I. DRAMATIS PERSONAE
Asterisk denotes character with substantial part in the lawsuit process
The Involved Parties
*Donna (Fitzgerald) Sabia…………………………….………………….. Mother of Little Tony
*Tony Sabia……………………………………………………..………….Father of Little Tony
*Little Tony………….……………………… “Baby A” Severely disabled son, focus of lawsuit
Little Michael………………………….……..………… “Baby B” Stillbirth twin of Little Tony
*Barbara McManamy…………………………….……………… Nurse-Midwife seen by Donna
*Dr. Maryellen Humes ……………..……………………………… Delivery Doctor, OB-GYN
*Mollie Fortuna …………………………………………...………………….. Nurse at Delivery
Linda Nemeth ……………………………………………. Chair of Nursing, Norwalk Hospital
Rosalinda Koffstein …………………………………..………………… Social worker at STAR
*Mary Gay …………………………………… Friend of Donna, mother of a handicapped child
The Plaintiff’s Team
*Michael Koskoff …………………….………………… Malpractice lawyer hired by the Sabias
*Joel Lichtenstein ………………….………….…………….. Koskoff’s case screener at the firm
*Karen Koskoff …………… Michael’s cousin @ the firm, handled most of the early depositions
*Christopher Bernard …………………....……………Associate of Koskoffs; “unifies” the case
*Dr. Kurt Benirschke …………………………………. Expert on twin births hired by Koskoffs
Dr. Marcus Hermansen ………………………… Expert on neonatology consulted by Koskoffs
*Dr. Barry Schifrin …………………………………………. Preeminent perinatologist in USA
Dr. Thomas Murray ……………..………………………………………. Consulted by Koskoffs
*Dr. Leslie Iffy ……………………………………………………………….. Hired by Koskoffs
Dr. Edwin Gold ………………………………….……… unhelpful expert consulted by Bernard
Dr. John Goldkrand…………………………………………………..……. Expert Perinatologist
Defendant Humes’ Team
*Arnold Bai ……………………………...………. Attorney for Dr. Humes in Gay v. Humes suit
*St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance ………………..…………….. Dr. Humes’ insurance company
*Marlene Smethurst ………………….……………………………. Officer of St. Paul Insurance
Bob Montstream ……………….... Attorney hired by St. Paul to represent Humes, replacing Bai
*April Haskell ……………………...……….. partner @ Montstream, Took over for Montstream
Alan Pinshaw ………………………………………..………. Consultant hired by Montstream
Dr. Solon Cole ………………………………….……….………………. Consulted by Haskell
Dr. Roy Strand …………………………………………………………….consulted by Haskell
Defendant Norwalk Hospital’s Team
*Bill Doyle…………………………………………. Attorney for Travelers (Hospital’s insurer)
*Pat Ryan ………………………………………………………. Attorney for Norwalk Hospital
Donna Zito ……………………………………………………….. Ryan’s associate, for Norwalk
*Beverly Hunt …………………………………………………. Associate of Ryan, for Norwalk
Travelers Insurance …………………………………. Norwalk Hospital’s insurance underwriter
Dr. Robert Greenstein …………………………………………………. Consultant for Travelers
*Dr. Charles Lockwood …………………………………………….. Expert on Standard of Care
*Dr. Susan Farrell …………………………………..…………………. Expert on medical costs
*Dr. Herbert Grossman ……………………………………………….. Expert on life expectancy
*Dr. Richard Jones III……………………………..……………………… Expert on ultrasounds
Judge Ballen ……………………………………………………….Presiding judge over the case
David Ferguson ………………………………….……………………. 1st Mediator, unsuccessful
Stanley Jacobs………………………..…………… Mediator chosen by Doyle for 2nd Mediation
Tony Fitzgerald…………………………………. Mediator chosen by Koskoff for 2nd Mediation
II. CHRONOLOGICAL EVENTS
Birth of Little Tony
-April 1, 1984: Donna starts having contractions, goes to hospital
-Procedure was to put fetal monitoring strips on as soon as mother admitted to hospital; this didn’t happen
-At 9:20 AM Mollie Fortuna checked heart sounds; could find one baby heart sound, but not the other. This fact was noted but never reported it to McManamy (Fortuna later contends that she did report it to McManamy)
-After 10AM: One baby was in breech position; hospital called Humes to come in and handle the birth
-Donna given no painkillers; was thrashing about in bed, screaming for some kind of medicine
-Humes ordered by her superiors to leave Donna and go discharge some other patients who were just waiting to be released; hospital needed the bed space. Humes didn’t want to leave, but felt forced to do so.
-Baby A finally comes: Apgar score of 1 (1-10, 0=death)
-Baby B follows, breech birth, is born dead
-Humes shows the Sabias the dead twin, the afterbirth, the blood clot in the dead baby’s umbilical cord that suggests there was a cord accident that caused Baby B to be cut off from nutrients, causing his death
-Sabias contend Humes told them that Baby A gave his blood to Baby B to try and save him “twin-to-twin transfusion”; Humes later contends that she never told the Sabias this
-Hospital Administrator Linda Nemeth suspended Fortuna for 5 days, then terminated her employment at Norwalk
-Nemeth tells Humes to write up & file an account of what happened at the Sabias birth
Aftermath of Birth
-1984-85: Donna takes Tony to Norwalk for regular checkups, physical therapy sessions; she starts going to STAR, an infant and child development program for handicapped children
-At STAR, Donna she starts meeting with Koffstein, a social worker
-July 1985: Donna Sabia starts asking doctors questions about Little Tony’s condition, starting to realize how serious Little Tony’s condition is
-April 1986: Sabias cut off contact with Norwalk Hospital, start taking Little Tony to a private physician in Westport
-May 1986: OB-GYN dept. at Norwalk decides to review Humes’ conduct in the Sabia birth; require her to provide a written account of what happened by June 1. Humes resents the pressure and in July decides to leave Norwalk for a primary practice at Stamford Hospital
-August 1986: Donna meets Mary Gay at STAR; she is a mother of a handicapped child herself, Humes was her doctor, too, and she has a lawsuit pending against Humes. Gay listens to Donna’s account of what happened and notes the similar condition that Humes failed to monitor the babies’ heart rates during birth. Gay suggests to Donna that she should call a lawyer and sue Humes. This is the first time Donna realizes that she might be entitled to sue for damages.
