I am a partner at STARR, GERN, DAVISON & RUBIN, P.C., a firm that traces its origins to 1926. I focus on Medical Malpractice and Construction Accident litigation, but represent catastrophically injured clients in a wide spectrum of personal injury matters.
On November 1, 2012, Starr, Gern, Davison & Rubin was one of nine law firms in New Jersey recognized as a Tier 1 Best Law Firm by U.S.News and World Report in the field of Plaintiffs Medical Malpractice.
I am a client focused attorney. The people I represent are carbon copied on every correspondence and are continuously informed about what is going on in their litigation. I take and promptly return telephone calls and I am available to my clients after hours through my cell phone. My firm believes the practice of law is a service industry, and our clients are our best advertisers.
I will meticulously prepare you for every stage of the litigation process. My firm has the financial wherewithal to prosecute complex cases to conclusion. We consistently work with a network of medical and technical experts throughout the United States to assist us in representing our clients. Finally, we utilize state of the art technology in and out of the courtroom to advance your interests.
I am published in the area of medical malpractice, patient safety and complex litigation. I am on the Editorial Board of Medical Malpractice Law and Strategy. I sit on the Medical Malpractice Subcommittee of the New Jersey Bar Association. Finally, I am a lifetime member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and I have been nominated by my peers in the field of medical malpractice in the annual Super Lawyers survey since 2010.
About John Ratkowitz
Admitted: 1995, New Jersey
Professional Webpage: new-jersey-medical-malpractice-lawyer.com/
Honors and Awards:
- Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Lifetime Membership, 2010
- Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Lifetime Membership, 2010
- Essex County County Bar Association
- Medical Malpractice Subcommittee, New Jersey State Bar Association
- New Jersey State Bar Association
- Association of Trial Lawyers of America
- Seton Hall University School of Law Inns of Cour
Pro bono/Community Service:
- Member - The ABA Military Pro Bono Project.
The ABA Military Pro Bono Project accepts case referrals from military attorneys on behalf of junior-enlisted, active-duty military personnel and their families with civil legal problems, and it places these cases with pro bono attorneys where the legal assistance is needed. The Project is also the platform for Operation Stand-By, through which military attorneys may seek attorney-to-attorney advice to better assist their servicemember clients., 2011
- Board of Directors, Arts Unbound. 542/544 Freeman Street, Orange, NJ 07050. Arts Unbound is a non-profit organization dedicated to the artistic achievement of youth, adults and senior citizens with disabilities. They provide professional classes in the visual arts and exhibitions in their gallery and throughout the state of NJ., 2008
- Board of Editors, Medical Malpractice Law and Strategy. 1617 JFK Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19103. Medical Malpractice Law and Strategy is a monthly periodical which publishes scholarly articles and keeps lawyers and physicians current on judicial, legislative and medical developments that can impact the area of medical malpractice., 2008
Scholarly Lectures and Writings:
- This article was initially published in Medical Malpractice Law and Strategy Vol. 29, Number 6, March 1, 2012. It deals with the subject of a physician's duty of informed consent when caring for a mother whose baby may be subject to shoulder dystocia at the time of delivery. , Shoulder Dystocia and the Duty of Informed Consent, Medical Malpractice Law and Strategy Vol. 29, Number 6, March 1, 2012 , 2012
- This is an article that was published in Medical Malpractice Law and Strategy, July 2011, Vol. 28 No. 10. I wrote it with my associate, Robert Sanfilippo, Esq. Medical providers and insurance companies often argue that health care costs are unnecessarily increased due to the practice of defensive medicine. Despite this, here are many reasons to question the scope of the problem of defensive medicine. First, initial steps to quantify it were based solely on surveys of physicians. Second, an examination of the health care landscape revealed that there were many forces that would motivate doctors to over-order diagnostic tests and procedures. Third, although some states have now enacted tort reform, data from studies suggest that limiting a medical malpractice victim's right of redress does not significantly impact physician behavior. Finally, most consequential medical decisions are being made by doctors and patients, and bringing patients into the process has resulted in more decisions that err on the side of caution., Author, The Role of Informed Consent in Defensive Medicine, Medical Malpractice Law and Strategy, 2011
