Verdict - Summer 2013 - (Page 10)

feature A Primer on Birth Injury Cases and How to Keep Them “Simple” for the Jury O ur firm and co-counsel Hunter Hillin of Austin, Texas recently tried a birth injury case to a $13.9 million verdict in Gwinnett County, Ga.1 In that case we represented the family of Kailey Watson against the labor and delivery team that delivered her and BY NELSON TYRONE the hospital where they worked. Following her delivery, Kailey was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The term “cerebral palsy” refers to several different kinds of permanent brain injuries that occur before, during, or after birth. The term is non-specific. Victims of cerebral palsy can suffer a variety of symptoms including: limited movement, speech difficulties, learning disabilities, visual problems, hearing problems, and epilepsy, seizures or spasms. Kailey suffered many of these. Our review of the medical records and, primarily, the fetal heart monitor “strip,” led us to believe that Kailey had suffered hypoxic (meaning lack of oxygen) and ischemic (meaning lack of bloodflow) injuries during delivery rather than meningitis as suspected by the doctors treating Kailey at the hospital who were unaware of the true facts of her labor and delivery. In Kailey’s case, the jury was faced with two very different stories of how her injuries occurred. Our story was that she had suffered a hypoxic-ischemic injury. The Defense 10 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association claimed she had developed an infection in the amniotic f luid that had either migrated from the umbilical cord to the brain or caused septic shock which had resulted in hypoxic-ischemic injury earlier than at the time of labor and delivery. Although there was medicine and experts supporting both sides, the jury found our story the most credible. Our jury was comprised of a retired homicide detective (foreperson), a paralegal, mothers and fathers (some of whom had contact in one form or another with disabled persons), and a student. The voir dire was simple and no jury consultants were used. The approach was sharing fears, and being honest about the issues and need for an unbiased jury in making our system of justice work. The purpose of this article is to provide three things for the lawyer who has a parent come to them with a child who has

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Verdict - Summer 2013

President’s Message
A Primer on Birth Injury Cases and How to Keep Them “Simple” for the Jury
Online Research of Potential Jurors: A Survey of Resources and Ethical Boundaries
Jury Selection and The Millennials
Confessions of a Trial Lawyer Geek: Great iPad Apps for Trial
GTLA Out & About
Ten Ways to Protect Clients Through Workers’ Compensation Settlements
A Letter from Your Listserv Committee
Case Updates: What’s New?
Workers’ Comp: Recent Developments
Champion Members
Welcome New GTLA Members!
Court Reporters Marketplace
Notes: What’s New with GTLA Members

Verdict - Summer 2013