Every client who visits Neal A. Roth has a story to tell. The details differ each time, but they all arrive in need of help. Some have sustained terrible injuries. Others are grieving over the loss of a loved one. When Roth listens to their stories, he can empathize in a way that most other attorneys may not.
While still a teenager, Roth suffered an accident at the fault of someone else that left him with a significant leg disability. The lawsuit that resulted from the accident was Roth’s initial exposure to the justice system.
“The medical care that I received back in the late 1960s was really quite good, and I developed a lot of respect for the medical profession, but also recognized that doctors and hospitals are not always as careful as they should be,” Roth says. “Having been on the receiving end of good care, I felt that everybody was entitled to the same. That’s how I found myself doing medical malpractice litigation.”
For more than 30 years, Roth has achieved multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements for clients in medical malpractice and personal injury cases. He began his legal career working on the defense side for a year and a half, a unique experience that helps him anticipate the arguments and strategies of his opponents.
“I knew philosophically that my natural tendency was to be with the underdog,” Roth says. “While I did enjoy the time that I worked as a defense lawyer, and it was a great training ground, I much preferred to help the people who had been harmed and who were in need.”
Roth co-founded Grossman Roth, PA with Stuart Z. Grossman in 1988. Today the firm has exceeded all of Roth’s expectations.
“To paraphrase the famous line from the movie Field of Dreams, I said, ‘If we build it, they will come,’ and they have for 22 years,” Roth says.
Not long after the firm was founded came one of the most emotionallycharged, complicated, challenging cases of Roth’s career. A little girl ultimately died because of a misdiagnosis that occurred when she was just three months old. As an infant, the girl experienced failure to thrive. While the cause of the syndrome should have been diagnosed at the time, it was missed because the hospital had cardiologists who specialize in reading the EKGs of adults, examining the EKGs of babies.
Six years later, the girl was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. The physicians found that the girl had a congenital defect in her heart that would have been easily treated had it been found earlier. If the defect had been detected, the child could have received a relatively simple procedure. Instead she suffered irreversible damage to her lungs. Despite the doctors’ best efforts, the little girl died at 10 years old.
“Had a pediatric cardiologist looked at that EKG, he or she would have found the abnormality,” Roth says. “I especially related to the little girl because she and my oldest daughter were actually born two months apart.”
The case was settled on the very first day of trial. The settlement mandated that the hospital institute a policy that EKGs on all children 12 years of age and younger had to be read by a pediatric cardiologist.
“The case was very rewarding, particularly knowing that the civil justice system not only resulted in compensation, but resulted in significant policy change that has likely saved lives,” Roth says.
Another case involved a woman who was taken to a hospital due to a severe asthmatic attack. She had to be intubated and placed in a medical intensive care unit. Thirty-six hours later the woman was extubated. At some point, an event took place in the ICU that left the woman profoundly brain damaged.
“When we got retained and requested the records, we discovered that all of the relevant records relating to that incident were missing,” Roth says.
Roth and his colleagues had to demonstrate that in the absence of the records, nothing could be confirmed. This gave the judge an opportunity to tell the jury that there was a presumption that negligence took place or that the records were intentionally destroyed. Both would allow the case to go to trial on damages. The judge ultimately ruled that the records were intentionally destroyed. After the ruling took place, the case was settled.
The woman had a large extended family, and had previously agreed to be the legal guardian of four children. After her injury, one of her sons stepped up to take her place to care for the children.
“Knowing that we were able to resolve the case and knowing that this family would be taken care of was very rewarding,” Roth says. “Cases like this one, with a lot of need, probably motivate me most.”
Roth earned his JD from Emory University in 1973 and an LLM from New York University of School of Law.
Roth was recognized numerous times for his leadership in the Florida Justice Association. In 2003, the FJA selected Roth for the Perry Nichols Award, the organization’s most significant and prestigious award.
Roth attributes his successful legal career to “hard work, dedication and absolute 110% preparation.”
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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.