After a two and a half week jury trial before Judge Mark Fandrich in Cayuga County, Michael Paul Ringwood was successful in securing a unanimous verdict in favor of client Auburn Memorial Hospital and one of their named Emergency Room physicians.
The case involved a 2003 work- related accident when plaintiff Joseph Gilfus was out clearing trees downed over his employer’s railroad tracks, all caused by a rather substantial and ongoing ice storm. He was trying to perform this work at 1:30 AM and was using a chain saw to cut branches. A branch under tension snapped back fracturing his right tibia and fibula. The plaintiff was first taken to Clifton Springs Hospital and was seen in their Emergency Room. Because that hospital facility was on secondary power and could not safely perform surgery, the patient was transferred six hours later to Auburn Memorial Hospital where the Auburn Emergency Room physician determined that the patient was now suffering from compartment syndrome in that fractured right lower extremity. Orthopedics were called in and performed a fasciotomy. The patient was then transferred to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. Infection developed in the lower limb leading to an above the knee amputation eight days after the workplace incident. Plaintiff sued his employer, CSX Transportation. CSX commenced a third-party malpractice claim against the two hospitals, the two ER doctors, and the orthopedic surgeon.
At trial the jury found the railroad 75% negligent and the plaintiff 25% negligent, awarding a total of just over 3.5 million dollars in past and future damages. The jury found no malpractice as to all the medical defendants.