Med malpractice claimed after skin tear during surgery. $165K. Los Angeles County.


Physician assistant said to cause injury in positioning elderly plaintiff for orthopedic surgery.

The Case

  • Case Name: Gloria Mikeler v. Los Angeles Orthopedic Institute
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / 20STCV34600
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, June 09, 2021
  • Type of Case: Medical Malpractice
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Frederick Shaller
  • Plaintiffs:
    Gloria Mikeler
  • Defendants:
    Los Angeles Orthopedic Institute
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $165,884.48
  • Economic Damages:

    Past medical expenses: $20,884.48

    Past caregiving: $20,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $85,000

    Future: $40,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: The trial lasted 8 days, though 3 1/2 days were spent during jury selection, which was elongated as a result of COVID precautions.
  • Jury Polls: 10-2 on negligence, 11-1 on causation, and 12-0 on damages.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Hodes Milman Ikuta, LLP by Benjamin T. Ikuta and Michelle B. Hemesath, Irvine.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Reback, McAndrews & Blessey LLP by Robert C. Reback and Brandon S. Sanchez, Manhattan Beach.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Manzar Kuraishi, M.D. (Treating physician.)

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Kevin Ehrhart, M.D., orthopedic surgery.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff underwent surgery on September 14, 2019 for a broken right hip at 93 years old. Prior to the surgery, during positioning on the orthopedic table, plaintiff suffered a large skin tear on her left lower leg.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff contended that a Physician Assistant employed by Los Angeles Orthopedic Institute negligently and carelessly handled plaintiff’s leg while placing plaintiff’s leg in the surgical boot in preparation for surgery, causing the skin tear.  

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant contended that the Physician Assistant acted reasonably as such a skin tear can occur even without negligence. Defendant noted that three months prior to the surgery, plaintiff suffered a traumatic fall that also resulted in a skin tear. Pictures during both hospitalization showed that plaintiff had extraordinarily thin and frail skin.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff required at-home wound care for several months as well as additional caregiving from her caregiver a few more hours a week. The tear/wound did not require skin grafting or surgery. 

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $125,000 about 6 months before trial.

Additional Notes

Defendant never made any offer in the case. Defendant was insured by The Doctor’s Company.

The jury was socially distanced in the gallery and everyone in the courtroom was required to wear masks.