$3,187,099 (subject to confidentiality): Doe Family vs Roe Hospital and Defendant Obstetrician (2009). 17 year old first-time pregnant female was carrying twins and had a short cervix and was thus hospitalized in at the defendant hospital in anticipation of a high risk delivery and was checked daily by her obstetrician. At 7 months (coincidentally, the mother's 18th birthday), she went into active labor and the nurses timely notified the obstetrician of this fact. The obstetrician advised that he was on his way to another delivery in another Los Angeles-area hospital about 10 miles away and would come to this hospital after that delivery. The nurses failed to secure another obstetrician in case of an emergency. While the defendant obstetrician was at the other hospital, the mother underwent a placental abruption and, due to the absence of any available obstetrician for approximately 45 minutes, both twins developed severe hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and consequent brain damage. One twin died at 14 months; the other survived with severe brain damage. Medi-Cal liens of approximately $2,000,000 were negotiated to $275,000 total. Settlement involved payments by the obstetrician (whose privileges were revoked) and hospital.
$2,300,000 (approximate present value of structure): Doe vs County of Los Angeles (2005): 17 year old high school student (C average) was admitted to Los Angeles County / USC Medical Center for surgery on ACA (brain) aneurysm. Hospital delayed surgery due to unavailability of their designated neurovascular surgeon (plaintiff's claim) or due to non-emergent nature of condition (defense position). The evidence established that the County had refused, for over 20 years, that the neurosurgery department's annual requests for funding an additional neurosurgeon to handle such "charity" cases had been refused; this had resulted in approximately 4 cases a year where a patient either died or sustained permanent brain damage. Aneurysm re-ruptured after 2½ days in hospital causing catastrophic damage. Plaintiff survived with frontal lobe damage. Defense contended that delay was well within standard of care (non-emergent), that plaintiff was a poor and maladjusted student with low earning potential, that plaintiff may have sustained some undetected cognitive impairment prior to rupture and that virtually all economic damages were collateralized (already paid for by the County under Medi-Cal). Special note: as a result of this tragic case, the County authorized a second neurosurgeon, thus saving about 4 lives annually.
$1,199,358 (present value of structure): Doe vs. County of San Bernardino (1990): Due to hospital pharmacy miscalculation, 17 day, 980 gram severely premature infant was provided excess potassium in hyperalimentation solution causing seizures and arguable cardiac arrest. Claimed subsequent moderate brain damage caused by event; defense asserted that brain damage was insignificant and/or related solely to extreme prematurity. Total lifetime payment in excess of $11,000,000.
$1,000,000: Still vs Connecticut General Mortgage, etc., LASC Case No. C388970V (1985) "One of the largest settlements for a Slip and Fall for the type of injury--disc--sustained in Los Angeles County's history." Confidential Reports for Attorneys, Vol. XXII, No. 6. Fall on parking lot drainage grate with lumbar fusion and possibility of cervical fusion. Immediate prior offer/demand: $6000/$300,000. See sample published reports.
$700,000: Ferranti vs. Dagdigian, D.D.S., Norwalk (1998): Suit against general dentist and a community pharmacy (as manufacturer) of paraformaldhyde-containing root canal filler used in connection with "Sargenti Method" of root canal which leaked into plaintiff's cheek area causing permanent pain. Evidence demonstrated that this was a disapproved, get-rich-quick scheme by certain dentists and this pharmacy. Punitive damages were allowed against the pharmacy, but not the dentist. No uncollateralized economic damages. Dentist settled for $400,000; pharmacy settled within days for another $300,000. All settlements paid by insurers. (Settled three weeks prior to trial; handled in association with Sherre C. Sturm, Esq., Novato, California) See report here.
$550,000: Spector vs McKenna, LASC BC461587 (ordered to binding arbitration) (2012): 75 year old woman underwent secondary video-assisted thoracoscopy lung biopsy sustained injury to brachial plexus.
$515,000 (approximate); Chong vs County of Los Angeles, LASC BC135618 (1997): Plaintiff 61 year old gardening business owner and church elder tripped and fell due to protruding box in aisle at nonsettling small store, breaking left hip. Transferred to LAC + USC Medical Center for hip replacement. During hip replacement surgery, plaintiff suffered cerebral hypoxia with gradually improving mental changes due to alleged malpractice by resident anesthesiologist with months of recovery there and at Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center. Settlement with County on verge of trial including $375,000 cash, waiver of statutory liens of over $200,000 and other considerations.
