April 23, 2009
Gerald Toner prevailed before the Kentucky Supreme Court in a landmark decision issued April 23, 2009. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals and reinstated a defense verdict Toner had obtained for a neurosurgeon. The plaintiff alleged that the neurosurgeon was responsible for the failure of nursing staff to account for retained Durahooks, used to hold soft tissues apart during an operation. After the jury found in favor of the neurosurgeon, the court of appeals set the verdict aside on the grounds that, under Kentucky precedent, a retained foreign object required that the surgeon be found negligent.
Toner succeeded in having the Supreme Court overturn precedent that had been in place for more than 30 years. The new precedent allows Kentucky surgeons to have their day in court when such complications arise.