Press Release: Morgan & Morgan Hit With $5 Million Legal Malpractice Verdict
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Morgan & Morgan Hit With $5M Legal Malpractice Verdict By St. Denis & Davey
“Morgan & Morgan was focused so intensely on a potential multi-million dollar contingency fee for the child’s devastating birth-related injuries, that the firm neglected to focus on injuries caused to the parents, especially the mother.”
– Donald St. Denis, St. Denis & Davey, P.A.
SARASOTA, Fla. (October 29, 2018) – A Bradenton couple was awarded $5 million this month after the Florida statewide law firm St. Denis & Davey persuaded a Sarasota County jury that the nationwide law firm that the couple initially hired, Morgan & Morgan, failed to properly represent them.
Shawna Pollock and her son, Rock Pollock Jr., suffered severe injuries during labor in November 2006.
“Morgan & Morgan failed the Pollocks miserably from the moment they took on this case,” said Donald St. Denis, a partner at St. Denis & Davey. “They ignored the big picture, focusing on a big injury verdict for their firm with Rock Jr., and turned their backs on his parents.”
Shawna Pollock was awarded $4 million in the legal malpractice case; her husband Rock Pollock Sr. was awarded $1 million. In its Oct. 17 verdict, the jury found Morgan & Morgan attorney Armando Lauritano 100% responsible for the loss of the Pollocks’ medical malpractice claim against a Sarasota obstetrics practice, nurse midwife, and hospital.
Mother’s uterus ruptures
The case dates to Nov. 2, 2006, when Shawna, who was 27, was admitted to Sarasota Memorial Hospital to give birth.
As Shawna’s labor progressed, she received increasing amounts of Pitocin, a brand-name synthetic hormone that induces labor. The unborn baby experienced “a worsening fetal heart rate pattern.” It was only after Shawna began “writhing in pain” comparable to the pain experienced from a gunshot wound that the medical providers belatedly called for an emergency C-section. By that time, Shawna’s uterus had ruptured, depriving Rock Jr. of oxygen.
Following Rock Jr.’s birth, the Pollocks contacted Morgan & Morgan, who sent an investigator to meet with the family at the Ronald McDonald House, where they were staying during Rock Jr.’s time at All Children’s Hospital in Tampa.
St. Denis & Davey attorneys, Donald St. Denis and Eric Bradstreet, successfully argued to the jury that Morgan & Morgan was so focused on potentially making a large fee on the child’s brain-injury claim that they failed to properly provide the required presuit notice of the claims for Shawna’s injuries. After it became apparent that Rock Jr. would qualify for no-fault benefits from the Florida Birth Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association (NICA) and well after the statute of limitations period for submitting presuit notice of the claims for Shawna’s injuries, Morgan & Morgan withdrew from representing the Pollocks.
The parents’ claims
Morgan & Morgan did not inform the Pollocks about the status of the claims for Shawna’s injuries when they withdrew. Instead, Attorney Lauritano told the Pollocks that Shawna’s injury claims were also covered by NICA “exclusivity” and that her claim was only worth $50,000. But Shawna Pollock can no longer have children and can no longer be intimate with her husband. As a result of the legal malpractice, her husband, Rock Pollock Sr., also lost out on his claims for the lost comfort, society, and attention resulting from the toll that Shawna’s injuries took on the couple’s relationship.
St. Denis & Davey argued that Morgan & Morgan failed to properly investigate the case and failed to prepare an affidavit detailing Shawna’s injuries, which resulted in their failure to submit the required presuit for Shawna’s injuries. St. Denis & Davey also argued that Morgan & Morgan improperly drafted the civil complaint that they filed on behalf of the Pollocks, and that after filing the civil complaint, Morgan & Morgan wrongly agreed with the medical practice and the hospital that NICA covered all of the claims. Further, by withdrawing from the case after the statute of limitations had expired, Morgan & Morgan left the Pollocks in a position that prevented them from securing new lawyers to pursue their medical malpractice case for Shawna’s injuries.
St. Denis & Davey has filed for a final judgment in the case, and will be seeking attorneys’ fees in excess of $1.2 million and court costs in excess of $400,000 from Morgan & Morgan, on top of the $5 million verdict.
Shawna Pollock, a licensed practical nurse, tends to Rock Jr. on a full-time basis. Rock Pollock Sr. is a contractor. Shawna’s adult daughter, also a nurse, helps the couple care for Rock Jr, who will turn 12 on Nov. 2.
“It’s a tragic case all the way around,” said attorney Eric Bradstreet, a partner at St. Denis & Davey.
St. Denis & Davey, P.A. is an 11-attorney Florida statewide law firm that focuses on the following practice areas: legal malpractice, financial and corporate legal malpractice, land-related legal malpractice, probate and estate planning legal malpractice, personal injury, and wrongful death. St. Denis & Davey has achieved the highest rating for legal ability from Martindale-Hubbell and the firm is listed in Martindale’s Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. St. Denis & Davey has offices in Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, and Panama City. The firm is located online at sdtriallaw.com and can be reached at 1-866-542-1996.