Sabias Consult a Lawyer: Koskoff
-Sept 1986: Sabias meet with the Koskoff firm for the first time; they tell their story to Joel Lichtenstein
-Lichtenstein’s role at the firm is to weed out the good cases from the bad
-Lichtenstein is immediately suspicious because Humes was involved; however, he remains non-committal after their 1st meeting, careful not to get their hopes up
-Oct 1986: Norwalk demands a written account from Humes about the Sabia birth before they will recommend & allow her to transfer to Stamford hospital; Humes finally complies
-Nov 1986: Mary Gay’s suit against Humes is settled for $1 million.
Putting Together the Case
-Early 1987: Lichtenstein begins to review the case fully, trying to make out whether they can prove 3 factors: (1) A standard of care that was not followed, negligently ; (2) Harm; (3) The harm was caused by the negligence of not following the standard of care.
-Koskoff and Lichtenstein decide to focus suit on Little Tony’s injuries, NOT on the dead twin: more likely to get more money if they sue for costs of Little Tony’s care. Unlikely to get anything for a dead child.
-Feb 1987: Little Tony has hip and joint surgery to correct some of his development problems
-March 2, 1987: Lichtenstein files lawsuit against Norwalk and Humes:
-2 counts each on behalf of Little Tony and Donna: One against Norwalk, one against Humes
-18 allegations, included: (N)= Against Norwalk, (H)= Against Humes
-Failure to treat pregnancy as high-risk (N)
-Inadequate procedures for twin births (N)
-Failure to follow procedures (inadequate as they were) (N)
-Failure to monitor regularly w/ultrasound (N)
-Providing nurse-midwives instead of doctors (N)
-Ignoring fact that Baby B’s heartbeat couldn’t be found (N)
-Delaying having an ultrasound done (N)
-Failure to do a timely C-section (N)
-Failure to have an obstetrician present when Donna arrived (N)
-Causing permanent, painful injuries to Little Tony (N, H)
-Causing pain & emotional distress to Donna (N, H)
-Failure to exercise ordinary/ customary degree of care (H)
-Carelessness and Negligence (H)
-April 23, 1987: Little Tony stops eating; has to take food through IV
-April 1987: Both sides exchange their first interrogatories
-May 1987: Little Tony has feeding tube implanted; Lichtenstein recommends that Donna cease keeping a journal of events (Reason: could be discoverable in the lawsuit, could be damaging to the case.)
-Sept 1988: Court issues come to a head:
-After months of posturing on both sides, Karen moves for default judgment as a last ditch effort to get Montstream to answer her interrogatories. Meanwhile, she still refused to provide the Sabias for deposition to the other side.
-Montstream counter-motions (#1): It’s been almost a year since the Court ordered Karen to provide a revised version of Lichtenstein’s original complaint, and she still hadn’t produced it. Montstream moves to dismiss case.
-10 days later Karen amends complaint as the Court ordered.
-Montstream moves for further amendments, specifically ones that exclude Humes and place more of the blame on Norwalk. (#2)
-Montstream moves to dismiss for violating 2-year statute of limitations. (#3)
-Judge rules for Montstream #1: Gives Karen 4 months to get the case moving or be dismissed.
-Montstream moves to dismiss for frustration of discovery process, Karen refusing to tender the Sabias for deposition. (#4)
-Karen produces the Sabias for deposition.
The Initial Strategies: Drawing up the lines of conflict
-Humes’ Legal Team Strategy:
-Humes wants Arnold Bai to represent her again; St. Paul, Humes’ insurer, decides Bai is too expensive. Assigns Bob Montstream to her case instead. Montstream later turns over the case to an associate, April Haskell.
-Humes hires Bai to represent her personally, to keep tabs on what St. Paul is doing and make sure they don’t screw her in their own interests
-Montstream exchanges interrogatories w/ Koskoffs
-Montstream asks for information on Sabias’ personal lives, marriages, other children, jobs, etc.
-Karen refuses to answer those questions pending a court hearing on the matter
-July 1987: Montrose receives a 14-page preliminary report from Dr. Alan Pinshaw on the Sabia case. Pinshaw’s report condemns Humes for violating standard of care on two occasions: failing to monitor fetal heart rates at all times, and leaving Donna to discharge other patients in the middle of Donna’s labor. Pinshaw is most critical, however, of Donna’s pre-birth treatment, of which Humes had no part. Pinshaw thinks cause of death was twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and that it happened well before Donna arrived in the hospital. Montrose sees an opportunity to shift blame away from his client and on to the hospital for failing to properly diagnose the problem. Pinshaw thinks that if the babies had been taken early, they’d both be alive. This would let Humes off the hook.
-The Koskoffs / Sabias Legal Strategy:
-Case is assigned to Karen Koskoff, cousin of Michael Koskoff
-Karen sends a 17-page questionnaire to Pat Ryan (Attorney for Norwalk) requesting information
-Zito (see below) refuses to answer 20 of Karen’s 29 questions for 2 reasons: (1) Says information is privileged; (2) Says Karen is just fishing for info
-All Karen can find out from Zito is that Fortuna stopped working at Norwalk in April 1984 (but not whether she was fired or not) and that the hospital is insured by Travelers.
-Karen refuses to answer Montstream’s highly personal questions about the Sabias pending a court hearing on the matter
-Norwalk Hospital’s Legal Strategy:
-Pat Ryan given the Sabia case; he turns it over to Donna Zito
-Zito receives 17 page questionnaire and stonewalls (see above, 20 out of 29 questions she refuses to answer)
-Jan 20 1989: Sabia Deposition
-At the deposition: Donna, Tony, Karen, Ryan, Beverly Hunt (associate of Ryan), Montstream, Humes. (key players, not complete list.)
-Ryan: At this point, Ryan doesn’t know much about why Donna is filing suit. One of the key things he is looking for is to find out how much the plaintiffs blame the hospital and how much they blame Humes, separately. He also wants to test out the statute of limitations idea, pin down Donna on when exactly she became aware of negligence.
-Ryan Questions Donna: Testifies that she didn’t suspect negligence at any time during the birth; testifies that Humes told her what had gone wrong (twin-to-twin transfusion); that Humes didn’t specify when the cord accident happened; that it never crossed her mind that somebody at the hospital should have done something to save Little Tony until she spoke with Mary Gay 2 years later; that she never suspected getting substandard medical care during her pregnancy until 2 years later; that she now thinks she should have had better care, that they should have given her a C-section or do SOMEthing; that the lawsuit only involves Little Tony, and NOT the dead twin [Ryan and Montrose aren’t sure about this until Donna so testifies. Part of the discovery process is about figuring out what the suit is all about]; that she has no family history of difficult births, as far as she is aware, but she was adopted so she doesn’t know for certain; what things she has to do with Little Tony, the kind of care he needs and her role in it. Ryan finishes.
