$975,000 Settlement for Erb’s Palsy / Shoulder Dystocia

Blume Forte partner Carol L. Forte represented a little girl who sustained a brachial plexus injury at birth. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves located in the neck and shoulder which control shoulder, arm, wrist , hand and finger function. During birth, the baby’s shoulder became trapped behind the mother’s pubic bone after the head was delivered (shoulder dystocia). The obstetrician delivering the baby negligently exerted excessive downward traction on the baby’s head in an effort to free the trapped shoulder and effect the delivery, causing severe injury to the child’s brachial plexus nerves which required several surgeries. The defendant obstetrician claimed that there was only a minimal shoulder dystocia, which did not require any unusual amount of force to deliver the baby. The child remains with significant limitations in the use of one of her arms (Erb’s Palsy). Ms. Forte settled this case for $975,000 out of a $1,000,000 insurance policy limit.