Brain Injury

CZ&R Wins $900,000 Verdict against L.A. Sheriff’s Department

- Paul Zuckerman

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A man who was punched in the face by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy in a Maywood parking lot was awarded $900,000 by a federal jury on Thursday, Dec. 11th, 2014.

Eduardo Cervantes was sitting in his car outside a billiards hall playing with his new cell phone when two sheriff’s deputies approached him around noon on Nov. 23, 2010.
According to Cervantes’ civil complaint, Deputy Paul Cruz ordered him to get out of the car and became angry when Cervantes asked what the reason was.

Cervantes, who wears a prosthesis on his right leg, said he complied with commands to face his vehicle and put his hands behind him. But at that point, he said, Cruz’s partner, Deputy Victor Cisneros, punched him, and both deputies then knocked him backward.
The deputies claimed they were trying to cite Cervantes for having tinted windows on his car when Cervantes began to struggle with them — threatening to spit on them — and that he struck his head on the pavement when he fell, according to the complaint.

Cervantes was charged with resisting arrest, but the charge was later dropped.

Cervantes, who formerly worked as a bounty hunter, suffered headaches for several years and still has floaters in his eye from the incident, said one of his attorneys, Kevin Conlogue, attorney at Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, LLP.

“He got beat up by some bad cops, and he finally got some vindication,” Conlogue said.

The jury decided that Cisneros, but not Cruz, used unreasonable force and that Cervantes’ arrest was unjustified.The $900,000 award covers physical and emotional pain and suffering, Conlogue said. The jury declined to award punitive damages.

Jonathan McCaverty, principal deputy county counsel, said the county was deciding whether to appeal the verdict, but he had no further comment.Cisneros still works as a deputy, while Cruz is no longer with the department, said a sheriff’s spokeswoman.


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Nick Rowley Wins $1 Million Jury Verdict With Only $5,000 In Past Medical Bills

- Paul Zuckerman


Nick Rowley used his trial by human approach to win a $1 million jury verdict alongside Dylan Pollard in a case where the plaintiff had incurred only $5,000 in past medical bills.  The verdict was unanimous.

Nick jumped into the case only days before trial.    The mediator’s proposal had been for $60,000, which the Plaintiff agreed to but State Farm would not.  State Farm’s largest offer was $26,000 by 998 after mediation.  The plaintiff had responded with a $50,000 998 demand, which State Farm rejected.  The defendant was represented by an experienced insurance industry lawyer who had been named State Farm’s Trial Lawyer of the Year.  Liability was disputed until shortly before trial as there was no police report.

The plaintiff, a 43-year recently divorced mother of two, was in car crash while en route to her children’s school.  The plaintiff complained of neck pain at the scene and was put in C-Spine precautions and transported by ambulance to UCLA’s ER.  The plaintiff objected to the transport, stating she had to pick up her children from school and was fine and didn’t need to be evaluated.  Upon arrival to the hospital, the plaintiff continued to resist medical treatment, ultimately walking out against medical advice.  Her Glasgow Coma Scale was noted to be perfect as was her neurological exam.  As such, there were no contemporaneous medical records to support the plaintiff’s claims of injuries.  And the only complaint per the paramedics was neck pain.  Further, when the plaintiff saw her family doctor the following day, the doctor noted she only had low back and neck pain and that she was neurologically intact, had no head trauma, no headaches, and did not lose consciousness at the scene.  The neck and back pain resolved in 8 weeks and the Plaintiff was back to doing yoga and having no residuals but for a noticeable change in her short term memory.  The first notation weeks after the collision of this was a physical therapy record where the Plaintiff noted a ‘foggy memory’.  Concussions are often misdiagnosed and certainly misunderstood.  And nobody would think that whiplash (an acceleration deceleration injury could cause a concussion).  Furthermore, post concussion syndrome leaves long term residuals in 10-15% of patients.

Nick handled the trial from mini opening to closing arguments with the exception of two lay witnesses.  He put the medical records in their proper context.  He explained to the jury that the plaintiff’s conduct in the ambulance refusing medical care and at the ER were signs of combativeness, a tell tale sign of having suffered a concussion.  The Plaintiff had a history of two past concussions which Nick used as an advantage explaining throughout the trial how the residual memory loss makes sense because she came to the collision with an unusually susceptible brain.  Nick had no helpful radiological evidence as the brain MRI months later was normal.  Through testimony from the defense neurologist, Arthur Kowell, M.D., Nick explained the limitations of MRI and the common misdiagnosis of concussions in emergency rooms and how patients with concussions are often irrational and refuse medical treatment.  Also, Nick established how there was no true exam at the Emergency Room, and that no CT scan was done which could have shown bruising in the brain which would then not show up later on an MRI.  Plaintiff saw a neurologist 3 times prior to trial who diagnosed post concussion syndrome and testing by neuropsychologist David Lechuga, PhD, showed memory impairment in 2 different tests.  The defense also had the Plaintiff evaluated by a psychiatrist Dr. David Pastor and neuropsychologist Kyle Boone, PhD, both who called Plaintiff a malingerer.  Nick and Dylan established the human story of change through lay witnesses, with the best witness being Plaintiff’s 17 year old daughter.  Nick proved that despite the lack of hard medical evidence from the day of the crash, the plaintiff had suffered a concussion and had residual memory impairment.  Despite the low amount of past medical bills, the plaintiff would endure a lifetime of memory loss, and what is more important than our ability to remember.

