Jury awards 1.4 Million for Chiropractic Malpractice

Thomas Tornatore v. Jean Cohen, DC

Date of Verdict/Settlement: November 23, 2015

Result: Verdict-Plaintiff

Award Total: $1,403,407


Plaintiff: Charles L. Falgiatano, DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers Syracuse, NY

Defendant: James M. Skelly, Marks, O'Neill, O'Brien, Doherty & Kelly, P.C.

New York, NY


Tornatore suffered an aggravation of pre-existing condition; decompression surgery;

Decreased range of motion; epidural injections; fusion; cervical; herniated disc at C5-6;

Nerve impingement; physical therapy; scar and/or disfigurement.


Plaintiff Thomas Tornatore sued Jean Cohen, DC after she administered a course of treatment that included diversified manipulation of Mr. Tornatore's neck. Mr. Tornatore's course of treatment with Dr. Cohen lasted from April 25, 2011 to May 4, 2011. Mr. Tornatore claimed that he suffered an aggravation of a previously asymptomatic degenerative condition that included stenosis. He also claimed that the aggravation caused a herniation of his C5-6 intervertebral disc. The displaced disc caused impingement of a nerve.

An orthopedic expert testified for Mr. Tornatore that Dr. Cohen's treatment aggravated a previously asymptomatic degenerative condition of the cervical region of Tornatore's spine. A chiropractic expert testified for Mr. Tornatore that Dr. Cohen's manipulations were not an appropriate means of treating a patient who suffered the pre-existing conditions that Mr. Tornatore suffered. He further testified that the pre-existing conditions could have been identified via performance of X-rays, MRI scans and/or other tests, but Dr. Cohen did not perform such tests.

Defense counsel's neuroradiologist expert compared the results of MRI scans that were performed before and after Dr. Cohen's treatment, and he testified that the images did not depict a significant change of the condition of Mr. Tornatore's spine.

Mr. Tornatore claimed he suffers permanent, residual pain; residual diminution of his neck's range of motion; that his residual effects hinder his performance of his job's duties; and that his residual effects hinder performance of other activities, such as operating a vehicle. He claims he requires massages, physical therapy, and the administration of epidural injections of steroid-based painkillers.

Mr. Tornatore sought recovery of future medical expenses, damages for past pain and suffering, and damages for future pain and suffering.

The jury found that Dr. Cohen departed from an accepted standard of medical card, and it determined that the departure caused Mr. Tornatore's injury.