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$20 Million Med-Mal Settlement for Lawyer’s Stroke Detailed in Chicago Tribune, Law Bulletin

In late November 2016, WM attorney Kevin G. Burke successfully secured a $20 million settlement for their clients three weeks into a medical malpractice trial. Christopher Zinski, a former corporate lawyer with Schiff Hardin LLP, and his wife Patricia filed the lawsuit in 2013. Schiff Hardin litigation partner Jay Williams also represented the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit claimed that, in September 2012, emergency room physicians at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois, failed to diagnose and treat a “warning leak” in Zinski’s brain that led to a severe stroke two days later while he was at work. He complained of a headache, a painful and stiff neck, disorientation and vomiting. He was then treated for dehydration, given pain medication, and discharged, Burke said.

Zinski’s lawyers claimed a CT scan and a consultation with a neurologist should have been ordered. A procedure during the intervening time before the stroke could have prevented the damage to his brain, they said.

The stroke led to irreparable damage to Zinski’s short-term memory which prevents him from retaining new information for more than a half-hour or so. It also renders the practice of law and forming new friendships impossible.

The case was originally filed when the hospital was part of Cadence Health, which has since merged with Northwestern Memorial HealthCare.

In the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin article, Williams mentioned how unusual it is for a large, corporate defense firm like Schiff Hardin to help bring about a medical malpractice case:

“So we tried to find the best med-mal lawyer we could in the city,” Williams said, “and we determined that was Kevin Burke.”

The settlement will allow Zinski’s family to seek whatever therapy might improve his life, Burke said, even if it cannot undo his immeasurable loss. The Zinskis have four children.

To read the articles on the settlement in the case known as Christopher Zinski et al. v. Robin Mraz M.D. et al., please view the Nov. 21, 2016 Chicago Tribune story and the Nov. 22 Chicago Daily Law Bulletin account.

To learn more about the credential of WM’s Kevin G. Burke, please read his biographical profile.