$500,000: [Confidential due to Privacy Concerns] vs Kaiser Foundation Hospitals (not filed; binding arbitration): 34 year old low-wage earning truck driver, father and husband died of cardiac disease after marginally failing screening treadmill test. After Kaiser internist ordered a follow up thallium treadmill test "within 1 week", the test was set for 11 days later. Patient died on morning of test. Kaiser claimed that the standard of practice allowed for the test to be performed within 2 weeks and that the decedent was responsible for his own death for failing to follow discharge instructions. Kaiser's economist opined that the total economic loss was $85,967.
$449,950: Doe vs Munroe, OCSC. 45 year old female plaintiff asserted that 80 year old defendant had infected her with genital herpes during 6 week relationship. Defendant denied prior knowledge of infection.
$401,000; Alfred vs Serina, LASC (Long Beach) Case No. NC021271 (2001): Medical malpractice case arising from defendant radiologist's failure to properly identify subdural hematoma on MRI leading to apparent visual problems. Plaintiff's own ophthalmologist attributed these issues to malingering since plaintiff's complaints were patently inconsistent with the objective testing. Later, on Mr. Kapp's initiative, was able to prove, even to the satisfaction of defense experts, that the underlying problem was a brain injury with a substantive cognitive component. This settlement was against radiologist only.
$400,000+: Various Cases vs Melvyn Rosenstein, M.D. collectively known as the “Penile Enlargement Cases” (LASC West, 1995-1999). Participated in approximately 6 of about 200 coordinated cases asserting gross negligence by defendant urologist for performance of internationally promoted so-called "penile enlargement" surgeries, resulting in ugly scarring of the penile shaft and other complaints. Defendant physician relinquished his medical license and subsequently filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, although insurance coverage continued to cover the malpractice-only claims. Average claim was settled for around $40,000; our claims settled for average of approximately $85,000. Mr. Kapp was instrumental, despite original opposition from all other plaintiff and defense attorneys, in designing format for individually-negotiated settlement of all coordinated cases despite complex insurance coverage questions.
$365,600: Kusher vs City of Seal Beach (sub.nom. Fox vs City of Seal Beach, OCSC Case No. 349080). Settled immediately prior to jury selection. Client sustained 9 fractured ribs and other injuries due to traffic signal malfunction.
$300,000: [Caption withheld due to Privacy concerns], (2011): Legal malpractice against defendant trial lawyer, retained by originating counsel as a super star lawyer. Defendant, in case arising from the auto vs pedestrian death of plaintiff's 78 year old mother, failed to oppose a motion for summary judgment by best-insured defendant (asserted that that defendant was not imputedly liable for driver's negligence). Originating lawyer then settled remaining case for $330,000 (remaining policy limits). We established that the defendant was, in fact, imputedly liable as a matter of law. Case settled very favorably within 2 months of filing by our statutory demand (per Code of Civil Procedure § 998).
$499,000 (structured); $202,724 (present value): Case identification Subject to Confidentiality Agreement: (LASC, 1988) arising from world-famous therapist's engaging in sexual misconduct and providing drugs to client in course of "treatment." Was advised by leading expert that this is one of largest such recoveries in American history. Defendant eventually lost his psychological license due to this matter and an unrelated case involving a worldwide celebrity patient.
$365,000: Meighan vs Singh, LASC NEC 62190 (Pasadena, 1991). Settled on day of trial. Defendants failed to timely initiate thrombolytic treatment for acute myocardial infraction thereby causing 63 year old patient to sustain significant loss of myocardium. Also handled client's wife's related legal malpractice case eventually reported as Meighan vs. Shore (1995) 34 Cal.App.4th 1025, 40 Cal.Rptr.2d 744.
$270,000: Upadhyay vs. Northridge Hospital Medical Center (Van Nuys; 1992). 22 year old primogene (first time mother) with eclampsia (also known as Pregnancy Induced Hypertension) died as a result of failure of loosely-supervised second year family practice resident's failure to provide sufficient anti-hypertensive medication. Decedent had just legally immigrated to U.S. weeks before death and had no work history. Baby survived without injury. Defendant supervising physician was one of the most prominent OB/GYNs in Southern California. Case settled just prior to trial.
$248,260: Kaiser vs. Blue Cross of California (LASC; 1990): Insurance bad faith case arising from insurer's failure to pay for home nursing care for patient with advanced Huntington's Disease. Obtained summary adjudication on coverage and intended third-party beneficiary status of plaintiff nurses; Blue Cross's writs were denied. Case was ultimately held to be preempted by ERISA based on line of cases beginning 2 days prior to first trial date. Settlement represented nearly 100% of unpaid bills and attorney's fees (only surviving claims under ERISA).
