LOS ANGELES, March 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — About March 2, 2022, Arash Hompour of the Homampour law firm and Matthew BF Biren and John A. Roberts of Biren Law Group obtained a $60 million Orange County Superior Court verdict for a woman, Priscilla O’Malley, who suffered a devastating brain aneurysm rupture in a hotel. After prejudgment interest is added, the verdict will exceed $90 million.
About the case: O’Malley v. Diamond Resorts Management
The lawsuit was filed against Diamond Resorts Management because Priscilla, 59 at the time, was staying at one of its beach hotels to watch the sunset. At about 6:30 p.m., alone in her hotel room, she suffers a ruptured aneurysm. The cerebral hemorrhage immediately rendered her crippled, lying on the living room floor.
Her husband, Michael O’Malleywho was back home to take care of her dog business, called her several times between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. The married couple used to call each other often, and they grew increasingly worried that something was wrong when their calls went unanswered without explanation.
A little after 10 p.m., Michael called the hotel and explained to the receptionist that he was worried because Priscilla was unusually unresponsive to his calls. He asked if they could send someone to see if she was in the room and okay. The front desk clerk agreed, sending the maintenance man over to check the room.
But when the maintenance man arrived in Priscilla’s room, he just opened the door, knocked and called. He later admitted that the room was completely dark with furniture blocking his view of the living room floor. When no one answered, he left and reported to the receptionist that no one was in the room.
Michael, relying on the maintenance man’s observation, had no idea what direction to take next; he couldn’t imagine where his wife was if it wasn’t in the room. Unfortunately, he had given his cell phone to Priscilla, because hers was not working. Fearing the worst, he felt the best option would be to stay at home. If she needed to contact him, she could reach him on their landline.
After hours of waiting and another dozen unanswered calls, Michael frantically drove to the hotel at 4 am He hoped that even though Priscilla wasn’t there, she might have left some information in the room about where she was going. He got a key from reception, heading to his room with his head full of worries.
Michael walked into Priscilla’s room at 5:30 As he took a few steps into the entrance hall, he could see his wife lying on the living room floor, in front of the couch. He could hear her labored breathing. 911 was called and emergency medical attention arrived within minutes.
The hotel had a room/wellness check policy in place which required two people (one from management) to visit the room to see if the guest was ok. However, Diamond Resorts, which had just taken over the management of the hotel, never trained either the receptionist or the maintenance man on this policy, the purpose of which was to prevent exactly what was happening here. If the cleaner had simply turned on the light and walked around the room instead of just watching from the doorway, Priscilla would have been discovered inside. 10:30 p.m. and got emergency medical care 7 hours earlier than her.
Priscilla ended up suffering from a complete inability to create new memories. It’s a terrible condition where she can’t remember something she experienced 10 seconds earlier. As a result, she is completely disabled and even the defense experts agree that she needs to be cared for and monitored 24/7. She needs specialist caregivers trained in neurobehaviour, but Michael cannot afford to provide for them. Nor can he afford the therapies she would benefit from.
Although Michael enjoys the help of caregivers from time to time; other times he must watch over Priscilla alone for hours and, sometimes, days at a stretch. The physical and mental exhaustion is like a sore in the salt, to also have to see his wife live with such a devastating condition.
A contentious trial for a heartbreaking case
Plaintiff’s position is that profound memory loss (anterograde amnesia) is caused by hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and hypoxia (lack of oxygen to brain cells). This ultimately destroyed the bilateral hippocampi (left and right hemispheres) of Priscilla, which are the hub of this type of memory. In addition, hydrocephalus and hypoxia do not start immediately (they start 2-6 hours after the cerebral hemorrhage). Thus, if Priscille had been found at 10:30 p.m., these processes could have been completely avoided or stopped in their infancy. Permanent damage could have been avoided.
This position was supported by the plaintiff’s experts: a physician in neurocritical care, a neurologist who treats patients with ruptured aneurysms, a neuropsychologist, a neuroradiologist and a physiatrist specializing in the treatment of brain injuries.
On the other side of the court, the defendant claimed Priscilla’s injury was a massive cerebral hemorrhage that tore limbic system structures apart. They claimed that all damage occurred within the first few seconds to minutes after the brain bleed, which Priscilla would have been exactly the same had she been found earlier. In other words, they claimed there was nothing that could have been done to help him.
Their position was supported by world-renowned doctors: a neurologist in the emergency room and a neurosurgeon who operates on aneurysms. The hole in their argument was that they were testifying about issues – the neurocritical care intervention and the benefits it can bring to the patient – that were outside their realm.
A monumental victory for the plaintiffs
the Orange County The jury returned a verdict that Diamond Resorts was at fault and responsible for Priscilla’s injury. They rewarded Priscilla $9.5 million to cover future care and $41 million to compensate for general damage ($12 million for past pain and suffering and $29 million for future pain and suffering). They also awarded Michael $10 million in damage ($5 million for the past loss of the consortium and $5 million for future loss of the consortium).
Because the O’Malleys had made an offer to settle down 5 years earlier to $10 million and did better at trial, they are entitled to $30 million interest (5 years at 10%), bringing the total verdict to $90 million.
The accountability vote was 12-0; for damages, the vote was 10 to 2, with two jury members wanting to award the plaintiffs more.
The trial was highly polarized, with the defendant vigorously contesting everything: liability, causation and damages. Diamond Resorts in fact argued that plaintiff’s attorneys invented their theory of medical causation. However, the jury won it thanks to the detailed presentation of Biren Law Group which simplified the stakes. The jury understood that time is running out for a brain injury: it was absolutely inconceivable that Priscilla would end up in exactly the same condition if she was found five minutes after the bleeding instead of 11 hours. Over time without help, more pressure built up from the ever-increasing hydrocephalus and more of his brain cells died.
the Orange County the jury’s verdict is a vindication of the American civil justice system – no one can evade the truth. The money will allow Michael to provide the specialist care that Priscilla desperately needs, helping her make the most of life after the mind-boggling horror show she has been through.
Biren Law Group is a family-owned personal injury law firm based in Los Angeles. Over the past 40 years, his attorneys have recovered more than half a billion dollars for injured clients, earning them national recognition. When everyday people need aggressive legal representation in a catastrophic injury or wrongful death case, they turn to Biren Law Group for help. Learn more at https://www.biren.com/.
CAS No.: 30-2015-00771021-CU-PO-NJC
SOURCEBiren Law Group