Lawyers at DBMS successfully litigate a wide variety of civil cases and argue appeals in some of the most challenging jurisdictions in the country.

DBMS Obtains a Defense Verdict in Lake County

September 2, 2022



Defense Verdict


Rob Smyth and Joe Rourke of DBMS successfully defended a north suburban plastic surgeon in a week-long trial that proceeded before the Honorable Judge Joseph Salvi in Lake County, Illinois.  The Plaintiff, a 60-year-old female who was diagnosed with right breast cancer, opted to undergo a bilateral mastectomy procedure to treat her cancer diagnosis.  During surgery, a biopsy of adjacent lymph node was planned.  If positive for cancer metastasis, radiation on the breast would be required.  Radiation carries a high risk of local changes to the breast which in turn causes a significantly higher rate of reconstruction failure.   After deciding on the treatment for her breast cancer, the Plaintiff consulted with DBMS’ client, a board-certified plastic surgeon, to obtain information about breast reconstruction after the mastectomy procedure.  During the consultation, the plastic surgeon advised the Plaintiff that he could reconstruct her breasts using a two-staged surgical approach consisting of the placement of tissue expanders immediately after the mastectomy procedure, and then the eventual placement of a permanent silicone implant once the breast tissue was adequately expanded over the course of time.  The issue alleged by the plaintiff in the lawsuit was the allegation that the defendant surgeon did not warn her of the significantly higher rate of implant failure in the event radiation was required due to spread of cancer.


The Plaintiff underwent the double mastectomy with immediate breast reconstruction 11 days after consulting with the defendant plastic surgeon.  The plastic surgeon placed the tissue expanders for the first stage of the breast reconstruction after the breast surgeon completed the mastectomy portion of the procedure.  During surgery that day, the lymph node biopsy was performed and returned positive for cancer.  Thereafter, the Plaintiff required radiation therapy which caused complications with the breast reconstruction, leading to eleven total surgeries.  The Plaintiff claimed that she was markedly disfigured, suffered loss of a normal life and endured pain and suffering.  DBMS’ attorneys presented evidence that the informed consent discussion between the Plaintiff and plastic surgeon was detailed and included all of the information required to adequately inform the Plaintiff of the risks of proceeding with immediate breast reconstruction and the complications that could occur with radiation therapy.  During closing argument, the attorney for the Plaintiff requested $1.3 million in damages.  After deliberation, the Lake County jury returned a unanimous verdict for the defense.