$215,000 (approximate): Calvillo vs. Wiegand Button Motor Express (San Fernando, 1994): Structured settlement for estranged wife ($35,000) and 6 year old daughter for death of drug-dependant unemployed non-custodial mechanic father killed in freeway truck vs. pedestrian accident under mysterious circumstances.
$212,500: Villasenor vs. St. Mary Medical Center (Long Beach, 1995): Defendant general surgeon confirmed the existence of a palpable breast lump and obtained a mammogram which was highly suggestive of early breast cancer. Defendant failed to advise 45 year old patient of this or recommend an immediate breast biopsy or other follow up care. Breast cancer was diagnosed less than 2 years later. By time of settlement (3 weeks before trial), plaintiff's cancer was terminal and she was not expected to survive even to trial. Defense claimed that the mammogram was as a baseline and that plaintiff had been called by physician and told to return in 3 to 6 months for second mammogram.
$210,000: Byam vs. Koonin (Orange County, 1992): Defendant plastic surgeon did contraindicated one-stage medically-necessary breast reduction, resulting in loss of breast tissue bilaterally. Liability was obvious (ultimately physician lost license based on this and several other cases), but defendant denied agency and claimed that the injuries were not substantial. Settled within 2 months of trial.
$200,000: Cadei vs. Van Kirk (Santa Clara Superior Court (San Jose), 1993): Orthopedic surgeon failed to timely diagnose infection, post arthroscopic knee surgery. Defendant asserted that the delay was caused by coincidental, and earlier diagnosed, urinary tract infection. Settled just prior to series of expert depositions.
$200,000: Swafford vs. Li (Van Nuys Superior Court, 1992): Defendant surgeon failed to obtain union of distal tibia-fistula fracture, allowing for prolonged, but probably not permanent, non-union.)
$200,000: Carroll vs Oliver, LASC GC014082 (Pasadena, 1996): OB/GYN did surgery for prolapsed vaginal hernia and severed obturator nerve causing impairment of adduction of the involved leg. Injuries to the obturator nerve are extremely rare.
$200,000: Wilborn vs Howard, LASC BC227362 (LASC, 2002): 49 year old USPS construction worker injured in clear liability motorcycle vs bus accident with documented broken jaw. Case was taken over 2 months before trial with prior mediation offer of $85,000. Handled with Goldstein & Gurbuz.
$200,000: Kolish vs Lions Towing, LASC PC024325Y (San Fernando, 2001): Plaintiff, a 64 year old man with a 20 year history of lower back pain and sciatica and previous radiographic evidence of serious lower back abnormalities, was rear-ended. Plaintiff claimed that the need for the subsequent surgery (a multi-level fusion) on the pre-existing lower back abnormalities was caused by the accident. No earnings were claimed as plaintiff was retired at the time of the accident. Each side produced orthopedic and biomechanical experts on the single question of causation.
$185,000: [Name withheld due to Privacy concerns] vs Deirmenjian (Long Beach, 2005): Unique medical malpractice against a psychiatrist for failing to notify police after his obsessed, stalking patient (the plaintiff's estranged husband) assaulted plaintiff (who was also his patient and had informed defendant of the assault), leading allowing the husband to "unsuccessfully" attempt to murder plaintiff. Husband was sentenced to long term incarceration.
$175,000: Eplett vs Kaiser (Binding Arbitration No. 5159, 2005): Kaiser primary care physician failed to obtain annual diabetic eye checks on claimant, an unmarried 68 year old retired ex-convict with a reported 20 year history of untreated diabetes, leading to diabetic retinopathy (functional blindness). Apparent defenses were liability, patient non-compliance and lack of causation.
$150,000: Lincke vs. Lewis (Ventura, 1990): Auto accident case where plaintiff suffered linear skull fracture. Defendant insurer, for more than 2½ years, refused to settle case and declined plaintiff's statutory demand for $100,000 (policy limits). Case was settled at MSC, with insurer agreeing to settle for 1½ times policy limits because of this failure and exposure for excess verdict.
$125,000: Davidson vs. Loma Linda University Medical Center (San Bernardino, 1990): 14 year old boy, newly and correctly diagnosed in the ER with Marfan's Syndrome, died as a result of delay in performing surgery on ruptured aorta. Decedent was hospitalized, awaiting surgery next morning, at the time of the acute rupture. (Settled without filing.)
