DAMAGE AWARDS

August 31, 2013

Skyrocketing $130M verdict for plaintiffs whose baby was born with severe brain injury and cerebral palsy. Reportedly, the plaintiffs turned down a pre-trial settlement offer of $8M.

July 25, 2013

Failure to diagnose a serious heart condition and make a timely referral to a specialty doctor triggers a $6.4 million award in Missouri.  Story here.

April 26, 2013

West Virginia court bypasses a $500,000 cap on noneconomic recovery: Nursing home’s outrageous treatment of a resident triggers a $91.5M award after being categorized by the court as a general tort, rather than “medical malpractice”

West Virginia court held that a nursing home must pay $11.5M in compensatory damages and $80M in punitive damages for its outrageous neglect of an 87-year old woman. Reportedly, the woman died of dehydration after staying just 19 days in the nursing home. She had suffered head trauma from numerous falls and developed sores in her mouth that had to be scraped away with a scalpel. The court categorized the nursing home’s outrageous misconduct as a general tort, rather than medical malpractice, which made West Virginia’s $500,000 cap on noneconomic damages inapplicable.

The court’s categorization of the nursing home’s misconduct runs contrary to the approach taken by other states: see, e.g., Husby v. S. Ala. Nursing Home, Inc., 712 So. 2d 750, 751–54 (Ala. 1998) (applying medical malpractice rules to a suit involving a nursing home resident who fell out of bed, fractured her femur and died shortly after femoral surgery).  See also this discussion. The nursing home will likely appeal this decision: it will try to convince the West Virginia Supreme Court to categorize its misconduct as “medical malpractice” and limit the plaintiff’s noneconomic recovery to $500,000.

April 20, 2013

Record $130M awarded for severe cerebral palsy in NY. I will try to follow further developments in this case.

April 20, 2013

$1.7M for failure to diagnose fetus abnormalities that led to the birth of a child with cerebral palsy, partial paralysis, cognitive impairment, and developmental delays. Here.

April 20, 2013

$2.1M awarded by NY jury for a newborn’s Erb’s palsy: arm paralysis resulting from an abnormal childbirth or labor. The lawsuit claimed that the mother did not receive appropriate prenatal care and that the doctor pulled too hard on the baby’s head during delivery.

April 20, 2013

$3M for Surgeon’s Failure to Remove Gallbladder that Resulted in Patient’s Death Alabama jury awards $3,000,000 to the widow of a 56 year old patient who made repeated complaints about gallbladder pain to a surgeon. The surgeon decided to delay the gallbladder removal and the patient died. According to the autopsy report, a pus-filled gallbladder and the related inflammation and infection have caused the patient’s death.

April 20, 2013

$2.1M for Radiologists’ Malpractice New York jury awarded $2,100,000 to a 56 year old plaintiff who suffered a severe spinal cord compression that caused him permanently to lose sensation in both of his legs. The plaintiff’s radiologists were found liable for that injury because they failed to communicate to the plaintiff’s oncologist the presence of a destructive lesion on the plaintiff’s spine spotted by a CT scan. As a result, the surgery the plaintiff critically needed was delayed for two weeks.

April 20, 2013

Record award of  $58.6M for newborn’s cerebral palsy resulting from delay in C-section I am trying to find out what happened with JNOV and appeals in this highly exceptional case.