-Montstream Questions Donna: Testifies about her kids, her oldest daughter’s problems at school; that she smokes; that she did not smoke during her pregnancy with Little Tony; that she did not drink while pregnant; that nobody told her not to smoke or drink, she just knew she wasn’t supposed to for the sake of her baby; about her medical history; that she has never miscarried; about her natural and adoptive family; about her condition in the delivery room, being in pain, screaming from the pain; what she knows about Mary Gay and what their relationship was (friends); of her medical conditions (deafness in one ear), medications she was taking, answers to lots and lots of miscellaneous questions.
-Ryan Questions Pt. 2: Testifies about Tony’s seizures, lies to Ryan when he asks if she has any writings, letters, or journals about any of the entire experience she’s had with the birth and Little Tony. Donna’s deposition ends.
-Ryan Questions Tony: Testifies that he didn’t suspect negligence until Donna told him she’d been talking with Mary Gay; that he felt if something had been done wrong that he would have been told of it [Becomes clear to Ryan and Karen that Tony has an almost religious faith in doctors, that he fully expected them to inform him of everything, and that it would never have occurred to him that a doctor would omit informing him if a problem had occurred. This is very helpful for Karen and for the case.] Ryan stops.
-Montstream Questions Tony: Testifies about various medical problems he’s had over the years; that he smokes; that he smokes at home; that he doesn’t abuse drugs; that someone told him that they could only hear 1 heartbeat, but that he didn’t take it as an indication of a problem and didn’t ask about it; that he never subsequently asked a doctor about the missing heartbeats; about what his role in caring for Little Tony is; more misc. stuff about his medical history. Montstream stops.
-Ryan Questions Part 2: Ryan asks what Tony’s understanding of what was done wrong to his wife. Tony answers that he feels all those educated doctors shouldn’t have let something like this happen; that they said they were going to do a C-section if things went badly, but they never did; that he never asked at the time why they hadn’t done a C-section.
-Montstream Questions Part 2: Asks about the discharge nurse; why Tony thought they wanted an autopsy (he thinks in order to find out what happened); that he is currently tired and hungry and getting upset with all the questions; that he’s not taking any medication for nerves.
March 7, 1989: Humes Deposition
-At the deposition: Humes, Montstream, Sacco, Karen Koskoff, Ryan, Hunt
-Karen begins questions: Humes testifies that: McManamy called her to come to the delivery; that McManamy said she was concerned about one of the babies in breech; that fetal hearts (PLURAL) were normal (Karen thinks this may have been a faulty recollection of the phone conversation); that McManamy didn’t say if an ultrasound had been performed; that she didn’t know they’d had trouble finding the other heartbeat; that she went to the hospital and spoke with McManamy first; that she didn’t remember whether she’d asked to review fetal-monitoring strips, but that *would* have been her normal practice to do so; that Donna was thrashing about in the delivery room; that she never put a monitoring strip on Donna; that she didn’t try any other monitoring method (Karen detects that Humes is insinuating that because Donna was thrashing about, it was her own fault somehow that no monitoring was done—the uncooperative patient excuse); that she didn’t give a sedative to Donna because the birth was imminent; that she hadn’t been personally monitoring Donna; that Baby Tony was born w/Apgar rating of 1; that she didn’t see anything at the birth to suggest that Little Tony had suffered from a lack of oxygen (if she had said this, she might be forced to admit that she should have known and done something sooner); that in her medical opinion the stillborn baby had been dead for some time (a day or more); that the placenta had a tear and blood clot in one of the arteries which (in her medical opinion) caused the death of Baby B; that the tear probably happened when the babies moved around; that she didn’t see anything to suggest twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome and didn’t tell the Sabias that such a thing had happened (conflicts w/ Sabias’ testimony); that she knew right away that Baby Tony was having problems, but didn’t know the cause; that determining what went wrong was out of her scope of knowledge; that she spoke to McManamy after the birth; that they spoke about the fact that continual monitoring wasn’t done because Donna was “combative”; that in her opinion the placenta had been abnormal and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome was a distinct possibility; that she’d been subject to a peer review in the aftermath of the birth; she is prevented from answering whether any actions were taken against her by the hospital via objections from Montstream and Ryan: internal hospital investigations are privileged information.
Ryan Questions Humes: Humes testifies that she didn’t tell the Sabias about T-to-T transfusion syndrome; that in her opinion Baby B had been dead for 24-48 hours before birth; that she and McManamy had made an arrangement where McManamy would deliver the first twin, and Humes would deliver the second (breech) twin; that she was the attending physician; that she was in charge of the treatment being provided, because that was the responsibility of attending physicians.
Travelers hires Dr. Robert Greenstein to examine Little Tony, determine what his problems are:
-Greenstein retained as a consultant for Travelers
-Travelers wants to find information that would exculpate the hospital: genetic disorders, other possible causes of problems, etc.
-Also want him to make a guess as to life expectancy (for purposes of a settlement, how long Little Tony can be expected to live is critical)
-Greenstein determines that Little Tony’s prognosis is very poor; that there is no family history of problems like these; recommends they test his chromosomes to be certain
-Most “explosive” part of the report: Greenstein estimates that Little Tony will only live 35-38 years; while very short in terms of human life, that figure is extremely high when it comes to calculating the costs of medical care.
-As a result of this very troubling report, Hunt & Ryan ask the Koskoffs about the possibility of a settlement. Unaware of the existence of the report, Karen Koskoff wonders what has prompted them to act this way; the Koskoffs decline to enter settlement talks until they’ve deposed the other people at the hospital first.
December 6, 1989: McManamy Deposition
-Called by the Koskoffs as a “fact witness”
-McManamy decides before the deposition to side with the hospital, and “by telling the truth it wasn’t going to be good for [Dr. Humes].” She decides to give the party line for the hospital.
