Richardson & Patel Business Litigators Take on Medical Malpractice Case for a Child of Firm’s Partner; Win $96 Million Despite Facing Top Med Mal Trial Lawyers
LOS ANGELES– LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Like the other litigators at the Los Angeles-based law firm Richardson & Patel, Luan K. Phan is a business lawyer who has enjoyed success handling high stakes matters for corporations and emerging companies. He had never before taken on a medical malpractice trial before, and he took on Aidan Leung’s case to protect one of the firm’s own. Aidan is the 4-year-old son of Richardson & Patel partner Kevin Leung. Mr. Leung and Mr. Phan have been close friends since their days at Loyola Law School. In 2003, shortly after he was born, Aidan suffered permanent brain damage caused by the negligence of Verdugo Hills Hospital and its medical staff.
After two years of contentious litigation, and 6 weeks of trial, on Monday July 2, a Glendale, California jury awarded Aidan over $96 million in future damages, amongst the largest verdicts in the state this year. Notably, Glendale is regarded as among the most conservative venues in the state, particularly challenging for plaintiffs.
“I am a business litigator first and foremost” said Mr. Phan, Managing Partner of the Litigation Department. “But when my friend and partner asked me to take on his son’s case, I couldn’t let him down. After speaking with my partners, we decided as a firm that we would commit ourselves to protect one of our own.”
This story is more than one of a baby who suffered permanent brain damage due to the negligence of doctors and nurses. It is, rather, one of callousness and disregard for patients by the management of Verdugo Hills Hospital. Years before Aidan was born, leading health care organizations (such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) all issued national notices alerting hospitals to the increasing numbers of “kernicterus” – a rare but potentially deadly neurological disorder caused by severe jaundice. All hospitals were advised to review their policies and procedures and compare them to guidelines issued in 1994 by the American Academy of Pediatrics concerning the prevention of this affliction. The national alerts called for hospitals to increase awareness among their medical staff concerning the reemergence of kernicterus to protect at-risk infants, yet Verdugo Hills Hospital management failed to take any steps whatsoever to response and had no procedures or policies to protect Aidan.
When Aidan was born, he met multiple criteria that made him a high kernicterus risk. Unfortunately, Verdugo Hills Hospital’s medical staff failed to diagnose these conditions and failed to warn his parents about the serious danger that he faced. Instead, Verdugo Hills Hospital Medical staff advised his parents that jaundice was temporary, harmless, and would have no lasting effect on his health. This advice proved devastating to Aidan. He cannot walk, talk, sit or stand. He has normal intelligence, but is a prisoner trapped in a body that does not work.
As a result of the jury’s verdict, at least now his parents will have substantial funds to pay for his medical care for the rest of his life.
About Richardson & Patel
The business law firm of Richardson & Patel provides growing public companies an unrivaled combination of business acumen and legal expertise. Richardson & Patel’s capabilities exceed mere legal compliance and include a comprehensive understanding of the capital markets and financial practices that enable clients to maximize their potential value. Headquartered in Los Angeles, R&P has offices in New York City and a growing practice focused on the emerging opportunities of the Asian markets.