Verdicts & Settlements
The following is a list of some of the types of cases handled by Doyle Law attorneys. Nothing contained in these summaries should be construed as a promise, guarantee, or warranty of obtaining any particular result in any case.
McKnight v. Spain, Record Setting $26.8 million jury verdict in Medical Malpractice case
In December 2013, Conal Doyle obtained the highest medical malpractice jury verdict in the history of Kern County, California. The $26.8 million verdict was recognized by California’s legal newspaper, The Daily Journal, as one of the Top Ten Verdicts of 2013.
In McKnight, the plaintiff brought a lawsuit against two intraoperative neurodiagnostic monitors who caused her paralysis by failing to do their jobs during a complex spine surgery.
The plaintiff, Charlene McKnight, underwent a spinal surgery on February 23, 2009, and was rendered a paraplegic when a bone fragment was thrust into her spinal cord during surgery. The defendants were supposed to be monitoring the electrical signal of Ms. McKnight’s spinal cord, but neglected to inform the surgeon of an “interruption in signal” which signified compression to the cord. This deprived the surgeon of the opportunity to take corrective action and remove the bone fragment before permanent paralysis ensued.
Significantly, Mr. Doyle was able to obtain a pre-trial ruling that MICRA, California’s medical malpractice tort reform statute, does not apply. Therefore, the defendants, who are not licensed health care providers, do not have the protection of damages caps. Therefore, the entirety of the verdict is recoverable.
Medical Malpractice — Leg Amputation
$2,400,000 Settlement (Georgia 2007)
Conal Doyle and Markus Willoughby obtained a two million four hundred thousand dollar recovery on behalf of a 33 year old man who broke his leg playing baseball and had it amputated at the knee two weeks later due to the defendants’ failure to timely diagnose and treat Compartment Syndrome. Conal Doyle was lead counsel on this Georgia case, which resolved three weeks prior to trial after almost two years of litigation, which included more than forty depositions. The value of the case was constrained by the two million dollar insurance policy limits of the target defendant and a conservative jurisdiction. The firm spent more than $100,000 in case costs in prosecuting this case.
Civil Rights/Medical Malpractice-Brain Injury
$2.2 Million Settlement (California 2012)
Conal Doyle obtained a $2.2 million dollar settlement on behalf of an undocumented alien who contracted a brain infection while in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff. The plaintiff was a Sri Lankan national who escaped the civil war in Sri Lanka and sought asylum in the United States. While his asylum petition was pending, he was detained, had a seizure, and was transported to a local hospital where his condition was not timely diagnosed and treated. As a result, he suffered permanent brain damage. The plaintiff sought to hold the County and local hospital responsible for “deliberate indifference” and medical negligence. The case was litigated for four years, in both federal and state court, and more than 25 expert depositions were taken. Case costs were approximately $200,000. The case settled on the eve of trial for a combined $2.2 million from the County, hospital, and emergency room physician.
Medical Malpractice/Products Liability — Leg Amputation
$2,175,000 Settlement (California 2011)
Conal Doyle and Jody Moore, Law Offices of Jody Moore, obtained a recovery on behalf of a 61 year old woman whose leg was amputated below the knee due to medical negligence and products liability. The plaintiff consented to amputation of her leg because she was erroneously told she had cancer due to an error in the hospital information technology system. Plaintiff brought both medical negligence and products liability claims, and obtained pre-trial rulings that MICRA’s cap on damages did not apply to the hospital defendants. The plaintiff had no claim for future lost wages. Mr. Doyle was retained to act as trial counsel after the case was originally brought and worked up by Ms. Moore.
Civil Rights/Medical Malpractice — Penile Amputation and Wrongful Death, Castaneda v. United States, California Federal Court, Case No: 07-cv-7241
$1,950,000 Settlement (April 2011)
Conal Doyle obtained a $1,950,000 settlement in Castaneda v. U.S., 538 F.Supp.2d 1279 (C.D. Cal 2008), affirmed, Castaneda v. U.S., 546 F.3d 682 (9th Cir. 2008), reversed, Castaneda v. Hui,130 S.Ct. 1845 (2010), which is an action by an immigration detainee who suffered a penile amputation and subsequently died due to the United States’ failure to timely diagnose and treat penile cancer.
Castaneda v. United States is a companion case to Castaneda v. State, and the settlement with the United States is in addition to the $1.73 million dollar verdict obtained against the State. This settlement is almost eight times the $250,000 medical malpractice cap that the United States argued applied to the case. The Firm spent more than $180,000 in case costs prosecuting the Castaneda cases.
