Overview
Experience
Perspectives

In any medical malpractice action, the most pressing question for the client is often how the case is going to affect the professional’s career and reputation. The uncomfortable truth is that any negligence claim against a healthcare provider can have lasting consequences. Clients need an advocate who fully understands not only the law and science required to successfully defend a malpractice claim, but also the implications for the professional’s continued work in the community. Experience matters where the claim is not only potentially detrimental to the financial interests of the client, but also personal to the provider’s confidence and well-being.

Brian Burge devotes his practice to exclusively defending the interests of healthcare providers accused of malpractice.  He has appeared in courts throughout both Kansas and Missouri, as well as the respective Boards of Healing Arts in each jurisdiction. Over the course of litigating hundreds of matters during his career, that experience is brought to bear on behalf of every client so that the provider can feel a sense of calm even in times of great professional turmoil.  A collaborative approach is always followed with the client where ideas are freely exchanged so that the best possible defense strategy can be developed and implemented.  Because of the unique nature of medical malpractice claims, proper case preparation is essential.  Brian continually strives to have a current understanding of the applicable standard of care and relevant medicine in every case. The goal is to keep the client informed, prepared and comfortable at each stage of the proceedings.

Representative Matters

Heydon v. Greenwood, M.D.
Venue: Jackson County, Missouri Brian Burge and Kaitlin Marsh-Blake successfully defended this action where family of decedent filed wrongful death claim against local ER physician alleging failure to diagnose mesenteric ischemia in elderly patient. The defense argued that the ER physician performed an appropriate and reasonable workup of the patient, had her admitted to the hospital and otherwise fully complied with the standard of care. Decedent’s family sought $1.5 million in damages at trial. After a week-long trial, the jury found in favor of the physician and awarded zero damages to the family.
Shaffer v. Roberts, D.O.
Venue: Buchanan County, Missouri Brian Burge successfully defended this action where family of decedent filed wrongful death claim against local ER physician alleging failure to diagnose gastrointestinal bleeding in patient taking blood thinners. Patient had a history of significant heart trouble including a mitral valve replacement, which required lifelong use of blood thinning medication. Patient presented with non-specific symptoms of chest pain but no other obvious signs or symptoms of acute GI bleed. Cardiac workup was normal and patient was discharged after period of observation. About 28 hours later, patient suffered frank GI bleeding and passed away. Decedent’s family sought $1.1 million in damages. After an eight-day trial, the jury found in favor of the ER physician and awarded zero damages to the family.
Hawkins v. Mann, D.O.
Venue: Buchanan County, Missouri Brian Burge obtained a successful defense verdict for a radiologist, where patient filed suit against local radiologist alleging failure to diagnose a cervical fracture following a slip and fall event. Approximately two weeks after the fall, the patient began suffering mental status changes and severe pain. The neck fracture was subsequently diagnosed and the patient underwent cervical fusion. Because of his elderly condition, the patient required extensive hospitalization and rehabilitative care. Patient claimed that an earlier diagnosis of the fracture would have mitigated or prevented much of his subsequent course of treatment. Plaintiff sought damages at trial in excess of $350,000. After a week-long trial, the jury found in favor of the radiologist and awarded the patient zero damages.
Employers Mutual Casualty Co. v. Luke Draily Construction Co.
Venue: United States District Court, Western District of Missouri Curt Roggow and Brian Burge successfully represented EMC in a declaratory judgment action regarding whether a CGL policy it issued provided coverage for claims against a contractor for defective workmanship in construction of a building. The United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri granted summary judgment in favor of EMC. The court found, as a matter of law, that claims for breach of contract, breach of warranty, and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing for defective workmanship did not constitute an “occurrence” for the purpose of coverage under a liability policy. The court also found a separate theory of negligence was in fact a claim for breach of contractual duties and was, therefore, another contractual claim by a different name. Therefore, the negligence theory did not involve an “occurrence” to which coverage could apply either. Opinion available at 2001 WL 2582551.
Kouba v Rosher M.D., Dobrowolski CRNA et al
Venue: Jackson County, Missouri Following a two-week jury trial, Brian Burge and Destiny Bounds successfully defended local anesthesiologist and CRNA against a $3.4 million dollar medical malpractice suit stemming from an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of plaintiff’s left distal radius fracture. Plaintiff underwent an ORIF procedure after slipping on ice at her home eight (8) days prior. During her fall, plaintiff severely fractured her left wrist with testimony at trial that it was a 40-degree comminuted fracture. Plaintiff alleged that despite her fall, she sustained a permanent ulnar nerve injury to her left elbow during the procedure due to defendants’ lack of due care. At trial, plaintiff’s sole theory of liability was under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur and she abandoned any previous allegations of specific negligence against defendants. Plaintiff alleged that during the course of the surgery, plaintiff suffered an ulnar nerve injury to her elbow, away from the surgical site at her left wrist, which would not have occurred but for defendants negligence. She alleged that her permanent ulnar nerve injury prevented plaintiff from ever returning to work as a chiropractor. Defense counsel successfully argued that several other and much more likely causes including plaintiff’s slip-and-fall eight days prior to her ORIF procedure, was ultimately the cause of plaintiff’s ulnar neuropathy. At trial, plaintiff sought more than $3.4 million in economic loss alone and requested the jury award pain and suffering in the amount it felt appropriate. After less than two-hours, the jury found in favor of defendants (11-1) and awarded zero damages to plaintiff.

Professional Affiliations

  • Kansas Bar Association
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Johnson County Bar Association

Publications

  • Traumatic Brain Injury Cases: Doctor and Attorney Perspectives, National Business Institute CLE Presenter: Defense Tactics Unique to Brain Injury Cases. (2016)
  • Using Treatises, Codes & Standards During Expert Depositions, Kansas CLE Presentation. (2015)
  • Current Topics in Medical Malpractice Litigation, Industry Presentation – Norcal Mutual Insurance Company. (2015)
  • Taking Medical Depositions, In-house CLE Presentation. (2014)