Ex-Student With Cerebral Palsy Sues L.A. School District


Posted on 3rd August 2013 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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A teenager with cerebral palsy and spastic dysplasia is suing the Los Angeles Unified School District for allegedly discriminating against him, by failing to offer him accessible transportation when he attended Carson High School, according to KCBS-TV.


The lawsuit was filed by Edward Martinez, 18, under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Martinez, who is wheelchair-bound, claims that he was repeatedly left at the curb while teachers and other students traveled on an disabled-inaccessible bus to activities such as baseball games, field trips and Grad Night at Disneyland, KCBS-TV reported.

The youth said he was so frustrated by always being left behind that he had teachers and students take him out of his wheelchair and carry him on and off the bus for the Disneyland Grad trip, an experience he described as “humiliating.”

Martinez also alleges that he was forced to stay in the high school library while his math class met for two weeks in an upstairs room, according to KCBS-TV.

Martinez previously sued the school district on a disability issue, but that case was settled. But KCBS-TV said that under that settlement, the district agreed to train staff and get vehicles that capable of transporting the disabled.

It doesn’t seem like that worked out too well.

Appeals Court Lets Cerebral Palsy-Bus Accident Case Go To Trial


Posted on 13th July 2013 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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A Georgia appellate court has reversed a summary judgment ruling that threw out a suit filed by a woman motorist whose vehicle was hit by a school bus, which she claims caused her newborn to develop cerebral palsy, according to Daily Report.


The mother, Katina Nixon, sued the Pierce County School District over a March 10, 2008 accident. Nixon, nine months pregnant, was driving a small sedan when she was hit from the rear by a District school bus. In the crash, Nixon suffered bruises on her chest and lap from her seat belt, and had neck and shoulder injuries, the Daily Report said.

Nixon was rushed to the hospital, where doctors induced labor. The next day, March 11, Nixon gave birth to a girl, Kylee. But all was not well. At age six months it became apparent that the baby was favoring her left side, and at age one she was having trouble crawling because of the limited use she had of her right side, according to the ruling of the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Nixon took her daughter to a pediatric neurologist, who diagnosed Kylee as having cerebral palsy due to a perinatal stroke.

In her negligence lawsuit, Nixon blamed her daughter’s stroke and subsequent cerebral palsy on the collision with the bus. In a deposition, the neurologist said the crash could have caused Kylee’s condition, but that she couldn’t say there was a direct “casual connection” between the stroke and bus accident beyond a 50 percent chance, the appellate court said.

The school district filed a partial summary judgment, which was granted by the trial court. It found that Nixon “failed to create a jury question as to whether Kylee sustained an injury as a result of the bus accident,” the appeals court said in its ruling.

But the appeals court disagreed and reversed.

“We agree with the District that the causal connection between the stroke and bus accident presents a specialized medical question that requires expert testimony but … we hold that the record evidence is sufficient to create a jury question on that issue,” the appellate court said.

So the case will go to trial.

Cerebral Palsy Boy Recovers With Stem Cell Treatment


Posted on 24th May 2013 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Here is some hopeful news about the treatment of cerebral palsy: Medics have succeeded in treating cerebral palsy with autologous cord blood, which had stem cells.

The case involved a 2½-year-old boy who suffered traumatic brain injury following a cardiac arrest and was in persistent vegetative state, according to a press release issued this week by Catholic Hospital Bochum. The toddler was given a minimal chance of survival.


But just two months after treatment with the cord blood containing stem cells, the child’s symptoms improved significantly. Over the following months, the child learned to speak simple sentences and to move, according to the press release.

“Our findings, along with those from a Korean study, dispel the long-held doubts about the effectiveness of the new therapy,” Dr. Arne Jensen of the Campus Clinic Gynecology said in a statement.

He and his colleague, Dr. Eckard Hamelmann of the Department of Pediatrics at Bochum, reported their findings in the journal.

The boy suffered from his cardiac arrest in November 2008, and was paralyzed. There had been no treatment for the cause of what is known as infantile cerebral palsy.

“In their desperate situation, the parents searched the literature for alternative therapies,” Arne Jensen explains. “They contacted us and asked about the possibilities of using their son’s cord blood, frozen at his birth.”