The case has received extensive international media coverage, with numerous stories published by the San Francisco Chronicle, L.A. Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Canadian News Press, British Broadcasting Company (BBC), Daily Journal, Univision, Telemundo, numerous other international media outlets, and 60 Minutes.
The San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association honored Conal Doyle with the 2011 Civil Justice Award for his unprecedented work on behalf of the Castaneda family. And the National Law Journal recognized him as its national “Appellate Lawyer of the Week” for his argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in Hui v. Castaneda.
Medical Malpractice/Civil Rights — Penile Amputation and Wrongful Death, Castaneda v. State of California, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No: VC050229
$1,735,000 Jury Verdict (November 2010)
Conal Doyle obtained a $1,735,557 jury verdict on November 10, 2010 on behalf of the family of Francisco Castaneda, a state prisoner who died because the State of California refused to provide him a biopsy to rule out penile cancer during his four month detention. The suit was brought by Mr. Castaneda’s 17 year old daughter, Vanessa Castaneda. Prior to trial, the State offered $10,000 to settle the claim, and disputed liability, causation, and damages. During trial, Mr. Doyle asked the jury to return a verdict of $1,500,000 in non-economic damages and $235,557 for past medical bills.
After deliberating for less than four hours, the jury returned a verdict for the exact amount requested, which was 170 times the pre-trial defense offer. The amount of the verdict was not reduced due to comparative fault and is not subject to California’s medical malpractice tort reform act (“MICRA”), and is 100% collectible.
The Daily Journal, California’s daily legal newspaper, recognized Castaneda v. State of California as one of California’s Top 10 most impactful verdicts of 2010. The Castaneda verdict was ranked third in impact, behind only the verdicts striking down the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and Proposition 8, the California ban on gay marriage. The Castaneda verdict was recognized for its impact on improving the medical care system for immigration detainees.
Civil Rights/Battery — Traumatic Brain Injury
$896,000 Jury Verdict (Florida)
Bob Stoler, Mike Martin, and Conal Doyle obtained an $896,000 jury verdict in a federal lawsuit against a correctional officer who battered their mentally challenged client in County jail. At the time, the verdict was reported to be one of the largest ever against a Polk County, Florida correctional officer. The verdict was affirmed on appeal by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. After the insurance company denied coverage, a declaratory relief action was filed against the insurer to establish coverage. The plaintiff won the action and the insurance company paid the full amount of the judgment. The result of this case was reported in local newspapers and television.
Insurance Bad Faith/Coverage-Denial of Prosthetic Benefits
$750,000 Settlement (California 2012)
Conal Doyle obtained a $750,000 settlement on behalf of a 35 year old woman who was denied a prosthetic limb by a national insurance company. The plaintiff was denied a microprocessor knee (“c-leg” by Ottobock) because the insurance company maintained it was “experimental and/or investigational.” After filing suit, Mr. Doyle forced the insurance company to approve and pay for the C-leg and obtained an additional $750,000 settlement before discovery commenced.
Insurance Bad Faith/Coverage
$645,000 Settlement (Florida 2007)
Conal Doyle obtained a settlement in this Florida case on behalf of a family of five whose house was severely damaged in an electrical fire. The suit alleged that the insurance company unreasonably failed to tender the value of the insurance policy and acted in bad faith. The recovery was more than three times the asserted value of the policy limits. The settlement was achieved within a month of filing suit before the start of discovery.
$525,000 Settlement-Insurance Bad Faith-Denial of Prosthetic Benefits
Conal Doyle obtained a $525,000 settlement on behalf of an amputee whose health insurance company denied his claim for a myoelectric prosthetic arm (i-limb). The large health insurance company denied the arm-arguing that the claimant should wear a ‘body powered’ prosthesis, essentially a manual arm slung over one shoulder with a “hook” at the end. The plaintiff, a young actor, student, and father of two young girls, persisted, arguing that he needed a myoelectric arm to obtain acting jobs and to safely interact with his children. After suit was filed, and before discovery began, a settlement was reached where the defendant approved the claim for the i-limb (paying out more than $125,000), and settled the damages claim for an additional $525,000. Due to his national reputation in the field, Mr. Doyle obtained this recovery without taking a single deposition.
