Cases Rejected by Other Firms

By Lee S. Goldsmith, M.D., LLB

Why would one law firm look at a case rejected by another law firm? The answer is simple—we are not infallible—but more importantly most law firms lack the experience and resources to properly evaluate a potential claim.

I recall case P which is an example. One Monday morning, I received a call from another attorney. Case involving a 30-year-old woman with brain damage after open heart surgery. Case had been reviewed by two firms and two anesthesiologists who found no liability. The Statute of Limitations runs on Friday. Would I look at the case? They had all of the records.

The first reaction: The statute of limitations runs on Friday.

The second reaction, young woman with brain damage and a heart surgery case reviewed by anesthesiologists. It should be reviewed by a heart surgeon and they had the records.

The records were delivered to our office on Monday afternoon. I reviewed them Monday evening and called a heart surgeon that I knew.  We reviewed the facts that I saw in the record and he told me to be in his office at 7AM the next morning as he had surgery scheduled for 10AM. We reviewed the records together and he told me what he felt were the errors in the work carried out by the surgeon. He agreed to be of assistance.

On Wednesday I was able to meet and assess the client. Wednesday afternoon the complaint was drafted and on Thursday it was filed in Court protecting the Statute of Limitations. The case settled two years later for over $3million

The attorney had the records, I had free time, I had access to a heart surgeon and all the factors that should not have worked, in this case worked. 

Under the right circumstances we will take a second look when a case has been turned down by another firm.