Jim is a trial attorney focusing his practice on the defense of professional liability claims for healthcare providers and institutions, attorneys, and other licensed professionals. Related to his representation of professionals, Jim has extensive experience as to credentialing and licensure issues for state regulated professionals. A significant component of Jim's trial practice also includes commercial litigation primarily related to contractual disputes for healthcare and non-healthcare entities.

Following graduation from law school in 1978, Jim began his practice with a small trial practice firm and joined RCO Law in 1984. Jim is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Commercial Litigation

  • Jim regularly represents healthcare providers and hospitals involving breach of contracts and enforcement of non-compete agreements.
  • Jim represents clients regarding contractual disputes ranging from supply contracts, purchase and service agreements.
  • Jim represents owners, contractors and architects primarily involving alleged defective construction and warranty claims.

Health Care

  • Jim has represented healthcare professionals and institutions involving credentialing and suspension or termination of privileges.
  • Jim regularly represents healthcare professionals before state regulatory boards.

Medical Malpractice

  • Jim successfully represents physicians and hospitals in Michigan and Ohio involving many specialties including cardiology, obstetrics/gynecology, surgery, and primary care.

Legal Malpractice

  • Jim successfully represents attorneys in Ohio and Michigan involving litigation, domestic relations, estate planning, and employment law. 

Product Liability

  • Jim defends claims arising from use of medical devices or equipment as well as drug product liability.

Excellent Witnesses Can Trump Sympathy

Issue:

Plaintiff, a former salesman, claimed that our clients failed to timely diagnose a subdural hematoma, resulting in a permanent lack of bowel and bladder control as well as significant leg weakness. Plaintiff effectively explained his condition in a very sympathetic manner to the jury.  The issue for the defense was how to counter compelling testimony from a very good sincere salesman. 

Our Approach:

Understanding that Plaintiff could effectively explain his condition to the jury, our clients were prepared to be equally effective witnesses in explaining the complex medicine involved in the patient’s care and their attentive care of Plaintiff.  We had also retained expert witnesses with credentials which vastly exceeded the credentials of the expert witnesses retained by Plaintiff, demonstrated by the obvious difference in the quality of the expert witnesses’ testimony.

Result:

The jurors returned a verdict in favor of our clients and remarked following deliberations that notwithstanding Plaintiff’s sympathetic state, they were most impressed by our clients and expert witnesses.  

Avoidance of Conflict Between Co-defendants to Decrease the Likelihood of an Adverse Verdict

Issue:

The defendant surgeon at his deposition and at trial potentially implicated our radiology client by testifying that the content of our client’s radiology report did not give the surgeon the information he needed to have allegedly changed the patient’s treatment plan. The patient ultimately died after many months of treatment and incurring over $1 million in medical expenses. 

Our Approach:

Plaintiff's counsel used the defendant surgeon’s testimony to create conflict among the defendants while at the same time portraying the patient as a victim of the defendants’ disagreement.  To counter Plaintiff's counsel’s strategy, the defendant surgeon attempted to put his testimony in its proper context and we worked with our client to avoid any disagreement with the surgeon.  We instead focused our client’s defense upon his correct interpretation of the radiology study and that all of the information which could be reasonably be derived from the radiology study was reported. 

Result:

By avoiding the temptation to openly disagree with the co-defendant and keeping the defense focused on the proper interpretation of the radiology study by our client, the jury returned a verdict in favor of our client notwithstanding a verdict against the co-defendant.

Unusual Complication of Surgery

Issue:

The patient sustained a through-and-through laceration of her bladder during an otherwise routine cesarean section which gave rise to complications for over a year following surgery.

Our Approach:

To prevail at trial notwithstanding that our client and expert witnesses acknowledged that the patient sustained a very rare and significant complication of the cesarean section, we used detailed diagrams to demonstrate that our client’s operative technique would have in almost all instances kept the bladder out of the operative field, but in this rare instance, the bladder had become so distorted that a surgeon would not reasonably be expected to appreciate that the tissue appearing in the operative field was, in fact, bladder rather than a normal operative site for a cesarean section. We emphasized in closing argument that injury to an unintended organ during surgery is a known complication of any surgical procedure and urged the jury to consider the jury instruction that a physician is not negligent solely because of an unexpected outcome.

Result:

Verdict in favor of our clients.

Defense Verdict in an Admitted Negligence Case

Issue

Client admitted that an x-ray was misinterpreted causing the delay in the diagnosis of cancer.

Our Approach

Through the use of well-credentialed and highly credible oncological experts we were able to convince the jury that our client was entitled to a defense verdict notwithstanding admitted negligence. The jury concluded that the inadvertent error was not the cause of the patient’s death but instead the death was due to a very aggressive cancer.

Results

Our client did not want to settle the case arising from a misinterpretation of an x-ray when the facts demonstrated that the death was caused by an aggressive tumor rather than a delay in the diagnosis of the cancer. 

Contact Jim

Office Toledo, Ohio  Email jbrazeau@rcolaw.com
P 419-418-6916
Assistant Lisa Guerrero  Email lguerrero@rcolaw.com
P 419-418-6463
  • Get to know Jim 

    I am a lifelong resident of Northwest Ohio and active in both my community and church. My wife Michele and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in 2014 with our son, a physician in the United States Air Force, and our daughter, a professor at Wooster College.

 

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