Hagwood, Carroll and Shaeffer secure defense verdict in catastrophic injury case

In February 2020, HAT attorneys Hunter C. Carroll, Carl Hagwood and Chris Shaeffer received a defense verdict as part of an Arbitration Final Order. The lawsuit was first filed in Circuit Court, but the HAT team had the case successfully transferred to binding arbitration, including a protracted appeal of this decision by the Plaintiff.   

The Plaintiff claimed that an employee of a rehabilitation and long-term care facility allowed him, a recent spinal cord surgical patient, to fall during a sliding board transfer two days into his admission – resulting in the Plaintiff’s T-8 paraplegia. As the lone Defendant, the facility strongly believed that its employees did not act negligently and that the Plaintiff’s paralysis was the direct result of his long-standing, underlying spinal cord issues and a poor outcome from a lengthy spinal cord surgery the week before his admission. 

Through a series of strategic depositions, along with a team of highly qualified medical experts, HAT attorneys developed substantial evidence that the Plaintiff had been progressing toward paralysis for 10 years prior to his complex spinal cord surgery. HAT attorneys also developed objective medical evidence that the Plaintiff suffered many of the known risks of this surgery – which lasted more than 13 hours – and that these risks rendered the Plaintiff a paraplegic even before the surgery ended. Upon the Plaintiff’s arrival at the facility, his neurologic status was thoroughly assessed and the Plaintiff was recognized and documented as a paraplegic. 

Despite the testimony of more than 12 witnesses and five defense experts, the Plaintiff remained entrenched, insisting that his injury, suffering and life care plan entitled him to millions in compensation. This matter was tried over eight trial days and included the testimony of 10 expert witnesses and a significant number of fact witnesses. The trial was the culmination of hundreds of hours of work and coordination by the HAT team, including paralegals, nurse paralegals and staff. This teamwork came together at trial through HAT’s medical software presentation expert, Marian McGehee. Ultimately, the trier of fact concluded that the Plaintiff failed to prove his claims and offered no evidence that the alleged fall was the cause of his paralysis. In fact, the arbitrator concluded that the HAT defense team proved that the paralysis was multifactorial and had nothing to do with its client’s actions.