- This article was first published in Medical Malpractice Law & Strategy, January 2011, Vol. 28, No. 4. It deals with the lack of progress in the patient safety movement. I wrote it on the ten year anniversary of To Err is Human, which was a study performed by the National Institute of Health which revealed that the United States had a medical malpractice problem of epidemic proportions. Unfortunately, literature indicates that despite the alarming conclusions of Too Err is Human, the health care industry still has a long way to go to implementing basic safety measures to protect patients. , Author, To Err is Human, But This is Something Else, Medical Malpractice Law & Strategy, 2011
- This article is excerpted from "Never Events in Medical Malpractice Litigation," September 2010, Vol. 27, No.126. Medical Malpractice Law & Strategy. I wrote it with my associate, Robert Sanfilipo Never events are medical mistakes that are considered so base that insurance companies and Medicare have taken the position that they will not reimburse health care providers for care related to these events because the cause of the harm was entirely avoidable. Amazingly, the government and insurance industry's public stance in these errors has not stopped doctors from defending these claims in court. , Author, The Relevance of ‘Never Events’ in Medical Malpractice Litigation, Medical Malpractice Law & Strategy, 2010
- Excerpted from "Winning the Morality Play in the Battle of the Experts.", March 2010, Vol. 27, No. 6. Medical Malpractice Law & Strategy., Author, Winning the Morality Play in the Battle of the Experts, Medical Malpractice Law & Strategy, 2010
- Invited Speaker, Proving Damages: Successful Strategies from Winning Cases, New Jersey Association of Justice - Four Concurrent Seminars, Edison, New Jersey, 2010
- This article (a) examines physicians' ethical obligation to report medical errors to their patients, (b) discusses the literature which analyzes why they fail to do that, (c) explains how New Jersey made an ethical requirement into a statutory one with the passage of the Patient Safety Act, N.J.S.A. 26:2H-12.23, and (d) suggests how statutory mandatory error reporting in New Jersey may impact the culture of health care and medical malpractice litigation. It is excerpted from "The Consequences of Truth: Compulsory Medical Error Reporting in New Jersey," Medical Malpractice Law and Strategy, Volume 26, Number 9, June 2009,, Author, The Consequences of Truth: Compulsory Medical Error Reporting in New Jersey, Medical Malpractice Law and Strategy, 2009
- Invited Speaker, Deposition Preparation and Winning Cases in Discovery, New Jersey Association for Justice Annual Convention, 2009
- Defendants in medical malpractice cases often hire multiple overlapping experts and then strategically fail to call the ones who testify poorly in depositions. This is unfair because it increases the costs of a litigation and it removes some of the most important evidence in a litigation from the jury's consideration. I published this paper in the New Jersey Law Journal with my partner, Amos Gern, as a guideline for attorneys about how to deal with this situation. , Author, Medical Malpractice: Winning the Expert Shell Game - When is an Adverse Inference Charge Proper?, 185 N.J.L.J. 1057 , 2006
- This is excerpted from article titled " Medical Malpractice: Making the Most of Pretrial Discovery," I published this with my partner, Amos Gern in the New Jersey Law Journal, August 8, 2005, Essentially, the article discusses the importance of being vigilant in pretrial discovery when prosecuting medical malpractice cases. , Author, Medical Malpractice: Making The Most of Pre-Trial Discovery, 181 N.J.L.J. 524, 2005
- Author, Bogged Down by Botta?, 11 New Jersey Lawyer 227 , 2002
- Author, Treating the HIV Positive Patient in New Jersey: An Analysis of the Physician's Duty of Confidentiality, Liability for Failure to Warn, and the Requirement to Provide Medical Care, The University Of Medicine And Dentistry/The New Jersey Medical School, 1999
- Author, Discovery in Medical Malpractice Cases: A Critical Analysis of the Self-Critical Analysis Approach, 156 N.J.L.J. 169, 1999
Verdicts and Settlements:
- Settlement of $400,000 Plus Negation of $100,000 Workers Compensation Lien for Morris County Ironworker After Closing Arguments During Trial in Morris County, New Jersey., 2013
- $1.2 Million Dollar Settlement on Behalf of Estate of Bergen County Man Who Died When Multiple Defendants Failed to Diagnose Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis. , 2013
- Confidential medical malpractice settlement on behalf of a 28-year-old Brick, New Jersey, resident who suffered neurological damage following orthopedic surgery to his knee., 2011
- $20.5 million dollar medical malpractice verdict for patient blinded in one eye following negligent retinal surgery. (Co-counsel to Amos Gern).