Nine weeks after the brain damage, Jan. 27, 2009, the doctors administered the prepared blood intravenously.

They studied the progress of recovery at 2, 5, 12, 24, 30, and 40 months after the injury, according to the press release.

Usually, the chances of survival after such a severe brain damage and more than 25 minutes duration of resuscitation are 6 per cent, the release said, adding that months after the TBI, surviving children usually only exhibit minimal signs of consciousness.

“The prognosis for the little patient was threatening if not hopeless,” the Bochum medics said.

But after the cord-blood therapy the boy recovered relatively quickly. Within two months, the spasticity decreased significantly. He was able to see, sit, smile, and to speak simple words again, according to the release.

Forty months after treatment, the child was able to eat independently, walk with assistance, and form four-word sentences.

Of course, on the basis of these results, we cannot clearly say what the cause of the recovery is,” Jensen said. “It is, however, very difficult to explain these remarkable effects by purely symptomatic treatment during active rehabilitation.”

In animal studies, scientists have been researching the therapeutic potential of cord blood for some time. In a previous study with rats, Bochum researchers found that cord blood cells migrate to the damaged area of the brain in large numbers within 24 hours of administration.

In March, in a controlled study of 100 children, Korean doctors reported for the first time that they had successfully treated cerebral palsy with allogeneic cord blood.

Cerebral Palsy Kids See Brain Gains After CI Therapy


Posted on 26th April 2013 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Children with cerebral palsy who underwent constraint-induced movement therapy (CI therapy) saw a significant increase in grey matter volume in areas of the brain associated with movement, according to a new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).


UAB touted the findings, published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics, as he first to show that structural remodeling of the brain occurs during rehabilitation in a pediatric population.

“It is well understood that CI therapy produces a re-wiring of the brain, leading to functional improvement in motor skills in children and adults who have experienced a brain injury,” Edward Taub,  the developer of CI therapy and a study co-author, said in a press release. “This study reinforces the idea that CI therapy also remodels the brain, producing a real, physical change in the brain.”

CI therapy forces the use of the affected side by restraining the unaffected side, according to the American Heart Association. With CI therapy, often used on stroke patients, the therapist constrains the survivor’s unaffected arm in a sling. The survivor then uses his or her affected arm repetitively and intensively for two weeks.

The UAB study examined 10 children with cerebral palsy, ages 2 to 7, who underwent a three- week course of CI therapy.

Changes in grey matter were assessed through voxel-based morphometry (VBM), performed on images acquired through magnetic resonance imaging. Grey matter consists mainly of neuronal cell bodies, glial cells and dendrites, according to UAB.

“We saw increases in grey matter volume in the sensorimotor cortices on both sides of the brain and in the hippocampus,” said Chelsey Sterling, a graduate student in medical psychology and first author of the study. “These increases were accompanied by large improvements in spontaneous arm use in the home environment. Notably, increases in grey matter correlated with improvement in motor activity.”

The correlation between increases in grey matter volume and magnitude of motor improvement raises the possibility of a causal relationship, according to Sterling.

The researchers believe that the observed increase in grey matter could be due to one or more different processes, including an increase in synaptic density, the creation of new neurons or glial cells or the establishment of new blood vessels within the brain.

“An increase in grey matter is indicative that the brain is capable of supporting increased motor activity and function,” said Gitendra Uswatte, a study co-author. “Along with the improvements observed in the dexterity and everyday use of the arm that was the target of rehabilitation, this is a strong indication that a child with cerebral palsy can have substantial gains in motor function when provided with the correct stimulation.”

VBM analysis was performed three weeks prior to therapy, at the beginning of therapy and at the end of the three-week therapy period. The authors saidthat no significant grey matter change was seen during the three weeks before treatment.

The children underwent intensive motor training for three hours each weekday for a three-week period in which the child’s less-affected arm was continuously restrained in a long-arm cast. Each child’s caregiver received a transfer package, which included steps to induce continuation of use of the more-affected arm at home. The MRI scans were performed at Children’s of Alabama.

Taub, a university professor in the Department of Psychology, developed the CI therapy techniques. The therapy has been shown to be effective in improving the rehabilitation of movement after stroke and other neurological injuries in both children and adults.

