Opposing counsel has "never come close
to WTO's level of skill and experience."
In trial after trial, Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell lawyers vigorously defend the reputations and practices of professionals and organizations against claims of negligence, malpractice, and liability. Our teams excel when the stakes are high and underlying facts are complex.
We have particular experience with class actions and mass tort cases involving multimillion-dollar damage claims, including punitive or exemplary damages. Our lawyers are also well versed in defending against civil litigation claims stemming from criminal cases.
WTO is often retained on the eve of trial to rehabilitate and try difficult cases, especially in plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions. We also help clients handle and respond to critical incidents, media requests, early case resolution, related litigation, and coordinating or supervising local or special counsel.
WTO has successfully defended the following types of clients:
- Hospitals and healthcare facilities, including long-term, nursing, and mental health facilities; physicians and other care providers; and healthcare executives and administrators;
- Law firms, lawyers, and other legal professionals;
- Sports organizations and professionals;
- Accountants and accounting firms;
- Bankers, securities broker-dealers, and financial institutions;
- Construction contractors, architects, engineers, and related firms; and
- Insurance brokers, agents, and carriers.
We also routinely work with insurance companies to protect their insured professionals. Representative insurance company clients include ACE, ALAS, CNA, Coregis, Medical Protective, Premier, Shand Morahan, Universal Health Services, and Westport.
- Won an arbitration award for a lawyer and law firm against malpractice claims related to a 2014 real estate deal. Claimants asserted damages of $3 million plus interest. The arbiter ruled for WTO's client and found that no malpractice occurred.
- Won a unanimous defense verdict in a $55 million trial in eastern Kentucky for a hospital accused of malpractice.
- Won a defense jury verdict in Ohio for two neonatologists facing claims of negligently handling the care of a newborn baby.
- Won a complete defense jury verdict for a mental health hospital in Virginia. The plaintiff claimed $32 million in damages arising from an alleged patient-on-patient sexual assault.
- Won a complete defense verdict and dismissal of punitive damages claims for a Wyoming hospital and codefendant physicians facing non-negotiable $19 million negligence claims brought by a plaintiff who suffered a stroke following emergency room treatment for a head wound.
- Prevailed before the Tenth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, which affirmed a bankruptcy court's order of summary judgment for WTO's client, a law firm that had been sued for representing its client in bankruptcy proceedings that became intertwined with a protracted divorce in which the plaintiff (to the appeal) was a party.
- Won a defense jury verdict in Ohio in a two-week trial involving allegations of medical malpractice resulting in birth injuries. The plaintiffs sought over $18 million in damages, and WTO lawyers were brought in to defend the case just three weeks before trial.
- Obtained dismissal of claims against a private hospital, establishing an exception to the traditional rule of vicarious liability in New York State.
- Won a defense jury verdict in Columbus, Ohio, in a medical malpractice case involving paraplegia allegedly resulting from failure to timely diagnose a spinal epidural abscess.
- Won a complete defense jury verdict in a $12 million legal malpractice case. The jury found in favor of WTO's client on all claims and also awarded unpaid legal fees owed by plaintiffs.
- Won a complete defense jury verdict in federal court for a large international law firm accused of malpractice. The plaintiff hired WTO's client to handle a complex patent infringement matter, then sued the firm for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.
- Won a complete defense verdict in federal court in Colorado for an emergency physician in a three-week medical malpractice trial in which the plaintiff alleged misdiagnosis leading to paralysis and asserted damage claims of $12 million.
- Won a complete defense verdict in state court in Minnesota in a case involving allegations that a doctor's spinal epidural injection resulted in paraplegia. Prior to trial, the plaintiffs rejected a $4 million offer of judgment. Following two weeks of testimony, the jury deliberated 11 hours over two days, returning with a unanimous defense verdict.
- Won back-to-back Colorado Court of Appeals victories in June 2013 in legal malpractice cases involving claims of failure to disclose, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, and breach of fiduciary duty.
- Obtained victory before the Colorado Court of Appeals for a bariatric surgeon. WTO lawyers tried and won the original case, which involved alleged complications following gastric bypass surgery. The Court of Appeals rejected the plaintiff's assertions that the lower court erred in precluding certain expert testimony and affirmed the 2011 trial court verdict.
- Won a unanimous defense verdict for a labor and delivery nurse in a $17 million, three-and-a-half-week obstetrical malpractice trial in Colorado state court.
- Won a unanimous defense verdict for four psychiatric hospital nurses in a two-week medical malpractice trial in Boston involving the tragic death of a child. Despite the fact that one nurse admitted negligence for herself and implicated the other three, WTO lawyers effectively argued that the nurse's negligence did not cause the patient's death and that the other nurses acted appropriately within the scope of their responsibilities.
- Won a defense decision for a Philadelphia psychiatric hospital in a two-day medical malpractice arbitration involving the death of a patient killed in an auto accident hours after being discharged.
- Won a bench verdict in state court in a legal malpractice matter. After the law firm brought a collection action against a former client, the former client countered with a multimillion-dollar damages demand, claiming breach of fiduciary duty. Following a one-week trial, the judge dismissed the former client's counterclaim and awarded WTO's client the full amount of fees owed plus interest.