- $486,348.95 settlement for Oxford Township, New Jersey man requiring spinal surgery following automobile accident.
- $450,000 settlement for New York resident requiring spinal surgery following automobile accident.
- $1.2 million medical malpractice verdict following negligent stenting procedure. (Co-counsel to Amos Gern).
- $675,000 settlement on behalf of ironworker suffering multiple spinal fractures. (Co-counsel to Amos Gern).
- $600,000 medical malpractice settlement following two days of trial on behalf of resident of New Egypt, New Jersey who suffered vision loss following negligent retinal surgery. (Co-counsel to Amos Gern)
- $145,000 medical malpractice settlement on behalf of a Jersey City, New Jersey woman who underwent negligent cosmetic surgery.
- Confidential medical malpractice settlement on behalf of a New Providence, New Jersey resident who lost vision following heart surgery. (Co-counsel to Amos Gern)
- $210,000 settlement on behalf of Monmouth County, New Jersey woman sustaining trimalleolar fracture of the left ankle.
- Confidential medical malpractice settlement on behalf of estate of pediatrician who died following negligent failure to diagnose breast cancer (Co-counsel to Amos Gern).
- $2.6 million jury verdict on behalf of resident of West Caldwell, New Jersey, man requiring lumbar disc surgery following automobile accident.
- $850,000 settlement on behalf of Sayreville, New Jersey, resident requiring spinal surgery following automobile accident.
- Confidential medical malpractice settlement during trial on behalf of resident of Monroe Township, New Jersey whose doctor negligently failed to diagnose bacterial endocarditis.
- $375,000 settlement during trial on behalf of a 17-year-old girl sexually assaulted at high school.
- $300,000 settlement on behalf of 20-Year-Old Somerset, New Jersey, resident injured in an automobile accident.
- $1 million medical malpractice settlement on behalf of infant suffering traumatic birth injury as a result of inadequate response to ominous fetal monitoring strips.
- Confidential medical malpractice settlement on behalf of stroke victim who lost vision as a result of drop of blood pressure during spinal surgery.
- Confidential medical malpractice settlement on behalf Cedar Grove, New Jersey, resident injured by negligent spinal surgery.
- Confidential settlement at trial in case filed on behalf of 14 year-old resident of Livingston, New Jersey who received negligent orthopedic surgery of the left elbow.
- $3.9 million dollar settlement at trial on behalf of two ironworkers injured when they were thrown to railroad tracks after general contractor failed to follow its own safety procedures.
Other Outstanding Achievements:
- On November 1, 2012, Starr, Gern, Davison & Rubin was one of nine law firms in New Jersey recognized as a Tier 1 Best Law Firm by U.S.News and World Report in the field of Plaintiffs Medical Malpractice. The U.S.News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings is based on an annual evaluation of client critiques, peer review from leading attorneys in the field. Firms are ranked in in part based on their expertise, responsiveness, integrity, and cost-effectiveness. A first tier ranking includes those firms that scored within a certain percentage of the highest-scoring firm(s)., 2013