Published on:

Please join Bekman, Marder & Adkins in congratulating partners Emily Malarkey and Dale Adkins, who recently obtained a $1,017,000 verdict on behalf of our client, who underwent an unnecessary major thoracic operation, suffered a herniation of lung tissue through h

The Cecil County Circuit Court in Elkton, Maryland.

The Cecil County Circuit Court in Elkton, Maryland.

is ribcage as a result, required another major surgical repair five years later, and experienced a painful and difficult case of post-thoracotomy pain syndrome.

Published on:

Please join Bekman Marder & Adkins in congratulating partners Dale Adkins and Emily Malarkey, who recently obtained a $575,000 verdict on behalf of the family of Jane Burkart, who died in 2012 of complications of a massive internal hemorrhage.

75-year old Jane Burkhart had recently been admitted to the hospital for a deep vein thrombosis and was prescribed several different blood thinners. A few days after her discharge, she presented to the E.R. at Carroll Hospital Center by ambulance in the middle of the night, complaining of severe, 10/10 hip and groin pain. She is described in the medical record to have been moaning in pain and to have “uncontrolled” pain despite multiple doses of narcotic pain medication. She was assessed by a physician assistant, who diagnosed her with musculoskeletal pain without performing any imaging study. She was discharged to a nursing home by a physician 10 hours after she arrived. Eighteen hours later, she was back in the E.R. in hemorrhagic shock from a massive retroperitoneal hematoma. She was resuscitated, but never fully recovered, and died 6 weeks later.

The trial lasted 6 days and the jury deliberated for 9 hours over the course of two days. There was no offer of settlement at any time.

Published on:

In the last two weeks, Volkswagen has admitted that it sold 11 million cars with so-called “Clean Diesel” engines worldwide that were equipped with software allowing them to cheat emissions tests.  Below are five things you need to know:

  1. What did Volkswagen do?

Independent automobile researchers report that Volkswagen sold 11 million diesel cars that produced as much as 40 times the E.P.A. allowed limit of nitrogen oxide, a pollutant that contributes to respiratory problems including asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. The software and devices installed by Volkswagen were programmed to detect when one of its cars was undergoing an emissions test and it triggered equipment that would reduce emissions to legal levels for the duration of the emissions test.

  1. How did this happen?

Experts say that by the middle of the last decade, it became clear that Volkswagen’s old, less advanced diesel engines could not meet tougher American emissions standards, particularly in California. While Volkswagen made promises of selling “clean” diesel vehicles with ever greater power and fuel economy, its engineers worked on ways to reduce emissions. However, despite Volkswagen’s initial optimism, its engineers could not figure out how to design a catalytic system that would scrub enough nitrogen oxide from the cars’ exhaust. While some diesel car makers used a system that injected a derivative of urea to reduce emissions, Volkswagen concluded that would be too expensive. Other approaches they tried resulted in reduced vehicle performance. When the time came for Volkswagen to begin manufacturing the “clean” diesel vehicles it had promised, it incorporated a defeat device rather than sell cars with lower performance or a more expensive exhaust system.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Following a four-week jury trial, SCBMA Partners Paul D. Bekman and Wendy L. Shiff obtained a verdict on behalf of their clients in a medical malpractice case tried in the Supreme Court of Dutchess County in Poughkeepskie, New York.

Dutchess Supreme and County Court, Poughkeepskie, New York

Bekman and Shiff represented  a resident of Dutchess County who underwent a cardiac catheterization and stent placement at a Dutchess County Hospital.  Following the procedure, nurses at the hospital failed to recognize that the patient was exhibiting signs and symptoms of a stent re-occlusion and myocardial infarction (heart attack).  No EKG was performed, nor was a physician contacted about the patient for approximately 6 hours.  As a result of the dely, the client sustained significant heart damage necessitating a heart transplant.

Published on:

A Fairfax County, Virginia jury recently awarded half a million dollars to a Reston, Virginia man who was the victim of “trash talking” by his doctors while he was sedated for a colonoscopy procedure.  According to an article in the Washington Post, the man’s cell phone recorded the entire procedure.  The recording, which was admitted into evidence and played for the jury, proved that the anesthesiologist and gastroenterologist who attended to the man during the procedure ridiculed him, falsified his medical records, and asked the medical assistant to interact with him after the procedure so they did not have to.

Although the man was not physically hurt, according to a juror interviewed by the Post, the jury’s verdict was fueled by a desire to “to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”  This sentiment is echoed by almost every single client who calls our office wanting to know whether they have a medical malpractice case.  Making sure other patients are not hurt (or heartlessly ridiculed), i.e, making the world a safer place, is one of the primary goals of the tort system.

Maybe it is not surprising to hear that perhaps the second most frequent sentiment echoed by our clients is frustration with physicians who just plain treat them poorly or do not listen to them.  The Virginia case is interesting because ordinarily a person must be physically hurt in order to claim damages for medical malpractice; mere unprofessionalism is not enough.  But time and again it has been shown that doctors who simply talk to their patients and treat them with respect are less likely to be sued, even when a patient experiences a bad result. Indeed, we often are instructed by our clients not to sue doctors our clients “like,” even though we believe they may have been negligent.

Continue reading →

Published on:

On June 10, 2015, Partners Michael P. Smith and Ryan S. Perlin obtained a Plaintiffs’ verdict on behalf of their clients in a negligence case tried in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County in Rockville, Maryland.

