$552,000 for physician’s assistant’s negligence resulting in delayed surgery for wrist injury. Los Angeles County.


Plaintiff suffered a wrist injury and sought treatment which did not improve her condition after five months. She had been treated by a P.A., never seen by a physician up to that point. After the fruitless five months, she was finally seen by a hand specialist who immediately recommended surgery.

The Case

  • Case Name: Galvan v. Mora
  • Court and Case Number: L.A. Superior Pasadena/ GC045519
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, January 13, 2012
  • Type of Case: Medical Malpractice
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Jan A. Pluim
  • Plaintiffs:
    Maria Galvan, 51, unemployed assistant bank manager
  • Defendants:
    Blanca Mora, P.A.; Pacific Orthopedic Medical Group
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $552,000
  • Net Verdict or Award: $479,500
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Against both defendant Mora and her employer, Pacific Orthopedic Medical Group.

  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $322,500.  Reduced to $250,000 per MICRA.

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 9 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1.5 days
  • Jury Polls: 10-2 (negligence), 9-3 (causation), 12-0 (damages)

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    Ammirato & Palumbo by Vincent A. Ammirato, Pasadena
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Moore McLennan, LLP by Raymond R. Moore, Glendale

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Paul Broadus, M.A., vocational rehabilitation, Los Angeles
    Milan Stevanovic, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Los Angeles
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    Stuart Kuschner, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Beverly Hills

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On April 14, 2009 plaintiff fell and sustained an intra-articular fracture of the dorsal radius of her right wrist as well as a stress fracture of the left wrist. She received emergency room treatment and was referred to Pacific Orthopedic Medical Group for follow-up treatment.

    On April 16, plaintiff went with her husband to Pacific Orthopedic Medical Group, where she was seen by defendant Mora, a physician's assistant. Defendant examined plaintiff, took x-rays and performed a closed reduction before re-splinting the wrist.

    On April 23, plaintiff returned and was attended again by defendant, who performed another closed reduction with anesthetic and placed the wrist in a cast.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Believed that defendant was a doctor rather than a physician's assistant and was not told otherwise. Defendant recommended surgery, but when plaintiff asked the difference between surgery and casting, she was told that the injury would heal the same with either treatment except that casting would take longer. Plaintiff chose casting.

    After five months of treatment, plaintiff again saw defendant, who at that point consulted with an orthopedist outside of the exam room. Plaintiff was then referred to hand specialist, Dr. Milan Stevanovic who admonished defendant for not having plaintiff seen by a physician prior.

    After consultation with Dr. Stevanovic, plaintiff underwent osteotomy surgery with a plate and ten screws.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    The words "physician's assistant" and "PA" were on paperwork, prescriptions and defendant's gown. Surgery was recommended, but plaintiff chose casting.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Loss of range of motion and grip strength in right wrist and hand as well as a 6-inch scar. Plaintiff claimed that she could not operate a computer keyboard to work.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $ 505,000