A Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and a Reseda woman who suffered thermal burns due to the alleged negligent design of a laser machine deserve millions of dollars in damages, their attorney told a jury, but a lawyer for the maker of the device used photos taken of the woman’s legs two years after the procedure to try and undercut the plaintiffs’ claims.
The two sides gave their closing arguments Friday in the two-month trial of the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit brought by Dr. Stuart Linder and his office manager, 38-year-old Adriana Diaz, against Massachusetts-based Cynosure Inc. and its salesman, Kristopher Huston. The pair are seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.
“Adriana Diaz went into the procedure without thermal burns and came out of the procedure with thermal burns,” plaintiffs’ attorney Thomas Brown told the jury.
Brown said Linder did not make any mistakes during the January 2013 procedure to remove cellulite on both of Diaz’s legs and abided by the teaching he was given by a Cynosure trainer. He said the physician had no idea Diaz’s skin was heating up so high that it was leaving her with “tissue death.”
Brown said Huston had falsely claimed that the machine had FDA approval and that Linder needed to buy one to stay competitive because other local plastic surgeons had already done so. About 200 plastic surgeons work in the same general area as Linder and none had purchased the device, Brown said.
Cynosure attorney Karin Curtis countered that Diaz was working out within two weeks of the procedure. She flashed photos of Diaz’s legs taken in 2015, which she said showed they were in as good a condition as they were in 2012, a year before the procedure.
Curtis said many of the issues in the case were raised for the first time in March 2013, when Linder sought to be refunded the $220,000 he paid for the machine.
Curtis said Huston may have been confused over the difference between a product having FDA approval and one having FDA clearance.
Along with internal burns, Diaz says she also developed a painful seroma, a pocket of clear fluid that sometimes develops in the body after surgery.
The lawsuit states that Diaz still has pain six years later, including constant throbbing in her legs — with one more painful than the other. Occasional migraine headaches she had before the procedure are now far more frequent, she said.
Linder, who has made television appearances on such programs as “The Doctors,” “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The View,” testified previously that company representatives never told him he should not have used the device in an area where he completed liposuction on Diaz in 2011.
Diaz has said she does not blame Linder for what happened to her because of the procedure and called him an “exceptional doctor.”
Diaz also has said since the procedure, she has shunned skirts and dresses in favor of pants that hide her legs.
Final arguments will continue Tuesday.
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