-Humes is actually at the deposition, along with Hunt & Karen Koskoff
-Karen questions McManamy: McManamy testifies that she never discussed Donna’s care with any physicians, that there were no meetings about it; that she never discussed doing stress / non-stress tests on Donna Sabia with anyone; that she never suggested ultrasounds should be done; that she made a note that Twin B was in breech but never told anyone about it; that she assumed because she’d noted it in the record that subsequent caregivers would be aware of her findings; (Karen switches tactics now, in order to make the case possible that McManamy had a duty to care for Donna independent of Humes’ responsibility; her next questions are geared with this in mind); that she was able to determine the well-being of the twins but that was not her role to do so at the time; that the duty was shared by the admitting nurse (Fortuna) and the physician in charge (Humes); that even though Humes didn’t arrive until a little while after Donna Sabia was admitted, it is common practice that a physician is still responsible for the patient even if (s)he hasn’t arrived to care for the patient yet (this is very damaging against Humes); that she wasn’t responsible for monitoring Donna until Humes arrived, but that Mollie Fortuna was; that her only role was as a supporting player, a “familiar face” for the patient; that it was not her responsibility to assess the fetal well being of Donna Sabia’s pregnancy, it was Humes’ and Fortuna’s; that she was not in charge of directing the nursing staff; that she did not monitor Donna, nor ask anyone else to do so; that she did not look at any fetal monitoring strips, but there had been a monitor in the room at the time; that she did try to assess the fetal well being of Donna’s pregnancy herself: there was no note made in the medical records that she did so, but she turned on the monitor in the room to listen to the twins (this is a surprise to Karen); that she did not order an ultrasound; that she did not ask anyone else to do so, but told Fortuna that Humes would probably order one; that Fortuna told her she was having trouble locating Twin B’s heartbeat and McManamy told her that was common but to try again; and that Fortuna never reported back to her after that; that she assumed Fortuna’s silence meant that Fortuna had found the other heartbeat; that Fortuna was ultimately responsible for reporting problems to Humes, according to hospital protocol; that after the second twin was born, Humes took the placenta to the Sabias and told them about the possibility of twin-to-twin transfusion having taken place (supports the Sabia’s testimony and contradicts Humes); that she never spoke with anyone, nor could she recall hearing a conversation about the possibility that Little Tony was deprived of oxygen, but that would have been a logical conclusion to make.
***The Koskoffs decide not to depose Mollie Fortuna, because at this point they decide they’ve got a “clean case” against the hospital and Humes. Deposing Fortuna wouldn’t add anything, so it’s not worth the trouble & cost. Hunt and Ryan are ecstatic about this: Fortuna would not have done them any favors.***
-Karen Koskoff develops breast cancer and takes a year off to recover; the case goes out of her hands. Mike Koskoff takes over the case.
Koskoff’s Problems with the Case
-After 3 years of working with the case, Koskoff still doesn’t know what exactly caused Little Tony’s problems
-Also weren’t certain about the causal chain—who was responsible for what damage at what times—i.e. how to divide liability between Humes and Norwalk Hospital.
-Major consideration is the extremely high cost that Little Tony’s medical care will incur for the Sabias
-Humes’ $2M policy limit won’t come close to providing for Little Tony; getting the Hospital roped into the judgment is a necessity
**Became a vital task to find grounds for holding Norwalk liable**
To do this, Koskoff assigns his cousin & associate Christopher Bernard to “unify the case”.
Bernard’s Efforts: Unifying the Case
Consults Dr. Kurt Benirschke, “perhaps the world’s leading expert on the placentas of twins”
-Benirschke does NOT think Twin-2-Twin transfusion was the cause; thinks acute blood loss was the cause, and that it happened a day or more before Donna went into labor. Timing is crucial: what Benirschke is describing puts the blame squarely on the hospital alone. Bernard wants to keep Humes liable, so he isn’t sure if Benirschke will end up helping or hurting his case.
Consults Dr. Marcus Hermansen to get a second opinion about Benirschke’s idea:
-Hermansen says Benirschke’s idea is probably right
-However, says most of the damage happens right at the end, and the twin suffers brain damage right up until the time he is born. This time frame keeps Humes in to the liability window.
Other Aspect of the case: Standards of Care at Time:
-Consults Dr. Edwin Gold, who has very damaging things to say: not only did Humes adhere to proper protocols for the time, it would have been a clear case of malpractice if she’d tried to do a C-Section on Donna, given that Donna was in active labor and about to deliver. Gold’s findings are a “blanket exoneration” of Humes and the hospital.
-Bernard asks Gold to destroy his records so that the other side won’t have access to them; Gold asks to be able to keep them in case Bernard comes across something to change his mind.
-As a result of this conversation, Bernard starts thinking about possible liability surrounding the poor quality of Donna’s prenatal care, too. The risk, however, is that the further he pushes back the timeline, the murkier the causal chain gets. Best bet is to keep it simple: just Donna, Little Tony, Humes and the hospital.
Making the Case Against Norwalk:
-Now that they’ve got a fairly unified theory, Koskoff, Bernard and Lichtenstein work on strengthening the case against Norwalk, which is weaker than the case against Humes
-Koskoff gets a financial consultant to calculate the cumulative costs of Little Tony’s care for the rest of his estimated lifespan: that cost comes to over $10M. Add an extra $5M for pain & suffering, brings total to $15M
-Now that they have an idea of how big the case can be, they need a pocket deep enough to pay for it: Humes can’t, so Norwalk must.
-The main thing they had to define was how the hospital care that Donna received related to the harm that Little Tony suffered
-Consulted Dr. Thomas Murray:
-Murray is almost an ideal expert. He’s highly respected, hates doctors who testify for money against other doctors, and is purely motivated to testify himself because of his belief in ensuring proper standards of care.
**Murray’s expert opinion ties together the case at last: Murray says that the hospital SHOULD have been doing ultrasounds all throughout Donna’s pregnancy. The 20% difference in birth weight should have tipped them off to take the babies a week or two early. If the hospital had done so, Murray believes, both Tony and Michael would be alive and running around today.
-Also get information about another twin stillbirth-disabled case much like the Sabias in New Jersey: judgment against the doctor for $5M, the hospital for $26M. Precedents like these scare defense attorneys—a jury hearing the Sabia case may make the same decision, if this is an indication of a national trend.
April Haskell’s Efforts: Defending Humes
-Haskell takes over the case from Montstream
-Has two methods to defend Humes: (1) Prove that she followed standard of care; (2) Prove that Little Tony’s problems resulted from factors that Humes had nothing to do with.
-Tries to find a favorable opinion from expert Ob-Gyns, but none of the experts she talks to is willing to say Humes was blameless. Every one is uncomfortable with some part of Humes’ following standard of care.
-Also unable to find anyone who can say that the damage done to Little Tony was over before Humes even got to the scene; the best she can do is 12 hours before delivery, and that’s too close to exonerate Humes
-Asks Bev Hunt to tell her the results of the genetic testing the hospital’s consultant conducted. Hunt later does so, telling Haskell that genetic testing is a bust
-Consults Dr. Shirley Driscoll, a highly respected neonatal pathologist; he looked at the slides but offered no opinion because she’d already been retained by Hunt & Ryan
-Consults Dr. Roy Strand, a neonatal radiologist:
-Says damage to Little Tony is consistent with hypoxia (Benirschke’s diagnosis, too).
