As the senior partners at Kramer, Dillof, Livingston & Moore (KDLM), Thomas Moore and Judith Livingston have formed one of the most successful partnerships in the country for victims of medical malpractice and negligence. Moore and Livingston, who are married and have three children, have won more than 117 jury verdicts in excess of $1 million and hundreds of settlements in the millions of dollars.
“The most rewarding part of this profession is getting our clients the justice they deserve in terms of monetary damages,” Livingston says. “From the inception of a case to its conclusion, we are focused on restoring hope and dignity to our clients.”
Moore recently secured a $120 million verdict for a 37-year-old woman who suffered brain damage due to the negligence of Brooklyn and Bronx hospitals. The award is among the largest ever issued for a medical malpractice verdict in the state. “This result was consistent with the degree to which our client suffered,” Moore says. “These cases are often a matter of life and death for our clients, so we consider it a privilege to be able to advocate on their behalf.”
Livingston earned a verdict of $7.6 million for the family of a man who died after New York Hospital Queens delayed an operation to remove his inflamed gallbladder. “In a case like this, we can never hope to account for the loss of a loved one,” Livingston says. “But a lawsuit can help in bringing dignity back to those whose lives have been shattered.”
In another significant case, Moore achieved a $40.9 million verdict for a 53-year-old construction worker who was left brain damaged and partially paralyzed after being struck by a commercial truck. “If we feel, as we did in this case, that the offers being made by the insurance companies on behalf of the defendants are not adequate to compensate our clients, then we will take the case to trial to ensure that our clients receive proper justice,” Moore says.
KDLM has the distinction of having secured the largest judgment upheld on appeal for a single victim of malpractice in the history of New York State – a $28.9 million result for a child who suffered brain damage because of an improperly functioning brain shunt. The decision, made by the New York State Court of Appeals, has since led to changes in the state’s structured judgment statute.
“Through this case we have afforded even greater protections to plaintiffs in medical malpractice actions,” notes Moore, who tried the case. “Ultimately, our goal is to make medical care better, and malpractice suits have helped to accomplish that.”
Indeed, Moore and Livingston’s cases have transformed the medical landscape. For example, a famous Moore trial resulted in the Libby Law Legislation, which regulates the practices of medical residents to prevent negligence caused by the fatigue.
“During the Libby Zion trial, I was able to highlight the growing problem in our nation’s hospitals of overworked and under-supervised medical residents,” Moore says. “And the medical reforms that the case ushered in have really helped to address that issue.”
Moore and Livingston’s victories have also helped to improve the lives of people with disabilities: After reaching a favorable settlement for a man whose son suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen at birth, their client created a device to facilitate communication for physically challenged individuals. The device is now used in schools and special education programs throughout the country.
In another case, Moore represented a woman who suffered severe brain damage and lapsed into an irreversible coma following an anesthesia mishap during childbirth. Not only was he able to win her full compensation, but he changed state law by establishing that injured victims with any degree of awareness can qualify for full compensation for their loss of enjoyment of life.
Other enduring changes that KDLM has engendered include more reliable cancer diagnostics, improved monitoring of pre-natal and post-natal procedures, and drastic reductions in anesthesia-related incidents. “Many of the people we represent are close to despair,” Livingston explains. “To give them renewed hope and the resources they so desperately need makes our heavy burden of responsibility ultimately gratifying.”