“The motor improvement and changes in grey matter following CI therapy observed in this study are similar to those observed previously in adults,” Taub said. “It is further evidence that the brain has a remarkable capacity to heal itself when presented with an efficacious rehabilitation intervention such as CI therapy.”

N.Y. Jury Awards $130 Million For Cerebral Palsy Malpractice


Posted on 18th April 2013 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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The family of Shannon Reilly, who during her birth sustained severe brain damage and now has cerebral palsy, were smart to heed their lawyer’s advice. And they are $122 million richer, money that will go toward their daughter’s care.

A New York jury has awarded the family $130 million in the medical malpractice lawsuit, which the New York Daily News called the second largest malpractice verdict in the state’s history.


Danni and Frank Reilly of Long Island had filed suit against St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, L.I., over what they alleged was Shannon’s botched birth in 2002, according to the News and the New York Post.  The girl, who is now 10, can’t walk or talk, and needs constant care.


The hospital had offered the Reilly family $8 million in 2009 to settle the lawsuit. But lawyer Thomas Moore told the family not to accept that sum, maintaining that Shannon’s care over the term of her life would cost a lot more than $8 million.

The suit alleged that hospital staff didn’t notice Shannon wasn’t getting enough oxygen at her birth, that she wasn’t properly monitored.

It was a long path for the family to get to the $130 million judgment. The case went to trial, and the jury cleared the hospital of any liability, the News and Post said. Moore went to an appellate court, which ruled that there should be another trial on the case.

The second trial, which took place last year, ended with a hung jury.

The third trial, in Suffolk County Superior Court, ended earlier this week with the $130 million verdict.

Amazingly, Moore told the News that during his career there were 34 times when he advised clients not to take settlements of $8 million or more. And in each of those cases, he either got a verdict or settlement over $8 million, according to the News.

New YorK Jury Awards $100 Million In Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit


Posted on 25th August 2012 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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A New York jury has awarded  a $100 million in a lawsuit involving a Staten Island teen who developed cerebral palsy because of her premature birth, the York Post reported Saturday.


Unfortunately, because St. Vincent filed for bankruptcy in 2010, the actual payout will be far less than the jury award. It will limited to the hospital’s insurance, which is $16 million, according to the Post

The family of Stephanie Debes, 17, filed the suit against St. Vincent’s Medical Center, where she and her twin sister Amanda were born three months premature. Stephanie sustained brain injury that led to her cerebral palsy, while her sister didn’t have any problems andn is now healthy, according to the Post.

A Staten Island Supreme Court  jury determined that St. Vincent’s staffers were liable because they didn’t “recognize mom Catherine Debes’ contractions before she went into labor and failed to prevent pre-term delivery of her daughters,” the Post reported.

The jury determined that St. Vincent’s was liable $17 million  for past pain and suffering and $60 million for future pan and suffering. The award was also meant to cover medical expenses.

Cerebral Palsy, Dementia Victims Beware Of Shady Stockbrokers


Posted on 30th January 2012 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Here is a cautionary tale for anyone who has ever received a malpractice judgment. The case, chronicled in Forbes by lawyer Bill Singer, involved a cerebral palsy victim being defrauded by a stockbroker. 


Ralph Thomas of Baltimore was a broker and financial planner for Harbor Financial, and from February 2004 until July 2010, he worked for Wells Fargo Advisors.

Thomas met a woman, only identified as KL, who was trustee for a $3 million settlement for her daughter, who developed cerebral palsy from injuries she sustained at birth. Thomas, allegedly got KL to transfer the trust to Harbor Financial, according to Forbes.

Then Thomas allegedly did his dirty work. He was accused of stealing $757,000 from the trust account, using the money to pay off his credit cards and other personal bills.

Then , from June 2006 to May 2009, Thomas took out three mortgages in KL’s name on her home. He put that money in her Harbor Bank account, and then allegedly withdrew that money, about $27,000. He was also accused of takingt $100,000 from the  trust account to buy a home.

But that wasn’t all.     

In 2009, the retired LM made Thomas her financial advisor. LM had an 85-year-old sister with dementia, and she and her sister shared money from an annuity, according to Forbes. Thomas allegedly took $75,000 from LM’s accounty, one again using the money to trim his credir card bills.