-Says could have happened at birth or up to 3 days earlier
-Strand’s opinion: deprivation of oxygen at or right around birth
-Strand’s analysis casts shadow of liability over Humes
**Note the irony: Both sides have now chased down experts helpful to the other side’s case!
-Haskell contacts Hunt to trade information: they are ostensibly on the same side, but splits are already starting to show. Hunt reveals that their research supports Benirschke’s blood loss theory (note: neither side knows about Benirschke yet), and the timing relates to significantly before the actual birth. This gives Haskell some hope.
-Haskell and Hunt discuss getting together in order to make a strategy so as not to “torpedo each other”
-Haskell reports back to St. Paul that cooperation with the hospital is going to be necessary. St Paul, on the other hand, just wants to be done with the whole fiasco and pressures Haskell to find a way of getting out of it SOON.
Settlement With Humes
-Koskoff demands $2M from Humes / St. Paul initially
-REASONING: Benirschke is their star witness, really, and what he thinks tends to place more blame on the hospital than on Humes. But Benirschke’s scheduled deposition is coming up fast—Koskoff needs to settle with Humes and get her out of the way so he can focus on the big fish—Norwalk Hospital.
Reasons Mike Koskoff wants to settle:
(1) Doesn’t know exactly what Benirschke is going to say
(2) Wants to make sure he doesn’t let her off the hook so the hospital can try to pin all its blame on her
(3) Doesn’t want to get sued for malpractice himself! The Sabias might get restless and want a new lawyer
-Haskell has to fight with St. Paul & justify all her work thus far, particularly her inability to make the whole thing simply go away. Haskell has to convince them that the case won’t just go away, and they need to talk about a settlement figure. She tells them about the problems she’s had in trying to find experts to defend Humes, and that things are not looking good. To make things worse, she tries to get Benirschke on her side and learns he’s already been hired by the Koskoffs. For Haskell, that’s the nail in the coffin.
-What changes St. Paul’s mind: Koskoffs have another case involving medical malpractice with another doctor/hospital (Goldblatt v. Sherrington). St. Paul is the insurer of the doctor, Sherrington. Koskoff sues both medical parties and St. Paul stonewalls the settlement talks. This turns out to be a BIG mistake. The jury comes back blaming the doctor for everything, exonerating the hospital, and awarding $5M+ to the plaintiffs. St Paul is immediately liable for the first $3M, and because they refused to try settlement even after Sherrington told them he wanted to settle, the doctor can turn around and sue St. Paul for misrepresentation.
-St. Paul comes back and counteroffers, $1M
***Note how Humes is feeling at this point: although she really wants the public-forum vindication she thinks she deserves, she also realizes that a settlement will allow her to get on with life. Also, since settlements are confidential, she won’t be dogged with a bad reputation as might happen if the case went to trial.***
-Settlement reached: $1.35M paid from St. Paul to the Sabias, and an agreement that the Sabias will seek the remainder of their medical costs from the hospital, and not from Humes & St. Paul.
The Case Against Norwalk
March 13, 1992: Deposition of Dr. Kurt Benirschke
-Parties present: Mike Koskoff, Bev Hunt
-Before Hunt arrives, Koskoff assures Benirschke that he no longer need worry about Humes, because Humes is out of the case (see above settlement discussion for why this is important)
-Hunt Questions Benirschke: he testifies that in his opinion, the stillborn twin died as a result of getting too big in the womb and pinching off/damaging the placenta, including the arteries; that Little Tony bled into his brother, causing the loss of blood that deprived the brain of oxygen, causing his injuries; that it happened not during birth or labor, but probably a day or so beforehand, and it happened probably over the course of a half an hour (in other words, Benirschke has just exonerated Humes. Hunt is happy about this, apparently not realizing that the case is still looking bad for Norwalk); that he has not enough expertise to determine whether the hospital should have taken the babies early to avoid the problem.
-Koskoff Questions Benirschke: (although it is rare for a lawyer to depose his witness, Koskoff felt Hunt’s questioning left a few misinterpretations that he wanted to iron out early); Benirschke testifies that Baby B had less access to the placenta, which is why he was smaller; that Baby B’s blood flow had been restricted before he died (this would indicate the hospital should have done a nonstress test early and failed to do so); that the effect was gradual over time; that Baby B was in trouble for a long time, malnourishment took place over a long period of time, compression took place over a long period of time, and *that* was what caused all the problems with Little Tony.
-Hunt is elated: Koskoff has just cleared off any possibility for blaming the hospital during the actual birth: Norwalk feared that Koskoff might go after Norwalk through its employees Fortuna & McManamy. She doesn’t realize what Koskoff’s plan really is—she just thinks he’s slipped up and handed Norwalk a bonus.
Dr. Barry Schifrin’s Deposition
-Parties present: Hunt, Koskoff
-Hunt Questions Schifrin: he testifies that the hospital violated the standard of care in 3 ways: (1) failed to provide growth testing; (2) failed to provide functioning testing; (3) failed to treat as a high-risk pregnancy; that this meant they violated standard of care when they failed to do ultrasounds and nonstress tests during the last trimester; implies that had they done these things, both boys would be alive and well today; that starting the tests 24-48 hours before birth would have been too late anyway—that the hospital should have been monitoring Donna well before that time; if they had done so, both babies would have been fine; (Hunt realizes for the first time what Koskoff’s strategy really is, and that Schifrin’s testimony is damning); that he charges $400 an hour for his expert opinion (this is Hunt trying to taint him as a whore-witness); that standards of care aren’t determined by experts, experts just explain what they are according to documentation & common sense.
Sept. 1992: Ryan calls Koskoff to the hospital to discuss the case
-Ryan wants to set up a meeting with the hospital’s executives; Koskoff agrees
-Koskoff thinks the meeting will be some sort of a settlement conference
-Koskoff is wrong: Ryan wants the hospital to understand exactly how serious the matter is, and is trying to get up to speed himself—Remember, Bev Hunt has been handling the case up to this point.
READ PG. 245-251. KOSKOFF SUMMARIZES THE ENTIRE CASE: also ups the asking settlement price to $22M (up from $15M)
-Ryan has really pulled a coup here: he gets Koskoff to explain his whole case, all his theories and experts and what they will say (without mentioning by name).