- Defended an investment advisory firm in Cook County, IL against a $10 million professional negligence claim. After a two-week trial, the jury found for the defendant.
- Obtained a favorable outcome in a Florida medical malpractice trial involving the death of a 43-year-old man following out-patient hernia surgery. Brought in just a week before trial, the WTO team effectively argued for our client in court, leading the jury to assign primary liability to the patient's family and a non-party surgeon, not to WTO's client. The resulting jury award was less than what our client had offered during trial to settle the case.
- Won a defense verdict for a Florida hospital in a three-week medical malpractice trial. The case involved a baby who suffered cerebral palsy after a rare delivery complication. The plaintiff sued the hospital for $7 million, claiming complications could have been avoided had a C-section been performed. The WTO team successfully argued the complication was unpredictable and unpreventable, and the doctors actually saved the mother and child.
- Obtained a favorable settlement for a large excess insurance company in a medical malpractice case involving a permanent disability to a young child resulting from surgery conducted by a doctor who was not board certified.
- Won a jury defense verdict for a Colorado bariatric surgeon in Denver District Court.
- Represented a managing partner in a $5 million suit between law firm partners with respect to claims of fraud and mismanagement. After a two-week trial, WTO's client prevailed on fraud and mismanagement claims, and the Court ordered an accounting and liquidation of the firm.
- Won a defense verdict for a Washington D.C. hospital in a $40 million medical malpractice lawsuit that involved a baby born with severe brain damage.
- Obtained summary judgment in district court in a professional negligence claim against WTO's client, a construction consultant, in a matter related to criminal charges brought against the consultant's client, a utility company.
- Affirmed on appeal to the D.C. Court of Appeals WTO's unanimous defense jury verdict for a hospital after a three-week trial in Washington, D.C. The plaintiffs alleged the doctor provided less than the standard of care, resulting in an infant's cerebral palsy. WTO established the child's condition was attributable to his 14-week premature birth.
- Ford v. Eicher (Colo. Sup. Ct. 2011) - Secured a landmark victory from the Colorado Supreme Court for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in a case involving the reliability of the intrauterine forces theory of labor as applied in shoulder dystocia matters.
- Won a unanimous jury defense verdict for a cardiothoracic surgeon in a two-week medical malpractice trial involving injuries associated with an atrial fibrillation surgery.
- Obtained a Rule 12(b) dismissal of a complaint filed in federal court in Missouri against a large international law firm. The plaintiffs ultimately obtained an eight-figure jury verdict against the remaining defendants in the case.
- Won a jury defense verdict for an orthopedic spine surgeon in a medical malpractice case with millions of dollars in damage claims at stake, including eight years of accruing pretrial interest.
- Borders v. Aspen Equestrian Estate (Colo. 2010) - Successfully defended against a real estate company's claims that WTO's client's interference caused the loss of a $2 million investment when it prevented the sale of a shopping center before the real estate market crashed. WTO was retained in the last months before trial, and despite rulings made before WTO's engagement that the basis for interfering lacked merit as a matter of law, following trial, the court ruled for WTO's client on all issues of liability, causation, and damages.
- Represented a hospital in a four-week trial in California involving special damages in excess of $10 million in claims relating to the care of an adult male with brain damage. The jury returned a verdict of $6 million, but also found the plaintiff 75% contributory negligent. After the setoff from settling the defendant, WTO's client owed only $37,000.
- Won a defense verdict in a medical malpractice case in Florida involving permanent brain injury to a well-known plaintiff's lawyer. WTO was asked to take over the case two weeks into trial and after both local and regional defense counsel recommended settling the case for $12-15 million.
- Villalpando v. Denver Health, 181 P.3d 357 (Colo. App. 2007) - Won affirmation from the Colorado Court of Appeals for four doctors in a medical tort case involving wrongful death claims relating to medical treatment provided to the plaintiff's husband before his death.
- Obtained a defense verdict in a New Hampshire trial involving the death of a 63-year-old man following complications from gall bladder surgery. With just two weeks' notice, WTO demonstrated that an empty oxygen tank, which the decedent used for supplemental oxygen shortly before his cardiac arrest, did not cause his death. Ultimately, the jury agreed.
- Obtained partial summary judgment in federal court for a large national law firm that had been sued for malpractice, aiding and abetting, conspiracy, and violations of RICO. The ruling reduced the damage claim from over $150 million to less than $2 million and paved the way for a favorable settlement of the case.
- Moore v. Bertuzzi - Successfully defended the Vancouver Canucks NHL organization in a lawsuit brought by Colorado Avalanche player Steven Moore as a result of severe injuries he sustained during a hockey game. WTO obtained dismissal of the lawsuit on the grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction and forum non conveniens, and also obtained a six-figure award of attorney's fees and costs in favor of the Canucks organization and against Mr. Moore.
- Successfully represented a diagnostic testing company against class action allegations following a high-profile hepatitis outbreak at a hospital, and obtained a complete dismissal of all claims without any settlement payment by WTO's client.
- Defeated a motion to compel a hospital's internal quality control review following the death of a patient, establishing a federal peer review privilege, and defeated a motion to compel the hospital's plan of correction.