CIVIL VERDICTS - PREMISES LIABILITY * Estate of Joan DeMarco v. The Marquis - Decedent business tenant of apartment/office complex owner murdered by former employee of defendant in violent assault during office burglary. Plaintiff's estate alleged negligent security theory of liability against defendant. Settlement negotiated with responsible insurance company in excess of One Million Two Hundred Thousand ($1,200,000.00) Dollars prior to trial. * Khaled Bakar v. Home Properties, Inc. - Plaintiff was standing on third floor balcony of friend's apartment owned by defendant, when the floor suddenly collapsed causing plaintiff to fall to ground. Plaintiff sustained fractured ribs, non-displaced tibia fracture and herniated disc, which was treated with physical therapy and multiple epidural injections. Montgomery County jury returned a verdict in the amount of Seven Hundred and Sixty Nine Thousand ($769,000.00) Dollars. Plaintiff filed Motion for Delay Damages which was granted and case was settled for Nine Hundred Thousand ($900,000.00) Dollars. * CIVIL VERDICTS - AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS * Riccardo v. Kim - Plaintiff sustained fractured cervical vertebrae at C5-6 level which required two surgeries and metal screws, arising from a two vehicle automobile accident. Out-of-court settlement negotiated with responsible insurance carriers in amount of Four Hundred Thousand ($400,000.00) Dollars prior to trial. * Estate of Robert Kane v. Joseph Falco - Decedent killed while passenger in one-car accident where intoxicated driver lost control of vehicle. Wrongful death claim settlement negotiated with responsible insurance company in the amount of Six Hundred and Sixty Thousand ($660,000.00) Dollars prior to trial. * Vinnie Moss v. Baldi Transportation/Erie Insurance Company - Plaintiff awarded Two Hundred Thirty Five Thousand ($235,000.00) Dollars by jury after trial. Defendant trucking company bankrupt and uninsured. Uninsured motorist claim settlement negotiated with plaintiff's insurance company in the amount of Two Hundred Thousand ($200,00.00) Dollars. * CIVIL VERDICTS - LIQUOR LIABILITY * Gerald & Irene Kane v. Dublin Wine and Spirits and Commonwealth of PA - Plaintiff husband and wife sustained multiple injuries in head-on collision with drunk driver. Husband-plaintiff sustained head injury resulting in brain hemorrhage and coma, with substantial recovery. Wife-plaintiff sustained broken ankle. Out-of-court settlement successfully negotiated against defendants prior to trial. Husband's claim - Two Hundred Forty Thousand ($240,000.00) Dollars. Wife's claim - Ninety Thousand ($90,000.00) Dollars. (Bucks County)* Edward Pisarek v. Adriatric Club - Plaintiff police officer assaulted while on duty by intoxicated bar patron skilled in martial arts. Plaintiff sustained permanent partial hearing loss and multiple lacerations. Non-jury trial verdict in favor of plaintiff and against defendant in amount of One Hundred Fifty Thousand ($150,000.00) Dollars. (Philadelphia County) CIVIL VERDICTS - PRODUCT LIABILITY* Keith Rosenberger v. Galoob Toys, Inc. - Plaintiff sustained temporary partial loss of vision in one eye with increased risk of future glaucoma, when struck in eye by defendants' children's toy, while plaintiff demonstrated newly purchased toy for child. Out-of-court settlement successfully negotiated against defendants in the amount of One Hundred Fifty Thousand ($150,000.00) Dollars prior to trial. (Montgomery County)* Raymond Cost v. Caterpillar, Inc. - Plaintiff sustained partial amputation of his lower leg, when his foot was crushed in an unguarded pinchpoint of rotating couplings inside engine area, while plaintiff was performing maintenance of defendant's heavy trash compactor/metal shearer. Out-of-court settlement successfully negotiated against defendant in the amount of Four Hundred Seventy Five Thousand ($475,000.00) Dollars prior to trial. (Montgomery County)

Shaken Baby Syndrome Attorney

Debunking the “Last One Holding the Baby is Guilty” Theory in Shaken Baby Cases

In almost all reported “Shaken Baby Syndrome” criminal prosecutions, the evidence is entirely circumstantial butressed by expert medical testimony which is often misleading and unreliable in important respects. There are rarely eyewitnesses to a shaken baby incident. Hence, the last person holding the baby closest in time to when acute visible distress is first observed, will almost always be law enforcement’s immediate and sole focus of its investigation. This is due to a climate of collaboration between law enforcement and the pediatric medical community in which the relevant medicine presented to juries is often grossly overstated and tailored to fit the prosecution’s theory in baby shaking cases.

A typical “shaken baby” incident occurs when the perpetrator vigorously shakes the baby in anger or frustration, which causes the baby’s head to be violently thrust backwards and forward. This whiplash-like mechanism of injury, arises from the baby’s under-developed neck muscles and the disproportionate weight of the baby’s head. The result is that the child’s brain, through the forces of physics, careens back and forth, within the hard, boney interior cavity of the skull which causes rupturing of blood vessels in the brain and resultant hemorrhage.
It is not the initial injury to these blood vessels which is the immediate cause of death or permanent neurological injury. Rather, a direct consequence of the initial trauma and resultant hemorrhaging from the ruptured blood vessels is severe brain swelling which deprives the brain of oxygen causes; outward manifestations of the baby’s physical distress, and often ultimate death. Therefore, the lynchpin medical-legal issue in baby shaking cases is: how long is the time-line between the moment of the baby shaking incident until the baby manifests noticeable indicia of physical distress such as lethargy, crying, difficulty breathing and/or blueness of skin color.

The convenient consensus answer of law enforcement and the mainstream pediatric medical community is that the time-line is immediate or almost immediate. However, this black and white conclusory approach summarily dismisses any shades of gray by not fairly taking into consideration a basic, crucial medical principle as well as important relevant factors particular to the specific baby and incident. First, the process of brain swelling from hemorrhage in a baby arising from a shaking incident is not instantaneous, but takes time to develop measured in at least hours before the resultant brain oxygen deprivation causes outward physical signs of distress in the baby. This in large part is due to the fact that a baby’s skull is not yet fully formed as an adult, and will expand under swelling pressure which may further prolong the time-line of physical manifestation of distress. Secondly, the nature and severity of the particular shaking incident will vary in degree and force on a case by case basis. Thirdly, the particular baby’s outward physical manifestations of the shaking incident may be masked by a normally fussy baby, crying baby or a baby who sleeps often on a case by case basis.

Based on all of the above factors, the “Last One Holding the Baby” Theory routinely utilized by police and prosecutors in baby shaking prosecutions is fundamentally flawed as a blanket “one size fits all approach”. As such, it may place any innocent person last holding the baby at grave risks for prosecution and punishment for a crime actually committed earlier by another care taker of the baby.

A case in point is the criminal prosecution in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs. Owen Johnson, in which the Commonwealth sought the death penalty against Owen Johnson for the baby shaking death of his five month old baby Samantha. Owen Johnson and the baby’s mother, were the sole caretakers of Samantha. They were also both deaf and Samantha was their first child. A Lancaster County jury, after it heard dramatically conflicting medical testimony from the prosecution and defense as well as testimony from Owen Johnson, found Owen Johnson innocent of all charges. The baby’s mother who was home during the entire day of the incident never took the witness stand.

The information contained herein should not be used as a substitute for personal
legal advice. You should contact the Law Offices of McMahon, McMahon & Lentz
to schedule a Consultation with an attorney who will speak to you regarding your
specific situation.