Pliner v. M.D.

State of Wisconsin/Circuit Court/Dane County

In this wrongful death medical malpractice jury trial, defense counsel Mark Budzinski and Adam Fitzpatrick secured a unanimous no negligence verdict in favor of a cardiothoracic surgeon. Plaintiff claimed that an iatrogenic vein injury during the procedure resulted in a prolonged surgery to repair the vein injury, adding additional hours on cardiopulmonary bypass.  Plaintiff claimed this ultimately caused plaintiff's death shortly after surgery. The defense contended that the vein injury was repaired appropriately and the decision to continue the surgery to replace the plaintiff's mitral valve and perform a coronary artery bypass was appropriate and met the standard of care. Further, the defense contended that the plaintiff's bleeding condition that developed at the end of the procedure was neither predicable nor resultant from any of the care provided by the cardiothoracic surgeon.

This case spanned a decade between the alleged negligence and trial, involved extensive discovery and press coverage, and required numerous pre-trial motions and hearings to address the press coverage in addition to investigations into the death afterwards. Plaintiff alleged damages totaling 1.3 million dollars for pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of consortium, and loss of earnings.  After a short deliberation, the jury found no negligence on the part of the cardiothoracic surgeon, and awarded $0 for all categories of damages.