Most important, Nick stressed the plaintiff’s human losses, what it meant for her to no longer be herself.  He explained to the jury the need for them to honor this victim and her loss.  Nick’s human approach stood in stark contrast to State Farm’s attempts to smear the plaintiff’s character and paint her as a “worrier” and complainer who was exaggerating or faking her injury.  The defense went through years of Plaintiff’s records with her therapist exposing her history of relationship problems, lack of self worth, anxiety and depression, and humiliate her in cross examination.  Nick responded by calling Defense counsel out as a bully and despicable for doing that to a woman who has never blamed relationship problems or depression on the collision.  Nick asked the jury to come back with a unanimous verdict that tells Leslie she is honorable.  After reading its unanimous verdict, the jury foreperson echoed Nick’s theme, approaching the plaintiff in the hallway, giving her a hug, and telling her: “You’re honorable.”   Every juror hugged the client after the verdict.

Nick served as lead trial counsel.  Dylan examined multiple witnesses at trial.  Of particular note, Dylan located liability witnesses, which was particularly challenging given the lack of a police report. Dylan’s devotion to the plaintiff, belief in the client, and commitment to secure her the justice she deserved was unparalleled.

What Medical Mistakes during Birth Can Lead to Brain Trauma?

- Paul Zuckerman

Brain Trauma LawyersMedical procedures and technology for assisting in the birthing process have continually become better during the last several decades. These help make the birth easier for both the mother and child and can help deal with possible complications. However, injuries and difficulties can still be experienced and in the event that a mistake occurs, major trauma and lifelong consequences may occur.

Unfortunately, one of the most common forms of damage that may occur is atraumatic brain injury (TBI) to the newborn. But what forms of medical malpractice could occur during the birthing process? According to, the following mistakes could occur during labor and delivery and lead to a TBI.

  • Delayed Delivery: Whether labor must be induced or the birthing process must be sped up, the baby needs to be delivered on time. If it is not, he or she may suffer from a lack of oxygen, or asphyxia. If this goes on for too long, brain damage can quickly occur. All doctors on duty need to be fully aware of the child’s needs and make decisions quickly and efficiently to avoid causinginjury.
  • Delivery Mistakes: Equipment such as forceps and vacuum extractors are used to gently take hold of the baby’s head and ease them out during delivery. However, these must be used with care and by someone with a high level of experience. If not, a simple mistake can lead to a head injury.
  • Post-Birth Care: All newborns must be properly monitored in order to catch any possible damage that may have occurred. If not, injuries can worsen and permanent damage may become unavoidable. Even if no obvious mistake has occurred, safety is a priority.

At Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, our Beverly Hills birth injury lawyers are dedicated to finding compensation for those who have been injured by medical mistakes. With our help, families and children can have the support they need as they cope with brain trauma. To learn more, call our offices at 213-514-8332.

Study: A Single Concussion Can Alter Brain Structure

- Paul Zuckerman

A recent study published in scientific journal Radiology has claimed that even a single concussion is enough to change a brain’s structure. This alteration can lead to cognitive difficulties and a higher chance of a victim suffering depression, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Concussion Effects on the Brain StudyThrough the use of magnetic resonance imaging, the study compared the brains of healthy subjects with patients who had suffered a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) a year ago..Research found that people with a minor TBI had experienced shrinkage in regions of the brain that are linked to executive function, mood regulation, and memory. While the atrophy affected the brain as a whole, the anterior cingulate and the precuneal region were seen as suffering a greater effect.

The anterior cingulated has been seen as a connector between regions controlling attention, memory, judgment, and higher-order reasoning. On the other hand, problems with the precuneal region have been related to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Combined with another recent study that helped to detect bleeding within the brain, researchers are hoping to detect injuries more quickly and provide proper medical care with less delay. Additionally, members of the study on mild TBI hope their results will show victims of brain trauma that there are biological causes of the problems they may be experiencing.

Scientific advances in recent years have helped shed light on the serious yet often difficult to understand nature of brain injuries. While the methods used to help victims cope with their losses and recover have taken major steps, these procedures are often costly and the effects of a brain injury can have major repercussions on professional and personal life.

If you have been injured in an accident from the result of another person’s dangerous actions, you have the right to hold them accountable and receive compensation for your physical and financial losses. Get in touch with the Beverly Hills TBI victim lawyers at Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley to learn more about our courtroom successes and the ways in which we may be able to help you. A free consultation is only a phone call away at 213-514-8332.