About Benjamin R. NovotnyTrial Lawyer Benjamin R. Novotny is a partner at Trial Lawyers for Justice in Decorah, Iowa. He has a nationwide practice. Prior to joining the TL4J team, he was a Partner at the largest personal injury and medical malpractice law firm representing injured clients throughout the Northeast. Novotny specializes in representing those injured in Medical Malpractice and complex tort cases. To date, he has won well over $100 million in verdicts and settlements.
Novotny tried his first jury trial within weeks of being admitted to the Bar. Once he had a taste of trying cases, there was no looking back – he was hooked. His ability to understand and tell his client’s story, combined with his vast knowledge of medicine, has earned him numerous awards and acknowledgments throughout his career. His determination to bring peace of mind and justice to his clients drives him, and his jury verdicts speak for themselves.
Attorney Novotny garnered nationwide attention as lead counsel in the McCollins v. JRC trial, a medical malpractice lawsuit involving the use of electro-shock therapy on children with autism at the Judge Rotenberg Center. While Novotny tried the case to a successful conclusion, the impact of the case went well beyond the courtroom.
During the trial, Novotny successfully fought to have the dramatic videotape depicting the controversial use of electro-shocks released to the public. This was the first time in the JRC’s 41-year history that such a videotape had been released. The story quickly spread across the United States and Internationally. Before the end of the trial, hundreds of thousands of people signed petitions to end the use of electro-shock therapy. Since then, the tragic case has been publicized on notable news networks and in magazines such as New York Magazine, BBC and CNN.
To date, the positive changes associated with Novotny’s efforts in the McCollins v. JRC case have included:
- An investigation and statement by the United Nations calling electro-shock therapy torture
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sending a warning letter to the JRC stating that the use electro-shock therapy with autistic children violates FDA regulation
- The State of New York refusing to send children to the JRC
- New Massachusetts legislation to set standards for the use of electro-shock therapy
Attorney Novotny has tried over 80 medical malpractice and complex tort jury trials. Most recently, Novotny has won several multi-million dollar verdicts on behalf of his clients including:
- $40+ million verdict (with interest; 2015 largest verdict in MA & 20th in the U.S.)- Larkin v. Johnston – Jury found a physician’s negligence caused a 28-year-old woman to suffered a stroke hours after childbirth.
- $30+ million verdict (with interest)- Xu v. Tufts Medical Center – Jury found Tufts Medical Center doctors negligent in care of newborn, leaving infant with debilitating condition.
- He also brought forward the well-publicized Messier v. Bridgewater State Hospital case, resulting in a $3 million settlement and sweeping changes to mental health care in the prison system.
- Ben was called in last minute by co-counsel to serve as lead trial attorney in the Zaw v. The Iowa Clinic in which he won a $2 million jury verdict for his client who was given an incorrect vasectomy instead of a circumcision.
- Estate of Zoe Rosenthal v. Charles J. Davignon, et al.: In April 2021, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Ben won a $9.5 million verdict obtained on behalf of two daughters whose mother was negligently killed while walking her dog in a crosswalk near her home. According to the court clerk, this result set a record for a non-economic damages verdict for wrongful death with adult heirs in Western Massachusetts.
Novotny’s successes have been recognized by several publications throughout his career. Most recently, he was named 2018 Lawyer of the Year by Lawyers Weekly. From 2016-2018, he was listed as a Super Lawyer, published by Boston Magazine. Prior to this, he was selected as a Massachusetts Super Lawyer Rising Star (2009-2015) in Boston Magazine. In 2014, Attorney Novotny was chosen as Up & Coming Lawyer by Lawyers Weekly.
Attorney Novotny has extensive knowledge in multimedia trial presentations and demonstrative exhibits, and has lectured at Continuing Legal Education seminars on the topic of medical malpractice, personal injury law, and technology in the courtroom. Additionally, Novotny has provided legal analysis and commentary on topics related to medical malpractice for various news stations.
Novotny was born and raised in Norfolk, Nebraska. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (B.S. Environmental Biology), cum laude from Vermont Law School (M.S.E.L.), and cum laude from Suffolk University Law School (J.D.). While attending law school, he was active in various student organizations including serving as Vice President of the Student Bar Association.
Attorney Novotny is admitted to practice in the State of Iowa, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the State of New Hampshire, and is admitted to practice before the N.H. Supreme Court. He serves on the Iowa Association for Justice Board of Governors and is a member of the Winneshiek County Judicial Magistrate Appointing Commission. Novotny is also a member of the American Association for Justice, the American Bar Association, and the Massachusetts Bar Association.