Largest Med Mal Jury Verdict in CT History $58.6 million awarded

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BRIDGEPORT, May 27, 2011 - A Waterbury Superior Court jury today awarded $58.6 million to a family in what is believed to be the largest medical malpractice judgment in Connecticut history.

The jury awarded $58 million to Dominic and Cathy D'Attilo of Norwalk, CT, the parents of a boy who was severely injured at birth and today suffers from severe cerebral palsy as a result.

Attorneys James Horwitz and Kathleen Nastri of the Bridgeport-based law firm Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, represented the family of eight-year-old Daniel Jacob D'Attilo, who was born with cerebral palsy on February 2, 2003, after what their lawyers called a birth "replete with significant delays and critical errors" on the part of his obstetrician.

"For the duration of her pregnancy, Cathy was under the care of Dr. Richard Viscarello of Maternal-Fetal Care in Stamford," said Horwitz. "When she arrived for a visit on January 31, 2003, she was in her 39 th week of pregnancy. Her condition that day indicated that she should have been delivered immediately by caesarean section, but instead Dr. Viscarello sent her home."

"Ultrasound testing during that visit showed Cathy had half the normal amount of amniotic fluid," added Nastri. "The fluid supports the baby's well-being by keeping the baby cushioned, by keeping the umbilical cord from being compressed, and by keeping the baby safe from trauma in utero. With that kind of drop in the fluid, standard medical protocol calls for the baby to be delivered immediately."

Two days later, Cathy returned in labor. According to her attorneys, a series of critical errors once again ensued, which led to birth trauma and cerebral palsy.

"Dr. Viscarello made a series of errant decisions, including placing incisions in the wrong place during a cesarean section. As Cathy's labor progressed, the baby was pushed down and became deeply lodged in her pelvis. Dr. Viscarello had great difficulty in performing the C section. Consequently, the baby's birth was delayed, depriving him of oxygen and rendering him profoundly brain-damaged and causing cerebral palsy," Horwitz said.

When Daniel was finally born, he was limp and blue. He had suffered a severe birth injury. He was neither breathing nor moving, and he barely had a heartbeat.

As a result, Daniel has a severe form of cerebral palsy. He is unable to crawl, walk, talk, or eat. He is fed through a feeding tube, is incontinent, and requires round-the-clock care.

The trial lasted for a month, and a jury of six men deliberated for two and a half days before reaching its verdict. They awarded the D'Attilos $8.6 million in economic damages for past and future care of their son, as well as $50 million in non-economic damages.

"It's an overwhelming victory for the parents who have gone through hell," Nastri said.

Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder has offices in Bridgeport, Danbury and New Haven. The nationally known law firm has achieved record verdicts for people who suffer serious personal injuries or economic harm from medical malpractice, violation of their civil or constitutional rights, dangerous products, negligence, drunk drivers, trucking accidents, corporate or governmental abuse and commercial misconduct.