Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

$10 Million for False Diagnosis of Cancer; A Jacksonville Attorney Represented a Connecticut Woman in a Trial against Yale

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

$10 Million for False Diagnosis of Cancer; A Jacksonville Attorney Represented a Connecticut Woman in a Trial against Yale

Article excerpt

Byline: JESSIE-LYNNE KERR

A Jacksonville lawyer helped a Connecticut woman win more than $10 million for undergoing a hysterectomy after a false cancer diagnosis, taking on prestigious Yale University in a case many lawyers declined.

Attorney Rodney Margol won the award from a doctor and the Yale School of Medicine after a seven-week trial.

"I tried to get a lawyer in Connecticut to represent me," Michelle DiLieto said Friday, "but Yale is such a dominant force in the state that lawyers shy away from suing Yale. They are the big guns, and I really couldn't get a lawyer to take my case."

DiLieto, 54, of North Branford, Conn., underwent a hysterectomy and removal of pelvic lymph nodes in 1995 after being told she had a potentially deadly form of cancer in her uterus. When the surgeons sent samples of removed tissue to the lab, they learned she didn't have cancer but continued to remove her lymph nodes, her court case said. After the surgery, she was told she was "cured" of the cancer, not that she had been misdiagnosed.

The pelvic surgery caused nerve damage, which forced her to be bedridden for months.

When she sought treatment in February 1996 from a Boston neurologist for the pain, she provided that doctor the slides of her supposedly cancerous tissues that had been removed by the Yale doctors. The Boston doctor told her she never had cancer.

DiLieto said she was depressed about her situation when a co-worker told her of a case she had seen portrayed the night before on Dateline NBC about a woman, Elizabeth England, who won a multimillion-dollar judgment because her breast was removed by doctors who misdiagnosed her as having cancer. The trial had been covered by Court TV.

Margol was the woman's attorney. He has practiced in Jacksonville since 1976.

Margol agreed to represent DiLieto and the case first went to trial in 2000. …

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