-Ryan’s primary purpose is to motivate Travelers to pay attention and get the case going
Travelers gets the message:
-Facing the very real prospect that the case could max out the coverage, Travelers decides they need to take the Sabia case seriously
-Travelers fires Pat Ryan and hires Bill Doyle to take over (one of the execs at Travelers was a partner at Doyle’s firm and knows him: they decide they need a vigorous attorney who can take on Koskoff. Doyle has a rivalrous relationship with Koskoff—and the last time they met in court, Doyle kicked Koskoff’s butt. Travelers knows this.)
Koskoff Considers Pressing for a Court Date:
-Motivations: If Little Tony dies before the case goes to court or settles, they’ll get nothing. Also, Donna & Tony’s marriage is showing signs of strain. If they divorce, they’ll be significantly less sympathetic to a jury.
-Nevertheless, when Doyle asks for a continuance, Koskoff doesn’t object. Why?
-Because of their past relationship as adversaries: Koskoff doesn’t want Doyle to be able to say Koskoff took advantage, “cheated” him of victory
-Because Koskoff realizes he’s doing Doyle a huge favor, and there’ll be plenty of opportunity for Doyle to repay the favor someday
-(Between the lines): Because Koskoff wants to take the opportunity to display his ultra-confidence in the merits of the case
July 1993: A Court Date Set
-Judge sets September 1993 for the trial to begin
-Koskoff and Doyle send last minute housekeeping things back and forth
-Koskoff sends over an amendment to the complaint: revises the harms that Little Tony suffered to include his problems developed since the suit was filed 6 years before.
-Doyle approves the amendment w/o objection: he won’t win any points with a jury by suggesting Little Tony hasn’t been suffering in the last 6 years, or taking a hard-line approach.
-Koskoff also sends over a list of expected witnesses, and states that he may call Humes, Fortuna, McManamy to testify about the hospital’s negligence during birth
-Doyle is annoyed: perceives that Koskoff is angling to get the birth though the back door after being assured the birth wouldn’t be part of the case anymore
-August 1993, Koskoff hires a filmmaker to document a day in the life of Little Tony for the purposes of showing to a jury
-Koskoff’s trump card in the case is Little Tony himself: he is an instant sympathy generator. It will be very hard for a jury to ignore.
The Battle of the Last-Minute Experts
Deposition of Dr. Charles Lockwood: August 1993
-Expert for Norwalk
-Expert on what was standard of care for the hospital when Little Tony was born
-Present at the Deposition: Doyle, Bernard
-Bernard Questions Lockwood: he testifies about his qualifications (impeccable); that according to his research, serial ultrasounds weren’t automatically performed in 1983 and 1984; that none of the senior perinatologists he spoke to said that serial ultrasounds were standard practice, at least not until 1986-87, BUT: that in a case like the Sabia case, once it was established that one twin was less developed than the other, the burden shifted—from finding reasons to do ultrasounds over to explaining why they’re unneeded; that he was not asked to review anything about the actual labor and birth; (Sidebar: Bernard and Doyle then have a rather heated argument over whether or not any of the actual labor process stuff is going to be a part of the lawsuit. Doyle is just as afraid of Bernard bringing it in through the back door as Bernard is that Doyle will try to swoop in and pin all the blame on Humes at the end. But neither of them know this about the other. They argue both on and off the record, and eventually get back to deposing the expert); that he agrees with Benirschke’s cord compression theory as to what caused the damage; that a nonstress test would have been the standard of care in 1984; that if the hospital had done such a test on March 30th, they would have seen there was trouble and delivered them both right there—and that both babies would have been healthy; that the damage suffered would have been pretty quick as to the actual loss of blood and irreparable neurological harm, but it is impossible to say for how long the process was occurring and when it might have started to adversely affect both babies; that Little Tony suffered the most harm you can possibly get in a situation like this without dying.
Deposition of Dr. Leslie Iffy: August 1993 (pgs. 281-285)
-Expert for the Koskoffs
-Perinatologist testifying along same lines as Benirschke
-Almost immediately discredited by Doyle—Iffy appears pretty clearly as a doctor with an opinion for sale to the highest bidder
-It’s unclear how much, if anything, he adds to Koskoff’s case. The whole exchange appears more to be a display of how lawyers for the other side can beat up the experts to the point that their testimony becomes worthless.
-Doyle attacks Iffy’s credibility, his medical opinion, runs circles around him, making it look like Iffy is contradicting himself all over the place
-Doyle’s questions leave Iffy all chewed up; as a result, it is clear to Bernard that Koskoff will not want him to testify at trial. Iffy does more harm than good.
-This is a clear victory for Doyle; helps shave the cockiness from Koskoff & Bernard
Deposition of Dr. Susan Farrell: August 1993
-Expert on expected costs of medical care
-“It was Farrell’s job to counter Koskoff’s claim that because no one knew how long Little Tony would live, it was necessary to provide for the maximum care he might require”.
-Life expectancy is a very delicate issue
-Bernard Questions Farrell: she testifies that she has never examined Little Tony nor anyone in his family; that she has never seen pictures of Little Tony; that her knowledge is limited to what was in the medical records; that it is her medical opinion that Little Tony will not live past his mid-teens; HOWEVER: that she has seen at least one case where a child with conditions similar to Little Tony lived to 22 years; that Little Tony is profoundly retarded; that he will never know complex emotions like happiness; that he will never learn to communicate; that eventually, a respiratory illness will kill Little Tony, probably pneumonia; that the older he gets, the less likely he is to survive any further; that the longer he lives, the more his medical costs will run: every year that goes by will add new problems and become more and more expensive. (This is a minor victory for Bernard to score: it suggests that a potential jury should round upwards instead of downwards when calculating the costs of Little Tony’s medical care for the rest of his life.)
Deposition of Dr. John Goldkrand: September 1993
-Plaintiff expert for Koskoff
-Doyle can’t discredit him much—he does very little testifying, doesn’t advertise himself as an expert, only charges $120/hr, probably a lot less than he makes per hour from his practice. He is clearly NOT a testimony-whore.
-Standard of care expert
-Doyle Questions Goldkrand: he testifies that in 1983-4, serial ultrasounds would have been standard practice (contradicts Dr. Lockwood); that standard of care is not a set-in-stone process; that experts could disagree on what is or is not the standard of care; mirrors Benirschke’s interpretation of what killed Baby B, but cannot say for certain that this is correct; that Norwalk Hospital’s fault stems from the fact that they failed to treat the Sabia pregnancy as high-risk, failed to have a plan for her care, failed to do ultrasounds and fetal monitoring; failed the standards of good judgment by not taking both babies earlier, and if they had taken the babies earlier, they’d both still be alive & healthy.
