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In an 82-page opinion yesterday, a federal judge permitted the claims of more than 800 Guatemalan victims of non-consensual human experimentation, represented by Bekman, Marder & Adkins, to proceed against Defendants, Johns Hopkins, The Rockefeller Foundation, and BrEthically-Impossible-200x300istol-Myers Squibb.

The Plaintiffs’ class action claims arise from human experiments conducted in Guatemala in the 1940s.  The victims, including children, soldiers, prisoners, and individuals in asylums, among others, were intentionally infected with syphilis and other venereal diseases in order to study how those diseases were transmitted and spread.  The experiments were sponsored by the U.S. government, but Plaintiffs allege that the design and implementation of the experiments was entirely the work of non-governmental physicians, namely, high-ranking senior doctors and decision makers at Johns Hopkins Hospital, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Bristol-Myers Squibb in the 1940s.

In 2010, the U.S. government formally apologized for its role in the experiments, but the private organizations have never apologized. They do not dispute that their doctors were involved in planning and overseeing the experiments, but have denied that the institutions or doctors actively participated in the non-consensual experiments themselves.

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Bekman, Marder, & Adkins and pharmacist-attorney, Aaron L. Moore have filed one of the first lawsuits in the country against Insys Therapeutics, Inc.  BMA is also investigating additional similar lawsuits.

If you or someone you know has been prescribed the powerful narcotic Subsys, also known as oral Fentanyl spray, call us now at 410-539-6633.

Subsys is a medication that is 100 times more potent than morphine.  It is a fentanyl-based opioid mouth spray intended to treat cancer patients suffering intense episodes of breakthrough cancer pain.  Subsys should not be prescribed to patients who do not have cancer, but we have found there are many doctors prescribing it to patients off-label, who do not have cancer.

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Bekman, Marder & Adkins is proud to announce the nomination of six of its lawyers to the 2017 Maryland Super Lawyers list.  Dale Adkins, Paul Bekman, Laurence Marder, Wendy Shiff, and Ryan Perlin have been named to the 2017 Maryland Super Lawyers list and Emily Malarkey has been recognized on the 2017 Maryland Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. Super-Lawyers

The 2017 edition of the Maryland Super Lawyers magazine uses a patented multi-phase selection process to create its lawyer ratings.  Winners must receiving peer nominations from other attorneys and be qualified by third-party research across twelve categories conducted by an attorney-led research team.  The result is a Super Lawyers list that includes only up to 5 percent of the lawyers in a state and a Rising Stars list with no more than 2.5 percent of eligible lawyers.

Bekman, Marder & Adkins is proud of its representation on this list and of all of the high-quality of lawyers at this law firm.  BMA handles complex cases of catastrophic injury caused by medical malpractice, legal malpractice, personal injury, birth trauma, products liability, maritime, and business litigation.  We represent the individuals and families affected by the negligence of others.

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

Our client’s medical misadventure began when his radiologist improperly diagnosed him with a “wide mouthed” hernia of the diaphragm.  Our client never had a hernia, which the radiologist admitted during trial.  However, the radiologist presented testimony at trial that in Cecil County, the term “wide mouthed hernia” is used synonymously with the medical condition known as an “eventration.”  The problem is that a hernia is a condition requiring surgery, but an eventration is not.  Our client’s surgeon relied upon the radiologist’s diagnosis of hernia and proceeded with the wholly unnecessary surgery.

All issues were hotly contested at the trial, which involved testimony from ten physicians and a number of fact witnesses.  Trial lasted ten days and the jury deliberated for eight hours over the course of two days.  The jury’s verdict of $1,017,000 compensated Malarkey and Adkins’ client for his past medical expenses, past lost wages, and the pain and suffering he has unnecessarily had to endure.



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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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