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ARTICLE ID 155550

$________ , INCLUDING $________ FROM DEFENDANT STRIP MALL AND $________ FROM DEFENDANT PHYSICIAN - NEGLIGENT SECURITY AT STRIP MALL - PLAINTIFF ATTACKED BY UNIDENTIFIED ASSAILANTS - FACIAL FRACTURES AND KIDNEY DAMAGE - CASE CONSOLIDATED WITH SUBSEQUENT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ACTION - DEFENDANT ANESTHESIOLOGIST PUNCTURES PULMONARY ARTERY DURING SURGERY - EXTENSIVE BLOOD LOSS AND OXYGEN DEPRIVATION - BRAIN DAMAGE.

Middlesex County

The plaintiff, approximately 50, contended that the defendant owner of a strip mall negligently failed to provide adequate security, resulting in her being attacked by two unidentified assailants who fled and were not identified. The plaintiff maintained that she suffered facial fractures and injury to one kidney in the attack. The plaintiff further contended that approximately ten months later, she required surgery to remove the kidney injured in the attack. The plaintiff maintained that while installing the central venous placement (CVP) line, the defendant anesthesiologist negligently punctured the pulmonary artery. The plaintiff contended that as a result, she suffered extensive blood loss, oxygen deprivation and was left with brain damage which will permanently cause great difficulties in attempting to walk without help and necessitate assistance with everyday activities such as dressing, cooking and bathing.

The plaintiff contended, on the negligent security aspect, that after she left a store in the strip mall at approximately 8:00 p.m. in December, she was she was attacked by two men who commenced beating and kicking her on the sidewalk or "breezeway" outside of the stores. The plaintiff maintained that a number of prior incidents, including assaults, had occurred in recent years, especially during the holiday season. The plaintiff established that live security had previously patrolled the strip mall, but that after the tenants no longer wished to pay for it, the defendant declined to pay for the guards. The plaintiff further contended that although the mall still had security cameras, they were not functioning properly and that even when working, were not monitored regularly.

The plaintiff maintained that as she was being beaten, she attempted to reach a pay phone a relatively short distance away on the breezeway. The plaintiff contended that the beating continued as she attempted to reach the telephone and that the assailants then fled. The plaintiff contended that if the guards had been present, she probably would not have been attacked in the first instance. The plaintiff also contended that if either the guards had been present or if the closed circuit TV system has been monitored, the attack would have been curtailed earlier.

The plaintiff maintained she suffered fractures in the nasal and orbital areas and was kicked repeatedly in the back during the attack. The plaintiff contended that although she suffered both dizziness and headaches after the attack, the dizziness had improved a great deal as of the time the nephrectomy was attempted. The plaintiff reported that she had continued to suffer frequent headaches. The plaintiff also maintained that she was hospitalized several times from kidney failure between the time of the attack and the nephrectomy approximately ten months later and that it was determined that the best course of action would be to remove the kidney.

The defendant contended that the monitor system was functional and that the level of security was within the standard of care. The defendant landlord also denied that the assault occasioned the need for the nephrectomy. The plaintiff countered that she suffered several episodes of kidney failure after the incident, had not previously had kidney difficulties and the plaintiff would have argued that it was clear that the alleged medical malpractice was a foreseeable consequence of the assault.

The plaintiff maintained that when the defendant anesthesiologist installed the CVP line, he negligently punctured the pulmonary artery. The plaintiff’s expert anesthesiologist would have concluded that such an injury would not occur in the absence of negligence. The defendant anesthesiologist maintained that the puncture is a recognized complication. The plaintiff elicited testimony from the defendant anesthesiologist’s expert that such a puncture would only be considered a known risk if a particular type of instrument, not involved in the subject case, was used.

The evidence reflected that because of the blood and oxygen deprivation caused by the puncture, the plaintiff has been left with extensive brain damage, is unemployable and requires assistance in the daily activities of living. The plaintiff would have maintained that the plaintiff will require 24-hour-per-day care. The plaintiff would have introduced evidence of the cost of a life care plan and the present value of the cost approximated $1.3 million. The defendants did not dispute that the plaintiff will require care, but maintained that the cost will be much less substantial.

The case settled prior to trial for $________, including $________ from the anesthesiologist and $________ from the strip mall.

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