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Charleston: $90 Million Medical Malpractice Award Sparks Controversy

Tim Miley
Injury Lawyer, Author, & Owner of The Miley Legal Group
Posted on Jul 22, 2012

A $90 million jury award in a Charleston nursing home neglect case has raised questions about the applicability of recently enacted caps on medical malpractice lawsuits. 

According to an article by The Charleston Daily Mail, there are two major contestable issues in this verdict: (1) the fact that jury members may have been confused about certain points and instructions, and (2) the state’s $500,000 cap on medical malpractice damage awards. 

“The purpose of punitives is to damage, but not destroy,” said attorney Ben Bailey, representing ManorCare and Heartland Nursing Home in this case. “It should be loud enough to be heard, but not to deafen.” 

He said that the $90 million award is deafening. 

The original lawsuit was filed because of an incident that happened in September 2009, when an elderly woman died because of the inadequate medical care she received at Heartland Nursing Home, a ManorCare facility. The woman was a patient at Heartland for 19 days before she was moved to Huntington Hospice House 15 pounds lighter, severely dehydrated and in a comatose state. 

The woman died in hospice care 18 days later. 

Bailey said that there were enough errors in the trial to constitute grounds for a retrial. Among other complaints, he said that the jury erroneously gave awards to individual family members when the woman’s son’s, Tom Douglas’s, Estate was the only claimant. The jury also neglected to designate individual punitive damages to each corporate defendant. 

As evidenced by this case, the recent caps on medical malpractice awards may not stop you from getting the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one is a victim of medical practice, contact the Miley Legal Group today for a free consultation. Call us today at: 1-888-436-0859. 

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