On December 31, 2013, Carola Rozon, then 65 years old, underwent cataract removal and lens replacement surgery on her right eye. The surgery, using a technique called Phacoemulsification, was unsuccessful and led to vision loss in the eye.

Ms. Rozon, sued her eye surgeon claiming that he was negligent and caused her injuries when he removed an intraocular lens from her eye through an incision he’d made that was too small for the lens. The Manhattan jury agreed and found the surgeon liable and they awarded pain and suffering damages in the sum of  $1,150,000 ($650,000 past –  six years, $500,000 future -20  years).

Defendant argued that he was not negligent and the verdict should be set aside, among other reasons, because plaintiff’s expert’s testimony as to malpractice was merely speculative. In  Rozon v. Schottenstein  (1st Dept. 2022), the appellate court affirmed the trial judge’s order denying the defendant’s post-trial motion to set aside the verdict.

Here are the injury details:

  • large retinal tear, leading to giant retinal detachment

  • five additional eye surgeries by a vitreal retinal surgeon in an effort to save vision in the eye
  • three additional surgeries required in the future to remove silicone oil from prior surgeries
  • total loss of vision in eye (except for the perception of light)

Inside Information:

  • In her summation, plaintiff’s attorney asked the jury to award pain and suffering damages in the sum of $1,750,000.
  • The judge advised the jury that according to government life expectancy tables plaintiff’s life expectancy was 14 years. The jury, though, free to disregard the tables, determined that plaintiff’s future pain and suffering period was 20 years.