Plaintiffs Withdraw Appeal—Grant of Summary Judgment Stands

Plaintiffs Withdraw Appeal—Grant of Summary Judgment Stands

Managing and Appellate Partner, Michael N. Romano, Trial Partner, John M. Bugliosi and Associate, Valerie A. Ruocco, secured summary judgment on behalf of MCB’s clients, two pediatricians, an orthopedic spine surgeon, and their medical group, in a case in which the claim was the failure to diagnose Grisel Syndrome resulting in the then nine-year-old plaintiff having to undergo a closed manual reduction of a C1-C2 subluxation and a subsequent C1-C2 spinal fusion.  Summary judgment was granted by the lower court and the plaintiffs appealed.

Grisel Syndrome is a very rare cause of torticollis—an abnormal and asymmetrical head or neck position—due to subluxation of the atlantoaxial joint as a result of inflammatory ligamentous laxity following an infectious process in the head and neck that occurs in infants and young children.  Plaintiffs claimed had Grisel Syndrome been timely diagnosed, their daughter would have been spared spinal surgery and the resultant past and future pain and suffering. Economic disclosures placed the cost of future medical expenses, alone, at nearly $2 Million.

It was argued MCB’s clients timely recommended an MRI which would have diagnosed the infant-plaintiff's condition within the window to treat it non-surgically and were it not for her parents' refusal to have their daughter undergo the MRI surgery would not have been necessary.  Plaintiffs' counsel argued the pediatricians did not properly provide informed consent for the MRI and give the parents the option of an MRI without manipulation, thus raising an issue of fact warranting the denial of summary judgment. To counter this argument, it was argued plaintiffs’ claims of improper counseling were unsupported by the evidence. The Court accepted this argument.

After our written submissions, but prior to argument of the motion, the Second Department upheld the grant of summary judgment in a case in which Mr. Romano represented a urologist where the plaintiff did not follow the urologist’s recommendation for c-difficile testing. It was argued this case was directly on point to the infant’s parents’ failure to follow the advice to have their daughter undergo an MRI. The Court agreed and extensively cited this case in its decision granting summary judgment.

Given the strength of our arguments, and the strong likelihood of affirmance by the Second Department, plaintiffs abandoned their appeal.