The first part of the trial was to determine the validity of a release I signed - a release which was signed before most of the damage was even known to me (my body was swollen from the surgery and the damage was not visible). This release should have been thrown out because all the evidence presented showed that I did not and could not have known the damage this doctor did to me at the time that I signed it, and there was no waiver of Civil Code 1542, which says that you cannot waive your right to sue over things you do not know about. There were photos of my body at the time I signed the release, and then photos taken several months to more than a year later, and they were totally different - the damage did not appear until months after signing the release. The doctor presented no evidence that I did know of the damage when I signed the release - in fact he denied that there was any damage at all.
Judge Nichols saw the doctor's own records which proved he operated on the wrong leg and all the other parts. He saw the big hole in my right leg where the doctor had operated for no reason and without consent. He saw the X's carved into my hips. He saw the photos of damage to my knees, calves and several other parts. The doctor's lawyer did not refute any of this, and presented no affirmative evidence as to why the doctor should have operated on all these wrong parts. They were virtually silent, except to give a blanket statement denying my allegations. The doctor himself in his sworn statement didn't even deny having done anything wrong, he merely said, "I didn't think I did anything wrong".
I gave a detailed account of conversations with the doctor where initially he denied having operated on the wrong leg, then when confronted with the proof in his own records that he had, he then made up a story as to why he didn't operate on the right leg. There were many more lies over a period of months, I presented evidence that the doctor altered the medical records, and lied to me in writing. None of this was refuted by the doctor - they were silent.
So at the end of the trial, I was certain I had won - it was so one-sided it was ridiculous. I was shocked when I got Judge Nichols' ruling against me - and not only did he rule against me and uphold the release, he was very hostile to me, as if I were the one who had done something wrong. He did not mention one word about the doctor operating on the wrong parts, altering the medical records, lying to me. No, what stood out in Judge Nichols' mind was that I referred to the doctor by his last name instead of calling him Dr. ____, and he chastised me for it. So Nichols thinks that my lack of the utmost respect for this man who has mutilated me is worse than the mutilation itself???!!! He even said in his ruling that he didn't think the doctor did anything wrong.
Nichols, oh, excuse me, JUDGE Nichols ordered me to pay the doctor's attorney's fees, and I have since had to go through bankruptcy because of this. He ordered me to remove all posts on the internet about what the doctor did to me, and I am prohibited from talking to anyone about what he did. (I can and do post about what this doctor has done to other people).
I was very suspicious of the judge's ruling, so I looked him up on the internet, and lo and behold, he and the doctor are the same age, they both went to Stanford, and they have lived and/or worked close to each other for decades.
There is more - a few days before the trial, Judge Nichols had a conference with the two lawyers, and they all decided that there would be no jury, no witnesses would be called and there would be no testimony (gee, who does this benefit? My internist was going to testify, as was another woman who also had the wrong parts worked on and damaged by the same doctor. They were not even going to allow my testimony, but I insisted, and after a discussion between my lawyer and the judge, he finally relented.) My lawyer never told me about the meeting, and when the trial started without a jury I called him aside and asked what was going on. He told me that for the first part of the trial I didn't have a choice of a jury. And then when we went back to court he told the judge I had misunderstood him. But Nichols paid little attention, even though the trial had just started minutes before, and we went on with the bench trial. It wasn't until the whole thing was over and I got Nichols' tentative ruling against me, and it said, "she freely and intelligently waived her right to a jury trial" that I realized that my lawyer had done this behind my back (presumably to avoid paying jury fees and to get the whole thing over with quickly). I wrote to Judge Nichols telling him of my lawyer's deception, and reminded him that as soon as the trial started without a jury, I called my lawyer aside. But Nichols ignored my letter and made the final ruling against me. In his ruling he mocked me for "wanting to tell her story".
So I had explained to the judge that I never waived my right to a jury trial, my lawyer told the judge I didn't realize I was waiving my right to a jury trial (he was lying, he did it without even consulting me), so where in the world is Judge Nichols getting this evidence that I freely and intelligently waived my right to a jury trial? Out of thin air? And exactly what was said at that pre-trial meeting to get my lawyer to go from fighting for justice to selling me out?
And that is not all that happened - I realized about a year after the trial that there was a loophole in the judge's ruling, and after consulting with several lawyers to make sure I was within my rights to do so, I posted on the internet about how the doctor had gotten a restraining order against me by lying under oath, saying that I threatened his employees. He totally fabricated this story, and eventually the restraining order was overturned on constitutional grounds by the First Amendment Project in Oakland. But when I posted about this, the doctor filed a contempt of court motion against me, and Judge Nichols threatened to throw me in county jail for 5 days if I did not remove the post. I spent my last of my money fighting this, but my new lawyer said it would cost $15K or more to continue the fight, and I finally had to remove the post. Judge Nichols violated my rights to free speech to protect this doctor. Why? Could it be they are friends? Does that explain his ruling against me in the medical malpractice case, contrary to all the evidence?
It seems to me that either Judge Nichols cannot understand simple concepts (like when a doctor is supposed to operate on the left leg, but he operates on the right leg and damages it, then the doctor has done something wrong), in which case he is incompetent; or he is corrupt, and I think it is the latter.
I have already had 10 operations to try to fix the doctor's mistakes, and I am not even close to being whole again. I have constant pain in my knees, I have fallen down stairs 4 times, and I can't sleep because of the pain. I lost my business because I have been so depressed, I can only work part time now, and I spend all my time trying to get enough money to see more doctors and have more surgery. I am a single mother, and my daughter and I have been evicted from two apartments since this disastrous surgery because I couldn't pay the rent. No one knows if my knees or other parts will ever be fixed. I have artificial calves now to fill in the concave areas made when this moronic doctor operated on my formerly perfect calves for no reason. I still have the traces of X's on my hips. None of the surgery is covered by insurance because it is considered experimental - no doctor I have been to has ever seen damage like what this doctor did to me. Because of Nichols' ruling, I will never be compensated for my injuries, and I am afraid of what will happen to me in the future, and whether I will be able to pay for the surgeries I still need. You cannot imagine the horror of having parts of your body removed and operated on against your will, and then going to the system looking for justice but instead getting raped all over again. I have cried buckets of tears.
If there is any real justice in this world, there is a special place in hell reserved for these two.