July 31, 2009
Gerald Toner successfully defended a Louisville, KY obstetrician accused of improperly and unnecessarily using a vacuum device during delivery, which, the plaintiffs’ claimed, caused the child’s neurological injuries. Toner established that not only was the vacuum correctly applied, but that there was sufficient justification for the use of the device, namely, decelerations indicated on the fetal heart monitor strips which contributed to the doctor’s fear of an impending uterine rupture. Defense experts testified that the child’s impairment was a result of a cerebral hemorrhage that occurred independently of the implementation of the device. The jury sided with the defendant, returning a defense verdict within two hours that awarded none of the nearly $30 million sought by the plaintiffs.