Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. is highlighted in the recently released 2012 Settlement Survey by Chicago Lawyer magazine, including our firm’s work on a $22.6 million settlement in a birth injury case that had gone to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
The settlement in Arroyo, et al. v. United States of America (No. 10-2311) was secured for the family of a newborn who suffered severe brain damage as the result of an untreated infection at birth. According to Chicago Lawyer, it ranked among the largest settlements reported to the Jury Verdict Reporter or Chicago Daily Law Bulletin between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.
The case also contributed to our firm being named as one of only six law firms to report settlements totaling $25 million or above in the 2012 Settlement Survey.
According to the magazine, Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. recovered a total of $46.51 million in five cases, which gave our firm the highest settlement amount per case ($9.3 million) out of the six firms listed by the magazine.
As part of its issue announcing the 2012 Settlement Survey Results, the magazine also provides readers with a “behind the scenes” look at how Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. secured the Arroyo settlement.
In the article, our firm’s equity partner, David J. Pritchard, and partner Patrick A. Salvi II describe how the case involved an issue concerning whether the lawsuit had been timely filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
The lawsuit alleged that doctors employed by the federal government who were working at Northwestern Memorial Hospital failed to diagnose and treat a bacterial infection in the mother. As a result, the newborn, Christian Arroyo, suffered severe brain damage that has caused him to suffer cerebral palsy as well as quadriplegia.
The family claimed that, had the doctors administered an antibiotic at birth, the brain damage could have been prevented. They said they did not learn about this antibiotic until more than a year later, when the mother was giving birth to another child.
In April 2010, our firm secured a $29.1 million bench verdict in the case in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, which was subject to a set off for a prior $6.5 million settlement with the hospital, according to Chicago Lawyer.
The federal government appealed the case to the Seventh Circuit. The government claimed that the lawsuit had not been filed within two years of the alleged malpractice, which is the statute of limitations that applies to federal tort claims.
In a September 2011 decision, the Seventh Circuit rejected the federal government’s argument and affirmed the verdict.
The appeals court agreed with Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. that the claim had not been filed within two years of the alleged malpractice due to the fact that the hospital had not told the Arroyos about the antibiotic treatment during Christian’s birth, and the family had not learned of the doctors’ alleged mistake until more than a year after the birth.
As Salvi tells Chicago Lawyer magazine, the Seventh Circuit’s ruling marks “an important decision for federal statute of limitations law.”
“You don’t get to have it both ways,” Salvi tells the magazine. “You don’t get to not tell the family what happened and then have them time barred by the statute of limitations. If you want to use the statute of limitations as a sword, you tell the family what happened.”
The federal government settled the lawsuit after the appeals court’s decision.