Frederick J. Stellato is a trial attorney who has handled many types of civil and commercial litigation matters. Fred has tried at approximately 75 cases to verdict, both jury and non-jury, in the areas of products liability, general liability, and professional liability, as well as commercial disputes. Fred practiced in Philadelphia for 19 years before returning home to Lehigh Valley in order to join the firm.
Fred has made presentations on trial-related topics to numerous institutions, including Temple University Law School, Temple University Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, Roxborough Hospital School of Nursing, and CIGNA Property and Casualty Company. He has also done programs for the judges of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association, and the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel.
Fred founded the F.C. Sonic Lehigh Valley, a minor league soccer team in the National Premier Soccer League, and served as its President and CEO from 2007 to 2011. He is Secretary, past Chairman of the Performing Arts Board and is a member of the Board of Trustees and the Long Range Planning Committees for Artsquest, Inc. Fred is a Member of the Restore Committee of Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley and of the Board of Directors of The Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley.
Frederick Stellato, Esquire, has handled numerous professional negligence trials throughout his 34-year career. He has extended his practice now to include products liability, construction, and commercial litigation, going to jury or non-jury verdict on more than 60 cases. The following is a summary of a few of his recent cases.
Fred represented a board certified anesthesiologist. A codefendant surgeon made the decision to operate on a child born at 37 weeks for omphalacele shortly after birth. Complications ensued during surgery and the child’s condition worsened, ultimately resulting in death. Plaintiff demanded $10 million dollars against all defendants. Fred was able to convince the trial judge to reverse bifurcate the trial so that the jury would hear evidence only on damages first, before any liability issues were tried. It was reported that this was the first time that a medical malpractice trial had proceeded by reverse bifurcation in Pennsylvania. The jury awarded damages to the infant’s parents in an amount of $1.6 million dollars, and the case was quickly settled by the defendants.
Fred represented a local community hospital in a case involving a 55-year-old man who presented to the ER complaining of abdominal pain. A laparoscopic removal of the patient’s gall bladder was performed by the codefendant surgeon. Postoperatively, the patient developed complications, and testing showed a bile leak. The patient improved somewhat and was discharged, only to be readmitted three days later with jaundice and shortness of breath. He was transferred, ultimately to another hospital, and plaintiff alleged that he remained hospitalized for 43 days due to sepsis from the bile leak. Medical negligence was alleged in failing to properly monitor, investigate and treat the patient’s bile leak. Plaintiff’s demand was $3 million dollars and at the trial of this matter, Fred was able to obtain a defense verdict for the hospital.
Fred represented a board certified cardiologist who, as a consultant in the ER, saw the patient/plaintiff for atrial fibrillation and prescribed Lovenox. The patient began to exhibit neurologic symptoms, and eventually underwent surgery for evacuation of a spinal cord bleed. The allegation was that the cardiologist should have considered the bleed in the ER and should not have agreed to prescribe anticoagulants prophylactically to avoid the formation of blood clots in the patient’s heart due to new onset atrial fibrillation. Plaintiff’s demand was $2.5 million dollars, and Fred was able to secure the dismissal of our client without settlement.
Fred represented a board certified general surgeon in a lawsuit where the plaintiff was a patient of a codefendant gynecologist who recommended the patient undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy, right salpingo-oophorectomy and appendectomy. The gynecologist requested our client’s assistance to perform an appendectomy through the same surgical incision that would be created for the gynecologic procedure. Plaintiff contended that all aspects of the surgery were unnecessary, and that the surgery caused a perforation of plaintiff’s bladder. Plaintiff’s demand was $1,000,000.00. Fred contended that our client performed the appendectomy flawlessly and caused no damage to the patient and our client was exonerated at trial.
Again, Fred represented a local hospital in a matter involving surgery performed by a codefendant gynecologist. The hospital’s nurses were accused of failing to deliver preoperative antibiotics to the patient, and the surgeon was accused of improperly performing the surgery, resulting in an infection for the patient. The infection resulted in permanent injuries, including severe pain and suffering. Plaintiff’s settlement demand was initially $3 million dollars, and the case was settled by all defendants for a total of $550,000.00 just prior to trial.
Fred is currently representing a hospital in a case involving an obstetrician, anesthesiologist, and pediatrician as codefendants. This claim involves the labor and delivery of an expectant mother and questionable choices made by the attending obstetrician during the course of the delivery. The case also involves allegations of delay in performing a Cesarean section, and delay in properly resuscitating the infant, who died several days later. Damages in the range of $3-$5 million dollars are being claimed. Fred is preparing to defend the hospital client at a trial scheduled for March 2017.