makes an employer responsible for every act of its employees while they're off duty, as well as the relatives of they employees," Lanza said.

Greg Seifers, 18, died on th enight of Jan. 22 1982 after he was accidentally shot iwth a .38-caliber service revolver belonging to police Capt. Ben Butler.

The gun was fired by Butler's son, Kenneth, 16, who testified Wednesday that Scifers was his best friend.

Capt. Butler, who was not at home, testified that he routinely lef the loaded gun in an unlocked dresser drawer.

Butler, a Plantation policeman for 18 years, testified that he had received hundreds of hours of instruction in handgun use. He said he had never been instructed by the city or anyone else on how to safely keep guns in his house.

He had warned his son about the dangers of handguns, he said, and had thought that sufficient to prevent any accidents.

Criminologists called as expert witnesses in the trial differed on whether an "accepted stanard" exists for police on the issue.

George Kirkhem, a professor of criminology at Florida State University, testified for the plaitiff that many departments require their offices to unload their weapons, secure them with trigger guards or lock them up when not in use.

"It's my opinion that the city of plantation failed to perform to minimum standards," he said.

Criminologist Bill Bopp, a professor at Florida Atlantic University, testified for the defense. He said he was unaward that such measures were generally accepted plice practice and said such a policy would be unenforceable.

"It's like telling police officers to tie their shoes," he said.

The plaitiff's case rested in part on whether Capt. Butler, who was visiting his mother at the time of the accident , was in any sense "on duty" for the city.

Butler testified that he was on call, driving a city police vehicle, carrying a paging device and armed with an "off-duty" handgun.

The jury interpreted this to mean that Butler was acting as an amployee of the city, according to foreman Hyman Fox.

"We felt ha's on duty 24 hours a day, and the city is responsible for him," Fox said. "One of the contributing factors is that the city had not given him any instruction on the safe handling of guns."

Lanza said the city will appeal the ruling.

"It's our position that Capt. Butler had a duty with regard to his waepon and theat the city of Plantation had no responsibility." he said.

Butler was originally named a defendant in the suit but was dropped before the case came to trial.

TENNIS PLAYER AWARDED $2.5 MILLION BY JURY

Dade Circuit Court jury awarded Austrian tennis star Thomas Muster $2.5 million in damages Wednesday for a Miami auto accident that left him with permanent damage to his left knee.

The verdict was substantially less than the $10 million to $20 million Muster's attorneys were seeking from the Lopton tennis tournament, a volunter driver, General Motors and a Miami man charged with driving under the influence after the 1989 accident.

One of Muster's lawyers, David Gold, said he believed the jury may have "penalized" Muster in it's award because although the injury hurt his career, he is now ranked ninth in the world and is expected to earn at least $2 million this year.

Muster was retrieving his bags from the trunk of the tournament car - driven by volunteer Linday Boyd and supplied by tournament sponsor GM - when the other drover, Robert Sobie, ran into teh car and forced it backward, knocking him down and rupturing the ligament in his knee.

Muster's lawyers argued that Boyd, Lipton and GM were responsible as well as Sobie because Boyd was an imcompentent driver who had stopped the car in the middle of the road to let Muster and his coach out at Bayside Marketplace that evening. They told jurors that the accident interrupted Muster's career at a critical point - he was ranked 14th and rising and was set to play Ivan Lendl in the Lipton Insternational Players Championships at Key Biscayne the next day.

The accident cost Muster at least $8 million in tournament appearance fees, endorsement contracts and prize money - and will cos thim between $2.5 million and $12 million in future eanings, they said.

The six-member jury, however, awarded Muster $1 million for lost past and future earnings and $1.5 million for past and future pain and suffering. THey found Sobie 90 percent responsible for the accident and Lipton, Boyd and GM 10 percent responsible.

Florida law makes all of the defendants equally responsible for the economic damages, Gold said, but limits the liability on pain and suffering damages to the percentage of responsibility imposed agains each defendant. That means Sobie is responsible for $1.35 million of the pain and suffering, and some undetermined amount of economic damages.

Gold & Gold Law, PA
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Office: (305) 567-2525
Facsimile: (305) 567-2575

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