On October 12, 2018, Ralph Vincent Morales obtained a defense verdict on behalf of his client, an internal medicine doctor, after a three week jury trial in the Supreme Court of Queens County. The case involved allegations that the doctor’s admitted departure of prescribing an incorrect dosage of the benzodiazepine, Clonazepam, caused the 30 year old female plaintiff to become addicted to the medication. The plaintiff allegedly suffered through more than four years of Clonazepam withdrawal syndrome as she was weaned off of the benzodiazepine medication. The plaintiff claimed to have suffered significant psychological injuries during her protracted withdrawals, including self-injurious behavior, suicide attempts, and destructive, violent behavior towards her family and friends. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to return an award of $2.1 million, arguing that the defendant doctor’s admitted departure was tantamount to a negligent overdose of Clonazepam that caused the addiction and subsequent withdrawal syndrome. Mr. Morales utilized the plaintiff’s prior treatment records – and impeachment of the plaintiff’s trial witnesses with their respective prior deposition testimony – to put forth the causation defense that the plaintiff’s pre-existing borderline personality disorder was the actual cause of her alleged psychological injuries, as opposed to Clonazepam withdrawal syndrome.
The jury deliberated for approximately one hour before returning a defense verdict in favor of Mr. Morales’ client.