$115,000: Doe Survivors vs Hospital, et al. (Case Id Confidential; 1998): Wrongful death of 62 year retired suicidal man after he was “dumped” due to lack of insurance by defendant hospital, Psychiatric Emergency Team (PET) member and emergency room physician. Decedent committed suicide shortly after release by defendant hospital. Rare application of 42 U.S.C. §1395dd (Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), the Federal Anti-Dumping Act).
$115,000: Mathis vs One California Plaza, LASC Case No. BC281854 (2003): 42 year union laborer tripped as he partially fell into an empty tree planter on a sidewalk in Downtown Los Angeles. Torn medial meniscus with surgery. Settled 2 weeks before trial.
$100,000: Doe vs Doe Mortuary: (Not filed) Settled claim for lack of security within 2 weeks of occurrence arising from break-in at defendant facility where burglars sexually molested client’s deceased mother’s body while awaiting burial. Case identification is confidential.
$100,000: Guzman vs Chiu (San Fernando Case No. PC019172, 1999): Pediatrician failed to timely diagnose appendicitis in 3½ year old female leading to rupture and 1 week hospitalization. Plaintiff claimed to have residual sporadic vaginal discharges and pain on urination and alleged that she was predisposed to sterility that may require intervention when girl obtains child-bearing age.
$95,573.71: Lindrum vs Lindrum (and Hall), LASC Case No. BC252248 (Central, 2004): After infant child drowned due, in part, to alleged negligence of father and the child's paternal grandmother at the latter's home, the child's mother (and father's wife), sued the paternal grandmother, over her husband's objections. The father and mother later divorced due to their unbreachable differences about the propriety of this wrongful death against the husband's mother. After the wrongful death case was settled by the mother for $300,000, the father/husband sued the mother (now his ex-wife) for his share of the wrongful death recovery (seeRuttenberg vs. Ruttenberg (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 801, 62 Cal.Rptr.2d 78, which was also Mr. Kapp's case) and the wife's attorney for denying him his alleged rights pursuant to Meighan vs. Shore (1995) 34 Cal.App.4th 1025, 40 Cal.Rptr.2d 744 (also Mr. Kapp's case). (Aspect of this case is reported at Hall vs. Superior Court (2003) 108 Cal.App.4th 706, 133 Cal.Rptr.2d 806, finding no duty from the wife's attorney to the husband.) The settlement was paid entirely by the plaintiff's ex-wife.
$90,000: Doe Victim vs. Matian (Van Nuys 1993): Defendant dentist attempted to rape patient when confined to dental chair. Defendant claimed that the alleged assault never occurred and that plaintiff was extorting money; defendant was acquitted in related misdemeanor case on that theory. Settlement was entirely paid by malpractice carrier after failure to "reserve rights" to non-coverage. (Defendant was later convicted criminally and sentenced to prison in a subsequent similar case handled civilly by this office.)
$81,500: Case Identification Confidential (Pomona 1998): Insurance bad faith case arising from insurer's failure to pay collision-related damages of about $3500 due to alleged tardy receipt of premium. Settlement on third day of trial was higher than our demand; prior to trial, defendant insurer had offered nothing.
$50,000: Doe vs. Dr. Arbiter (LASC, 1993): Plaintiff's long-term family practitioner, while treating him for an auto accident, determined that plaintiff was at high risk for HIV infection and suggested testing. Plaintiff was concerned with privacy concerns, because of accident case, and refused until defendant agreed to anonymous number-only only testing and absolute privacy. Instead, the defendant identified plaintiff by name and unknown staff person released records to auto accident defendants, pursuant to facially valid subpoena. Defense essentially admitted facts, but claimed that (1) plaintiff suffered no real damage and (2) disclosure was obliged, as a matter of law, by subpoena and the alleged oral agreement was superseded by plaintiff's then-attorney's failure to move to quash. Case settled 1 week prior to heavily fought summary judgment hearing, and 2 weeks to trial, when the defendants paid our demand.
Mr. Kapp's Representative Settlements
This is intended solely as a representative list of settlements that Mr. Kapp has obtained over the years. This list does not necessarily include the largest monetary settlements, but rather a representative sampling of some of the most interesting cases.
The list is not complete nor should this list be misconstrued as a guarantee of results or that your case will have the same result.
Please also note that the identity of the parties to these settlements to many of these settlements are confidential or withheld to protect the privacy of our clients. Settlements, by their very nature, are generally private matters.
Law Offices of Howard A. Kapp
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