McKeen recognized in "Top Legal News of 2019" for medical fraud case

It's time for Michigan Lawyers Weekly's annual tradition of presenting the most memorable stories of the year.

After going issue-by-issue reviewing news from Michigan's legal world in 2019, we narrowed the list to 10 topics in chronological order by publication date. It was a tough decision as there were many worthy happenings, but these stood out.

Thank you for your support this year and best wishes for 2020.

$3M awarded to victim of epilepsy misdiagnosis
A Wayne County Circuit Court jury awarded $3,024,000 to plaintiff Mariah Martinez, who was misdiagnosed as having epilepsy when she was 9 years old by Dr. Yasser Awaad, formerly of Oakwood Healthcare and Beaumont Hospital.

The case was tried before Judge Robert J. Colombo Jr., and the jury found Awaad to be negligent in misdiagnosing and treating Martinez for epilepsy. Martinez took epilepsy medication for four years despite never having the condition.

Plaintiff's attorney Brian J. McKeen of McKeen & Associates PC in Detroit said there were a series of 15 red flags with Awaad starting in 2001. This was case filed in 2008. "Beaumont executives admitted under cross examination that had they done an investigation and realized then what we know now, that they would've fired him," McKeen said. "They could've done this before our client could've ever stepped foot in his office."

Complaints began in 2001 when a parent of a child who used to be treated by Awaad filed a complaint when her child's new doctor said the child didn't have epilepsy. McKeen said there are 251 children who are seeking damages against Awaad. Mark Geary, director of media relations for Beaumont, provided a statement from the defense's perspective.

"While we respect the jury's verdict, we disagree with the outcome and will appeal this decision. The litigation involving Dr. Yasser Awaad, and Oakwood Healthcare, dates back more than a decade to 2007. While we cannot comment about the specifics of this case because of other pending legal proceedings and patient privacy laws, we believe patients were treated appropriately and disagree with allegations of improper oversight of Dr. Awaad by Oakwood Healthcare," Geary wrote.

In another case involving Awaad, a Wayne County jury awarded $2.29 million on behalf of Claire Linzell. McKeen tried the case along with Anthony A. Randazzo and Nancy V. Savageau of Secrest Wardle in Troy. Linzell, now 18, was treated for epilepsy for years as a child. She never had the condition and was later found to be autistic, according to a news release from McKeen.

Please see here for full news article.

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