$475,000 Settlement-Insurance Bad Faith-Denial of Prosthetic Benefits
Conal Doyle obtained a $475,000 settlement on behalf of an amputee whose health insurance company denied her claim for a myoelectric prosthetic arm (i-limb). The large health insurance company denied the arm-arguing that the arm was not “medically necessary.” The plaintiff, a 58 year old school teacher, persisted, arguing that she needed a myoelectric arm for the dexterity it provided in writing on the blackboard and otherwise carrying out her duties as a schoolteacher. After suit was filed, and before discovery began, a settlement was reached where the defendant approved the claim for the i-limb (paying out more than $100,000), and settled the damages claim for an additional $475,000. Due to his national reputation in the field, Mr. Doyle obtained this recovery without taking a single deposition.
Employment-Wrongful Termination-FINRA Arbitration
$400,000 Settlement (New York 2012)
Conal Doyle obtained a $400,000 settlement on behalf of an investment banker in a FINRA arbitration venued in New York. The banker was terminated after refusing to renegotiate his contract so that he would forfeit $121,500 in wages.
Mold Infestation of Residential Property
$350,000 Settlement (California 2012)
Conal Doyle obtained a $350,000 settlement on behalf of a family of three who were exposed to toxic mold over a three year period in Orange County, California. The management company refused to remediate the toxic mold, attempted to cover-up it’s existence, and sought to evict the tenants because the y complained to neighbors about the presence of mold on the property.
Medical Malpractice-Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) claim against United States-June 2012
$250,000 Verdict (MICRA cap limit)
In Martin Hernandez Banderas v. United States, Conal Doyle obtained a verdict against the United States for the MICRA cap limit of $250,000. The claim was brought by an immigration detainee who was denied adequate medical care while being detained by the United States on immigration charges. The case received extensive media coverage, including two stories in the Washington Post. The government’s highest pre-trial offer was $150,000, while Plaintiff’s demand was $200,000. Damages were capped by statute at $250,000. Rather than taking the government’s low ball offer, Mr. Doyle took the United States to trial and obtained the $250,000 maximum verdict from a federal judge in the Central District of California.
Medical Malpractice-Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) claim against United States-(2012)
Conal Doyle obtained a $150,000 settlement on behalf of a veteran whose penile cancer was not timely diagnosed and treated at a VA Hospital in Sacramento, California. The case value was capped at $250,000 by MICRA, California’s statutory cap on non-economic damages. The case was settled just prior to trial after completing expert discovery. The United States denied all liability and argued the Plaintiff would have had the same result irrespective of the delay in diagnosis.
Battery — Nose Surgery
$87,500 Settlement (February 2007)
Conal Doyle obtained a settlement on behalf of a thirty one year old financial analyst who was battered in an unprovoked attack after a Cold Play concert in 2006. The Plaintiff sustained a deviated septum which required nose surgery. The settlement reached at mediation exceeded the plaintiff’s pre-suit demand and was more than forty times the past economic loss.
Products Liability — Leg Amputation
Confidential Structured Settlement (North Carolina 2007)
Conal Doyle obtained a settlement on behalf of a 5 year old girl whose leg was amputated below the knee after she was backed over by a riding lawnmower. The Firm alleged that the mower was defectively designed as it did not have a safety mechanism to prevent the mower from mowing in reverse. The confidential settlement was reached with the lawnmower manufacturer and the plaintiff’s uncle, who was riding the lawnmower. The Firm was able to negotiate a structured settlement that provides for a lifetime recovery of several million dollars.
Products Liability — Wrongful Death (Florida)
Confidential Structured Settlement
Conal Doyle obtained a settlement on behalf of a 14 year old girl whose father fell to his death off a defective scaffolding system. The confidential settlement was reached with the manufacturer and retailer of the scaffolding system, which was not designed according to OSHA regulations. This case was litigated in Pinellas County, Florida.
Automobile Accident — Traumatic Brain Injury (California)
Confidential Settlement 2007
Markus Willoughby and Conal Doyle obtained a settlement for a 50 year old attorney who was broadsided in an intersection and sustained a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. The Plaintiff, a medical malpractice defense attorney, was unable to continue in her job and made a substantial claim for future lost wages. The confidential settlement was reached with the driver that hit her and her Underinsured Motorist Carrier.
Conal Doyle obtained a settlement with the City of Susanville, California, after one of its police officers battered his client with pepper spray while he was asleep in the front seat of his car after a car accident. The settlement was significant considering the Plaintiff did not suffer any economic loss or permanent physical injury.
Insurance Coverage/ERISA — Bad Faith Denial of Insurance Benefits for Prosthetic Limb
Full Benefit Paid plus Attorneys Fees (Florida 2008)
Conal Doyle obtained a settlement in Hughes v. Aetna, a lawsuit filed in federal court in Florida, forcing Aetna Insurance to pay the full amount of the benefit at issue and $25,000 in attorneys fees prior to any discovery being conducted in the case. The plaintiff, Karen Hughes, is an above the knee amputee, who was denied a microprocessor knee (C-Leg) by Aetna, her health insurance company. Aetna alleged that the C-leg, on the market in the United States since 1999, was “experimental and investigational” and thus initially denied the benefit. On appeal, Aetna determined that the C-leg was not “experimental and investigational” and authorized payment.
