Shellie’s Medical Malpractice Nightmare

and her

Fight for Freedom of Speech


Attorney Jay Paul Deratany, from Chicago, Illinois represented me in my breast implant medical malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Robert S. Kagan. Dr. Kagan was represented by attorney Michael Tarpey from Chicago, Illinois.

At the time I hired Jay Paul Deratany, he had a small law firm with two young attorneys working for him. Michael Tarpey was an experienced lawyer who had worked for Baker & McKenzie. They have the reputation as being one of the world's preeminent law firms with over 200 attorneys in just the Chicago office. Mr. Tarpey then founded his own law firm. The web site for Michael Tarpey's firm stated that Mr. Tarpey "specializes in defending medical negligence cases."

I find attorneys that defend doctors accused of medical malpractice ruthless and very good at twisting facts to make the plaintiff look like a liar. In my opinion these attorneys are people without a conscious. These attorneys rarely, if ever, represent an injured person harmed by a doctor. They describe cases on their websites that they have won on behalf of a defendant doctor as if it is a badge of honor.   In some of these cases people die at the hands of a doctor.  Many of these cases involve the permanent harm or death of a child where it appears from the information reported that the doctor should be found at fault and held responsible.  Learning about these cases can be very upsetting to a normal person.

When it came to my lawsuit against  Robert S. Kagan M.D., he had no limit on funds to prepare and try this case. It was all being paid for by his medical malpractice insurance company. Dr. Kagan was being represented by a big premier medical malpractice defense law firm. There were many attorneys, paralegals and assistants working on Dr. Robert S.  Kagan's defense. I, on the other hand, was being represented by a very small unknown law firm. I know that they worked hard on my case but to me it felt like I was in a Samson and Goliath situation. In addition to that I was working from my very limited budget. I was told at the time that I hired Mr. Derantany that I would be required to pay the costs of my case that his firm would be incurring as we go along. I had asked Mr. Deratany to send me a monthly invoice for these costs as I didn't want to suddenly receive a high dollar invoice and have difficulty in paying it promptly.  I asked many times for this courtesy, but was never billed monthly.  As I feared, months would go by and then I would get a very high dollar invoice.  This irregular invoicing made it difficult for me to budget my finances for this case and was a source of unpleasant communications between Mr. Deratany and me.  By the time I would see an invoice some of the charges were older and then I couldn't seem to get explanations for them. See number 4 of deratany email after trial.  By the time my trial was over I had spent well over $40,000.00.

When attorneys say that you do not pay any attorney's fees unless they win your case, they are talking about the percentage of your judgement that they would get should there be a judgment or settlement in your favor.  This does not mean the expenses incurred in preparing and taking your case to trial. You will be paying those costs, win or lose, and the costs are astronomical!

During the years that I waited for my case to go to trial, I was in frequent disagreements with my attorney about the way he was preparing my case for trial. Among other issues, I was very unhappy with the fact that he had sent a very young inexperienced associate from his firm to take the depositions of several of my treating doctors. I felt those depositions were too important to be done by a young associate and should have been done by Jay Paul Deratany himself.

The basis of my case was that I did not consent to the Benelli procedure. The consent form did not say that I was having the Benelli procedure done. The consent form stated that my implants were to be exchanged: nowhere was there a mention of the Benelli procedure being performed. I felt that we needed to present an expert to explain to the jury what constitutes legal consent. I felt that we should have obtained the testimony of the Administrator of the hospital where Dr. Kagan operated on me, Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, regarding the hospital's consent policy. Certainly the Administrator would not agree with Dr. Kagan having done such a procedure on me without first getting the proper consent. Certainly the Administrator would dispute Dr. Kagan's claim that it was the hospital rule to "hurry up and wheel them into surgery" rather than take the time to get legal and proper consent.

The day before the trial was to start while my husband and I were again expressing to Mr. Deratany how unhappy we were that he did not explore getting the expert on consent that we wanted him to get, Mr. Deratany said that maybe we could dismiss the case, start over and get another expert rather than just using my physician, Dr. Coleman, as our sole expert on consent. When he explained all the legal repercussions should we decide to do that, I saw that I really had no choice but to go forward with the medical malpractice trial.  See number 5 of deratany email.