Before attorney Kerry D. Staton joined the law firm of Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A., he came to the firm as a client needing help. His mother was a victim of medical negligence that led to a horrific injury. She was rendered brain injured, and spent her remaining days in a nursing home before passing away at age 56. His lawyer was Jon Schochor.
“I came to Jon and explained the circumstances. His senior partner offered me a job by the virtue of my ability to explain the facts,” Staton says. “While representing me, Jon astutely kept me out of the case, with good reason, despite my desire to be involved.”
Staton says that the firm’s approach to the case, and superior intellect and understanding of the medicine involved made an impact on him.
“There was also a degree of sensitivity which you don’t often hear about when it comes to lawyers,” Staton says. “Jon taught me an invaluable lesson about how I wanted to be with my clients.”
Since 1984, Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A. has achieved more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements for its clients in medical malpractice cases.
Schochor says that the firm can level the playing field for patients against insurance interests and the healthcare giants.
“We provide people with keys to the courthouse that they would otherwise never have,” Schochor says. “Imagine this group of clients who put their trust in healthcare providers only to have a horrible outcome. Who do they turn to? They turn to us, with all of that trust.”
The firm invests hundreds of thousands of dollars into each case it pursues. It has full-time medical investigators who work with the attorneys every day. Together they review and investigate the files. The cases are also assigned to trial teams.
“We then obtain all of the medical records, and I don’t just mean looking at the X-ray reports; we get the X-ray films. We don’t just get the CAT scan reports; we get CAT scans,” Schochor says. “We have created relationships with about 500 medical experts throughout the United States whom we consult with, as well as professors of medicine.”
The firm keeps in contact with its clients long after the cases are over.
It represented a child who was injured while only a few months old due to medical negligence. The injury rendered him a paraplegic due to medical negligence. After the case was settled, the boy’s quality of life increased exponentially. Despite not having any legs, he learned how to swim. He entered a water sports competition at the age of 7 and won several national awards.
“When he won the awards, we were the first to know,” Schochor says. “He is an extraordinary child with extraordinary parents. The award we achieved for him allowed him to not only receive the care
he needed, but allowed his parents to get him special coaching that has led to these national titles.”
Another case involved a Maryland surgeon in the 1980s who operated on patients without letting them know that he was HIV positive. He died because of the virus, and the information came out after his death. A group of his former patients came forward and asked the firm to represent them against the hospital.
“The question became, does a surgeon have obligation to the advise a patient that he or she is HIV positive before prior to doing invasive surgery so that the patient could make a decision to have the surgery performed by a surgeon was not HIV positive,” Schochor explains. “None of the patients knew if they were HIV-positive or not.”
Initially the case was thrown out of court because there was no action in the state of Maryland for a fear of getting a disease that a person didn’t know he or she had. The firm took the case to the Maryland Court of Appeals, and won.
“We established a cause of action in Maryland, which other states have now followed, imposing a duty on a surgeon and/or physician to inform patients if they are HIV positive prior to going into invasive procedures,” Schochor says.
Their work also enacted a law that gave patients a right of recovery for having a fear of a disease that the patient may not have actually contracted, Staton adds.
“The ruling makes sense because if you can imagine back then the fear of HIV and AIDS was incredible. Families were shattered by the prospect that a member might be HIV positive, and did not want to transmit that disease,” Staton says. “You had husbands not sleeping with wives, mothers not holding their children and so on. The Court of Appeals got it right and we’re happy they saw things our way. “
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit www.ashleycisneros.com. You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.