Rockville, Maryland

Smith and Perlin represented a young man with emotional and behavioral disabilities, who was a resident at a residential treatment center which specialized in providing psychiatric treatment for adolescents.  When the plaintiff was fifteen years old, staff members improperly physically restrained him in violation of applicable deescalation and restraint guidelines.  As a result, the plaintiff suffered detached retinas in both eyes.  He required eight subsequent retinal and corneal operations to repair the detachments and cataracts that developed subsequently.  Even with corrective lenses, his vision will never be 20/20, which is what it was before his injuries.

Published on:

The Court of Special Appeals, Maryland’s intermediate appellate court, today upheld a $1.3 million verdict in a case tried by SCBMA partners, Michael Smith and Ryan Perlin, in an unreported opinion.  The medical malpractice case was originally tried in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County for one week in April 2014.  After two days of deliberations, the jury issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs for $2.13 million, which was automatically reduced because of Maryland’s statutory cap on noneconomic damages.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Perlin represent the Watt family in the case.  Suit was originally filed on their behalf in 2012, after Mrs. Watt underwent surgery to repair a persistent hiatal hernia.  The first operation failed and her surgeon attempted a revision procedure.  During the revision, the surgeon negligently utilized a synthetic, plastic mesh to hold the hernia in place.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Perlin presented evidence through well-credentialed, board-certified general surgeons that it was negligent for the defendant surgeon to use the plastic mesh in the first place because it was well-known to erode into the body’s tissues and cause serious, possibly fatal, complications.  The experts also testified that the mesh was applied by the surgeon improperly.  As a result of the negligence, the mesh slowly eroded into and through Mrs. Watt’s esophagus, preventing her from eating other than through a tube.  She lost a significant amount of weight and required numerous subsequent surgeries and procedures.  She has also required at least six endoscopic gastrointestinal procedures during which a laser is inserted into her esophagus to burn away the eroded mesh.  Despite all of the procedures, Ms. Watt still has mesh in her chest and esophageal tissues.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Today, on behalf of over 750 victims and family members, SCBMA filed a lawsuit against The Rockefeller Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation, alleging that they were the primary driving force behind illegal and immoral human experiments in which vulnerable populations of Guatemalans were deceived, and intentionally exposed to syphilis, gonorrhea and other venereal diseases without treatment in the 1940s and 1950s.

The experiments targeted school children, orphans, psychiatric hospital patients, prison inmates and military conscripts.  In 2010, the Obama Administration apologized to Guatemala for the experiments and created a Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to investigate them.

The Presidential Commission issued its findings in September 2011 along with a Study Guide.  There has also been considerable research and scholarship about the circumstances which led to the human experimentation, such as this article by Kayte Spector-Bagdady, J.D., M. Bioethics, and Paul Lombardo, Ph.D, J.D., who are, respectively, the Associate Director and a Senior Advisor to the Presidential Commission.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Bekman, Marder & Adkins, L.L.C. is proud to announce that it has been named to the U.S. News and World Report “Best Law Firms” list.SCBMA Best Lawyers  Nationally, SCBMA was named to the Third Tier of the Best Law Firms in the are of Admiralty and Maritime Law.  In Maryland, SCBMA was named to the First Tier in the areas of Admiralty & Maritime Law, Arbitration, Mediation, Plaintiffs’ Medical Malpractice, Plaintiffs’ Personal Injury, and Plaintiffs’ Product Liability Litigation.

For the 2015 “Best Law Firms” list, U.S. News and World Report uses a rigorous evaluation process that includes client evaluations, lawyer evaluations, and peer review from local and national leading attorneys.  Additionally, before any law firm can be named in the “Best Law Firms” list, it must have at least one lawyer who is included in the U.S. News “Best Lawyers” list.  Our firm is proud to have four attorneys named to the “Best Lawyers” list including Paul D. Bekman, E. Dale Adkins, III, Daniel M. Clements, and Stuart M. Salsbury.

Our firm takes great pride in being selected by our peers and colleagues as one of the best law firms in Maryland.  If you would like to discuss a possible case with our lawyers, call us at 410-539-6633.

Published on:

Bekman, Marder & Adkins, L.L.C., is proud to announce that Emily C. Malarkey and Ryan S. Perlin have been elected its newest partners.

Ryan Perlin Emily MalarkeyEmily C. Malarkey started at SCBMA as a law clerk and has been an Associate with the firm for eight years.  She has developed a busy practice in the areas of medical negligence, wrongful death, and other catastrophic injury.  She has also established a thriving appellate practice and has numerous published opinions to her name.  Ms. Malarkey is an experienced trial lawyer with multiple verdicts exceeding $1 million.  She has been named a Rising Star in every edition of Maryland Super Lawyers since 2010 and was recently named to the Board of Governors of the Maryland Association for Justice, Maryland’s primary civil justice organization of trial lawyers who represent the injured.  Prior to joining SCBMA, Ms. Malarkey completed an appellate judicial clerkship for the Honorable Sally D. Adkins on the Court of Special Appeals.

Ryan S. Perlin began his legal career at a prominent Baltimore defense firm, representing health care providers and hospitals in medical malpractice claims.  He joined SCBMA in 2011 and quickly established himself as a leading plaintiff’s attorney in medical negligence, wrongful death, and catastrophic injury cases.  He has successfully tried numerous jury trials in courts throughout Maryland, including multiple cases with verdicts exceeding $1 million.  Mr. Perlin was named a Rising Star in 2012 and 2013 and was selected as a Maryland Super Lawyer for 2014 and 2015.  Mr. Perlin has been a member of the Peer Review Committee for the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission since 2013.  After graduating law school, Mr. Perlin clerked on the Circuit Court for Baltimore City for the Honorable Stuart R. Berger.

Continue reading →