-Doyle’s Problem: Goldkrand and Lockwood are equally reasonable, equally qualified, and totally contradict each other. What tips the scale toward Goldkrand is an entirely subjective issue: Goldkrand is older, more experienced, has the look and behavior of a very trustworthy doctor. Lockwood, on the other hand, looks like Doogie Howser—he’s very young looking for a thirtysomething, and Doyle knows a jury will lean toward Goldkrand because of it.
Deposition of Dr. Kurt Benirschke: September 1993
-Key expert for Koskoff
-Koskoff Questions Benirschke: he testifies that Baby B did not die of a sudden cord accident, but rather the problem took some time to develop, a “progressive injury”, even though the actual death part was as sudden as death always is (“either you’re living or you’re not”). Koskoff ends without asking much at all.
-Doyle Questions Benirschke: testifies that it is not his testimony that the growth discordancy is what caused the death of Baby B; that it was the pressure on the cord which caused Baby B to die; that he cannot say with a medical certainty how long the injurious process was going on or when compression began; that Baby B probably died on Mach 31st, and the death of Baby B is what caused Little Tony’s injuries; ***Doyle reads back from Benirschke’s earlier deposition—tactic to use Dr’s own testimony against him—it succeeds in rattling Benirschke***; uses old deposition to force Benirschke to admit the possibility that the cord accident was a twist of the cord instead of compression (that would mean the cord accident had nothing to do with the size of the babies and would have been totally unpredictable—gets the hospital off the hook somewhat); that the medical probabilities suggest a gradual compression, although he cannot say for certain—nobody can. (Somewhat salvages his testimony for the plaintiff, but the overall effect is to weaken it.)
-Koskoff Redirects: he testifies that he is unaware of the hospital doing any tests at all to detect the presence of a compression (Doyle objects as to outside the scope of cross-examination); that in his opinion, the growing babies caused a gradual compression, causing a slowing of circulation; that this process was “incremental”—in other words, occurring not suddenly, but over a period of time.
-Summing up: Doyle scored a minor victory getting Benirschke to admit he can’t totally rule out the possibility of a sudden cord accident, but otherwise this deposition is a slam-dunk for Koskoff.
Deposition of Dr. Herbert Grossman: (Note: Takes place after failure of 1st Settlement talks)
-Expert on life expectancy for the Defense
-Bernard is gunning for him directly as a testimony-whore: he testifies a LOT and charges a lot of money for what he says.
-Grossman’s value as an expert is derived from a study he published about the average life expectancy for persons disabled from birth.
-Bernard Questions Grossman: he testifies that after reviewing the medical files, he can say that Little Tony is severely disabled; that he doesn’t know the cause of the injuries; that he doesn’t know what Little Tony weighs, or eats, or what size his head is, what medicines he takes, his current medical treatment regimen; that Little Tony is severely retarded; that he doesn’t actually examine any of the patients he gives life expectancies for (Bernard is casting him as a “macabre social engineer and statistician”, not a real doctor); that it is impossible to say exactly how long Little Tony will live: this is a matter of probabilities, not certainties. Bernard grills Grossman about the study he performed—he tests all the inadequacies in the study, attacks its foundations, attacks its applicability to Little Tony—the effect is to make it clear that Grossman has practically nothing to offer in terms of substance about Little Tony’s life. The damning exchange:
Bernard: “Dr Grossman, in how many of the cases where you have predicted an early death for a plaintiff have you gone back to check to see if you were right?
-Doyle has no questions for Grossman. His testimony is NOT helpful.
Deposition of Dr. Richard Jones III: (Note: Takes place after failure of 1st Settlement talks)
-Expert for the Defense
-Hired to defend the Hospital’s decision not to do ultrasounds in the late stages of Donna’s pregnancy
-Jones is hostile to plaintiff’s lawyers in general
-Koskoff Questions Jones: Koskoff begins very gently, softballing questions for the first hour before turning to the standard of care issue. Jones testifies that two main reasons for putting a twin birth in the high risk category back in 1983 would have been in cases of prematurity and maternal diabetes; also that velamentous cord insertion (what caused Little Tony’s problems) would have been a risk category back then, too; that he can’t say in how many twin births this risk applies; that a whole host of problems can result from velamentous cord insertion AND that they are more common in twin births than in singleton births; and that this last information was widely known in 1983; that Benirschke is the leading expert in the field; that discordancy in sizes is a risk to twin births, and that this was also known to doctors in 1983; ***that the only way to tell if discordancy in sizes was happening was to do ultrasounds***; that as soon as the discordancy breaks 20% size difference between the twins, there is a significant risk of brain damage and death, and that doctors knew this in 1983; that growth retardation poses the same risks as discordancy, as discussed just prior; that there were methods for determining growth retardation in 1983, namely—ultrasounds!; that the cost of an ultrasound in 1983 was less than a hundred bucks; that fetal well-being tests in the third trimester would prevent all the above problems, and that doctors had these tools available to them in 1983 (Analogize this to the T.J. Hooper case in Torts—tugboat without a radio lost in the storm—whatever level of technology you have access to, you are obligated to use?); that despite the benefits made obvious by Koskoff’s questioning, fetal well-being studies like these were not the standard of care in 1983; that all the problems which caused the harm to Little Tony could (not absolutely *would*) show up on nonstress tests or ultrasounds; that the more problems layered upon problems there were with the babies, the more likely it would be for the nonstress tests to show something!
-Summing up: Koskoff has severely bloodied Jones, but didn’t go in for the kill. Why? Because it is better for him if the defense has weaknesses to exploit at trial than if they shore up their defenses by getting rid of Jones completely. Koskoff wants Jones to be a “cold comfort” witness—forcing Travelers to feel just uncomfortable enough with Jones to inspire them to a favorable settlement.
Settlement Discussions with Norwalk
First Attempt: Settlement (Unsuccessful)
Koskoff Meets w/Sabias to Discuss the Case: September 1993
-Motivated by the potential for Little Tony to die before the trial is complete, Koskoff asks to try a mediation & negotiation settlement
-Koskoff shows the Sabias the same presentation he gave to the Norwalk executives, ending with the dollar figure he’ll ask for at trial—$22 million.
-Settlement limits: Koskoff tells the Sabias that he recommends rejecting anything less than $5M, taking anything over $7.5M; anything in between is a judgment call.
