Placement of screw during bunion surgery contested. $140K. San Bernardino County.


Plaintiff says that podiatrist misplaced a screw during bunion surgery, leading to complications. Defense says the screw migrated post-surgery.

The Case

  • Case Name: Norwoods v. Fanous
  • Court and Case Number: San Bernardino Superior Court / CIVDS1806935
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, June 21, 2023
  • Type of Case: Medical Malpractice
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Thomas Garza
  • Plaintiffs:
    Natalie Norwoods
  • Defendants:
    Michael M. Fanous, DPM
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $140,000.
  • Net Verdict or Award: $140,000 plus $32,418.24 added as costs to the judgment, which was entered on September 11, 2023.
  • Economic Damages:

    Past: $37,000 

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $103,000

  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Judgment was paid on January 19, 2024 after defendant’s motions for new trial and JNOV were denied.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Ikuta Hemesath LLP by Michelle B. Hemesath and Benjamin T. Ikuta, Santa Ana

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Greer & Associates A.P.C. by C. Keith Greer and Jonathan Berger, San Diego.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Steven Ross, M.D., orthopedic surgery.

    Thomas Broderick, M.D., radiology.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Murray Solomon, M.D., radiology.

    Bruce Dobbs, DPM, podiatry.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff Natalie Norwoods  had bunion surgery on her great left toe, performed by Dr. Michael Fanous, a podiatrist. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant negligently placed a screw in her first metatarsophalangeal joint, leading to complications. That the improper placement of the screw caused her pain, disability, and necessitated additional surgeries.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That the screw placement was correct initially and that any migration occurred post-operatively. The defense highlighted the testimony of Dr. Nathan Soleymani, a treating podiatrist who asserted that Norwoods did not suffer permanent or future harm and noted the absence of damage to the cartilage related to the screw placement. The defense argued that Norwoods's ongoing symptoms were a continuation of pre-existing conditions, not a result of the surgery. Also, that Norwoods’s similar problems to her opposite right foot highlighted that her issues were genetic in nature. 

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $200,000 on June 28, 2021
  • Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $125,000
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $29,999 on September 30, 2022
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $36,000