A federal indictment outlining Thomas’s alleged crimes was handed up last August. He was facing up to 20 years in jail, a $250,000 fine for mail fraud, and forfeiture of $838,000 in funds and luxury items that he had.

But in September, Thomas entered a plea bargain, where he only pleaded guilty to mail fraud. He has to make $838,000 in restitution and forfeit some of his property. And he can’t can’t associate with any firm that’s a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which agreed to his settlement offer to dispose of the allegations pending against him. 

Columnist Bill Singer said that letting Thomas, who he described as a “low life,” just make a settlement — with no admission of wrongdoing — is just wrong.

“Armed with with a fuller understanding of Thomas’s crimes, I re-read FINRA’s self-regulatory case and realized how pathetic Wall Street regulation truly is,” Singer wrote. “Notwithstanding the epic nature of Thomas’s atrocities, FINRA stil felt it okay to accept a settlement that did not require him to admit its charges. Seriously?”

That’s what I would ask myself, about a guy who allegedly robbed a cerebral palsy victim and a woman with dementia.  Seriously?     



Illinois Hospital To Pay $7.5 Million Settlement For Girl With Cerebral Palsy


Posted on 4th December 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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The grandparents of a 9-year-old girl who got cerebral palsy as the result of alleged malpractice at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., will get a $7.5 million settlement, according to the Southtown Star. 


 Advocate Health and Hospitals Corp., parent company of Christ Medical, agreed to the settlement of a lawsuit filed by Tom and Donna Tribble, legal guardians for Elliana Tribble. The suit, filed in 2009, alleged that the physicians and nurses at Christ Medical “delayed in responding to signs of fetal distress before” Elliana’s birth in August 2002, the Southtown Star reported Friday.

Elliana sustained brain damage from oxygen deprivation during her birth, and has cerebral palsy.

Under the settlement, the hospital does not admit any malpractice on the part of its staff, according to the Southtown Star. 

Tom and Donna Tribble, who live in Northbrook, Ill., are the parents of Elliana’s father, Sean Tribble. Sean and Joan Soka, Elliana’s parents, never got married, and the grandparents got custody of the child.

Elliana is disabled and in a wheelchair. Her grandparents told the Southtown Star that they will take part of the settlement to buy her a wheelchair that she will be able to steer with head movements and to make the doors in their home handicapped accessible.   


New York Man Disabled By Cerebral Palsy Vindicated In Bid To Have Automatic Door Opener Installed


Posted on 22nd October 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized


A New York City man who has cerebral palsy has won a second round in his legal battle against his residence, Co-op City in the Bronx, according to the New York Daily News.


New York State Supreme Court Judge Mary Ann Brigantti-Hughes upheld a ruling that mandated that Riverbay, which manages Co-op City, install automatic door openers at 100 Aldrich St. 

John Rose, 68, has cerebral palsy and is confined to a motorized wheelchair. He had filed a complaint against Riverbay with the New York City Commission of Human Rights because he couldn’t open the front door of his building without help, according to the News. Last year the commission found that Riverbay had to install the automatic doors to accommodate Rose, a ruling that was appealed by Riverbay.

The commission had fined Riverbay $50,000 and gave Rose damages of $51,000.

Judge Brigantti-Hughes upheld the commission’s decision, the News reported. But she reduced the fine to $5,000 and cut the damages to $16,000.

The judge found that Riverbay wasn’t giving Rose an “unsegregated accommodation,” which is mandated by city law, according to the News.

Riverbay complained that it would cost about $50,000 to install the automated doors.


Judge Declares Suit By Nursing Home Residents With Cerebral Palsy A Class Action Case


Posted on 4th February 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized


A federal judge in Maine has granted class-action status to a lawsuit involving nursing home residents with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and other ailments that want to live outside those facilities, according to the Associated Press.  


Earlier this week U.S. District Court Judge John Woodcock gave the class-action designation to a suit lodged by three men with cerebral palsy who want to live on their own but still receive services from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

That lawsuit, filed in December 2009, claims that Maine was  in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Nursing Home Reform Act for not letting the three men reside outside nursing homes.

Judge Woodcock ruled that 40 nursing home residents with cerebral palsy and other conditions can join in the 2009 lawsuit.