Robert L. McKenna III, Michael R. Pittman, and Andrew J. Wiseman obtain a complete defense verdict on liability in O’Rourke v. Ali with exposure of $30 million

In O’Rourke v. Ali, et al., Mr. McKenna and his team represented a hospitalist and there was also an emergency medicine physician who was a named defendant through trial. Plaintiffs were represented by Robert Vaage and Elizabeth Teixeira of the Law Offices of Robert Vaage.

On January 13, 2012, then 53-year-old male plaintiff woke up at 3:30 a.m. with severe left arm pain and epigastric pain. He, his wife, and adult son went to the nearest hospital they could find thinking that plaintiff was suffering from a heart attack. Plaintiffs were from Canada and were unfamiliar with the local hospitals. Plaintiff ultimately presented to Community Hospital of Long Beach where plaintiff was worked up in the emergency department and by the hospitalist on call. Despite his initial complaints, the defense argued that his EKGs and cardiac biomarker blood tests were all negative following his initial workup. There were no objective signs of acute coronary syndrome. Plaintiff was appropriately monitored. Later that afternoon, plaintiff’s laboratory studies revealed a small heart attack and a cardiologist was consulted. During the process of obtaining the cardiology consultation, plaintiff unexpectedly suffered a large heart attack that later required a heart transplant.

Through numerous experts, the defense established that the standard of care was complied with by both the hospitalist and the emergency room physician. A complete defense verdict was rendered by the Long Beach jury after a day and a half of deliberations.

The case was complicated by the fact that plaintiff was found to have significant coronary artery disease to the extent that his left anterior descending artery (LAD) was completely occluded and could not be stented on January 13, 2012. The defense set forth testimony that there was no earlier intervention that would have altered plaintiff’s outcome.

This case is significant due to the damages sought by plaintiffs. Plaintiff was previously a CEO and entrepreneur earning close to mid-six-figures. He contended that he could no longer work for the remainder of his life. Plaintiffs requested upwards of $30 million from the jury. With respect to medical care and treatment, plaintiffs contended that they were entitled to $11 million worth of care in Los Angeles when in fact they reside in Canada where all past medical care and treatment was fully covered.