-The risk here is that Koskoff’s interests and the Sabias’ interests will diverge—Koskoff has to be certain that the Sabias keep a realistic figure in mind—if they ask for the world, they’ll: (1) look greedy in front of the jury; and (2) run the serious risk of thwarting any settlement with the attendant possibility that they’ll get nothing at all. Remember, Koskoff wants to get paid at the end of all this!!
Settlement Negotiations: Sept 30, 1993
Mediator: David Ferguson
Circumstances: Everyone is dressed up, looking nice, ready to do battle. The Sabias are presented as an ideal, loving family; Koskoff ensures this so that Doyle will think twice before attempting character assassination.
Outlining the Case: Presenting both sides to the mediator
-Koskoff gives almost the same presentation he gave to the Norwalk executives
-Asks for $22M again: because Ferguson didn’t open it up by forcing him to admit that $22M was a “stand up and take notice” figure, he doesn’t feel the need to come down any on his demand. He thinks until there’s real money on the table, so to speak, it’s not his responsibility to start backing off the demands.
-Doyle’s response is immediate: “Are you out of your f—ing mind?” He senses that Koskoff is being deliberately provocative. Note: antagonizing postures in negotiations will doom the process. Doyle tells Ferguson that Koskoff has no case in the first place, and even if he does he will get it thrown out of court. He will seek dismissal on three grounds: (1) Blown statute of limitations; (2) Lack of proximate cause (Baby B’s death was the cause of Little Tony’s injuries, not the hospital); (3) Dismissal of damages claims for Donna Sabia (“a bystander to medical malpractice may not recover for emotional distress”). Also objects to Koskoff’s life expectancy estimates, saying that $22M is too high a price to pay for medical costs when Little Tony will most likely not live very long. (Says his soon-to-be deposed witness Dr. Grossman will state that Little Tony has less than 5 years to live).
-Ferguson: Now that both sides have had a chance to vent all their frustrations to the other, it was time to meet them each privately to find out what each side would take to make the case go away.
-Ferguson knows there’ll be little to talk about until there’s a number on the table
-Doyle & co. go to one room, Koskoff & the Sabias to another
-Ferguson starts with Doyle & Travelers, prodding them into making a settlement offer of some kind.
-Doyle and Travelers give him the number: $1.7M structured settlement, payable $700,000 up front and $60,000 per year afterward, plus $12,500 per year to put the other Sabia kids through college. The $60,000 p/y would be an annuity, payable as long as Little Tony lived. Why so low? Doyle’s view is that the settlement for Little Tony should provide for his care, NOT enrich his parents.
-Ferguson takes the offer to Koskoff, who rejects it outright as too low. Tony Sabia explodes: how can they offer so little to his family when it costs so much more just to care for him every day?
-Koskoff gives a counter-offer: $19.5M. Why so little change? Because Tony Sabia (the elder) is clearly in charge here. He feels insulted—the slight take down in price is to show Doyle that they mean business, and won’t be intimidated.
-Ferguson takes the counteroffer back to Doyle, who explodes—his offer is REAL money, and Koskoff’s is fantasy-land. He tells Ferguson to go back in there and talk some sense into Koskoff, otherwise the $1.7M is where they’ll draw the line.
-Ferguson goes back to Koskoff, who mentions—“if they were to go to five, we could go to 15”. Ferguson is encouraged.
-Ferguson mentions the Koskoff range to Doyle; Doyle rebuffs it, stating that he hasn’t been shown a good reason why Travelers should budge from the $1.7M mark. Ferguson pleads with him not to torpedo the process, so Doyle says if he’ll drop his demand to $7.5M, he’ll consider raising the offer.
-Ferguson returns to Koskoff: Koskoff is hostile to the idea that Doyle is allowed to dictate Koskoff’s demands. Koskoff then insinuates that Travelers is negotiating in bad faith—brings up the spectre of the Goldblatt trial, where Travelers’ lowballing the settlement process led to a claim of fraud against them.
-Doyle gets the message: he counteroffers to $2.5M, either structured or all cash.
-In return, Koskoff drops to $14.5M.
-Ferguson relies on his own sense of the two sides’ posturing: he thinks it possible that Doyle will move to $5M if Koskoff moves down to $10M. He tells Koskoff about his intuition (without suggesting that it came from Doyle, which it didn’t)… Koskoff says he’d be willing to entertain a $10M offer. HOWEVER: he doesn’t want to give away $4.5M of bargaining room unilaterally—so he tells Ferguson to try something different. Try pulling a figure out of the air and see if both sides will take it.
-Ferguson agrees: he’ll propose a number for both sides to think about overnight: if both sides say no, he’ll report no. If one side says no and the other yes, he’ll report no to both so as not to compromise the other’s position. Ferguson’s figure: $7M.
-Next Morning: Negotiations resume
-Ferguson asks Doyle about the $7M first; he says no.
-Ferguson goes back to Koskoff and says don’t bother telling me yes or no—they’ve already said no. Koskoff and the Sabias tell him they’ll take the $7M if Doyle offers. Ferguson realizes how close they are to settling—and struggles trying to find a way to make it happen without giving away to Doyle the fact that Koskoff has just acknowledged his willingness to come down by 2/3 the original demand.
-Ferguson goes back to Doyle, who refuses to budge. $2.5M or nothing. The settlement talks fail completely at this point.
Aftermath of the Failure: What Both Sides Learned
Ironically, the closer both sides get to a settlement, the harder they work at preparing for trial: each side must convince the other that they have an airtight case for the jury in order to get the best result at settlement. Remember Croley’s example: “A tort suit is one big game of chicken; victory goes to the first driver to throw his steering wheel out the window.”
How Koskoff sees things: the rest of the Sabias’ case
-Bernard is working madly to tie up all the loose ends, last minute depositions
-Worried that they might fail at trial too—and how would they be able to face the Sabias with a double loss?
-Koskoff and Bernard start to prepare for their presentation to the jury (read pgs. 328-329 for the details as they build their case)
-Koskoff knows full well that both sides are working with the same disclosed information now, and it’s going to be a hard fight. There are no surprises left, no more secret advantages.
How Doyle sees things: the rest of Norwalk’s case
-Doyle is scared to death of the emotional impact that seeing Little Tony in the courtroom will have on the jury
-He also fears he may have made a mistake in rejecting Ferguson’s $7M figure, but has to suppress that fear in order to carry on with preparations
-Doyle and hunt build their side of the case (read pgs. 329-331 for the particulars)
Monday, Oct 18 1993: Last Minute Preparations
-Just as both sides are furiously preparing for trial in October, Judge Ballen calls them to tell them that he has to push trial back again to January because of a shortage of judges.