QMPW Attorneys Earn Directed Verdict

On Dec. 12, 2001, Manatee County Judge Jannette Dunnigan granted Defense’s Motion for a Directed Verdict at the close of the Plaintiff’s case in William Foster, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Donald Foster v. Vantage Healthcare Corporation, d/b/a Manatee Health Care & Rehabilitation Center. The case was tried by QMPW’s George F. Quintairos and Eric Boyer and Mike Howard of Gallagher & Howard, P.A., for the Defense, and Kurt Berman and Ray Papparella of Spiegel & Utera, P.A. for the Plaintiff.

The initial complaint had three counts: Chapter 400 claim, negligent survival claim, and Spoliation of Evidence claim. The judge previously granted Summary Judgment on the Spoliation of Evidence count and the Chapter 400 count based on the Knowles decision, leaving only the negligence claim. Judge Dunnigan had also denied Plaintiff’s Motion to Add a Claim for Punitive Damages.

At the conclusion of the Plaintiff’s case-in-chief, Defense counsel moved for a directed verdict on the basis that the Plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence that the alleged negligence caused any injuries or damage to the decedent. In essence, the Plaintiff failed to show a causal link between any negligence and injuries allegedly suffered by Mr. Foster.

A significant development prior to the directed verdict was disqualification of Plaintiff’s administrative and staffing expert, Marc Lichtman. At a Frye hearing prior to Mr. Lichtman’s testimony, Mike Howard and Eric Boyer successfully argued that Lichtman’s opinions were not based on any scientifically accepted principals. Due to the disqualification, and Plaintiff’s failure to call another expert to testify that the injuries were the result of any violations of the standard of care, Judge Dunnigan followed the law and granted the defense motion.

January 2002