Nevertheless, Aetna failed to pay for the benefit for more than eight months, forcing Ms. Hughes to file suit in federal court. Due to the fact she was insured by an employer health plan, Ms. Hughes’ claim was governed by ERISA, a federal statute that pre-empts state law and limits recovery to the value of the denied benefit and provides a federal judge discretion to award attorneys fees.
Insurance Coverage/Bad Faith Denial of Insurance Benefits for Prosthetic Limb
Beck v. Blue Cross — Confidential Pre-suit settlement (California 2009)
Conal Doyle was co-lead counsel in a claim against Anthem Blue Cross of California for denial of prosthetic benefits to a 19 year old man who lost his leg to cancer. Owen Beck’s prosthetist and physician recommended a microprocessor knee prosthesis (C-Leg), but Blue Cross, maintained that the C-leg, on the market in the United States since 1999, was “experimental and investigational” and thus denied the benefit, and withheld that decision on appeal. Mr. Beck pursued damages for the cost of the benefit, emotional distress, and punitive damages. The case was resolved after pre-suit demand. Blue Cross insisted that the terms of the pre-suit settlement be confidential. Conal Doyle donated a portion of his time on the case to Public Justice, as a pro bono contribution.
Insurance Coverage/Bad Faith Denial of Insurance Benefits for Prosthetic Limb
Cullen v. Blue Cross — Confidential Settlement
Conal Doyle obtained a confidential settlement on behalf of Cheri Cullen, an above the knee amputee, who is a 44 year old mother of two. Blue Cross authorized and paid for a microprocessor knee for Ms. Cullen in 2003, yet denied coverage for that same device in 2009, alleging that it is “experimental and investigational.” Blue Cross has maintained this position despite the fact the C-leg has been wellaccepted and recognized as a standard prosthetic device for almost ten years. All above the amputee soldiers returning from war are offered a C-leg from Walter Reed Medical Center, the C-leg is FDA approved, and recognized as standard prosthetic technology by countless other insurance companies. Blue Cross’ denial of prosthetic benefits is explained solely by the fact that the C-leg is considerably more expensive than the alternative prosthetic option.
Ski Resort Liability — Avalanche
Mederos v. Squaw Valley Ski Resort (California 2008)
Conal Doyle obtained a confidential settlement on behalf of Moses Mederos, a 33 year old executive who was trapped in an avalanche on the face of the “headwall” run at Squaw Valley USA, one of the most popular and commonly traversed ski runs in the United States. Mr. Mederos suffered a severe shoulder injury, requiring surgery and extensive rehabilitation. Squaw Valley denied liability for the accident and a confidential settlement was obtained after a lawsuit was filed.
Medical Malpractice — Burn Injury during Surgery
Leong v. Stanford Hospitals (California 2008)
Conal Doyle obtained a confidential settlement after suit was filed for a 45 year old father of three who sustained second and third degree burns on his back during routine arthroscopic knee surgery. The Hospital overheated a water bottle placed underneath Mr. Leong during surgery, yet Stanford still denied liability, and ultimately sought a confidential settlement prior to trial.
Jail Rape — Battery and Negligent Hiring and Retention
Jane Doe v. Corrections Corporation of America (New Jersey 2009)
Conal Doyle was retained to act as lead trial counsel just prior to trial, after the international law firm Paul Hastings litigated the case pro bono for approximately three years. The plaintiff was a woman who fled her home country of Uganda after suffering atrocities at the hands of the Ugandan military. She sought asylum from the United States, and was promptly imprisoned by the federal government and sent to the Elizabeth Detention Center, in New Jersey, a federal facility run by a private corrections company (CCA).
While in detention, she was raped by Michael Baisden, a CCA employee with a violent criminal past, who had been permitted to supervise female detainees at the correctional facility. Baisden was convicted of rape and served three years in prison as a result of his assault of the Plaintiff. Nevertheless, CCA denied liability, alleging that the sexual encounter was “consensual” despite the fact that New Jersey law provides that a detainee can never provide consent to sex with a guard due to the obvious power imbalance between the parties. CCA entered into a confidential settlement with the Plaintiff after Mr. Doyle entered an appearance in the case and conducted expert depositions.