Med mal ruling in East Baton Rouge highlights verdict report

Alejandro de los Rios Jan. 24, 2011, 1:15pm

The February issue of the Louisiana Jury Verdict Reporter highlights four cases that top the million dollar mark, including a $4.5 million award to the family of an Independence woman who suffered a stroke after emergency room doctors allegedly ignored her symptoms.

That verdict was reached in East Baton Rouge Parish Civil District Court last November.

The Verdict Reporter states that the case had been originally submitted to a medical review panel, which "found negligence by the hospital staff," but that the damage was caused by the stroke, and "once it began there was nothing that could be done." The plaintiff took $1 million each for medicals, loss of enjoyment of life and $1.25 for mental distress.

The East Baton Rouge verdict was nearly four times larger than the next biggest award in the Verdict Reporter's report. In the Federal Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans, a jury awarded $1.5 million in January 2010 to a train engineer who suffered a disabling spinal injury while working for the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. The Verdict Reporter states that District Judge Helen Berrigan remitted the award for being too excessive.

In St. Landry Parish, a jury awarded $1.17 million in March 2010 to a student who suffered a "thoracic facet joint injury" when a tractor-trailer rear-ended the school bus in which she was riding. The Verdict Reporter states that "the plaintiff's proof developed that for the rest of his life" the student had to undergo "radio frequency lifetime ablation treatments."

A $1 million auto negligence verdict for the plaintiffs in an Iberville Parish case from September 2010 rounded out the largest verdicts in the February report. The estate of a teenage girl was awarded damages after she was killed when she was hit by a pickup truck while she was walking on an unlit street after dark.

Orleans Parish Civil District Court made the Verdict Reporter's issue for a $585,365 verdict awarded to an elderly woman who broke her arm after falling on an improperly covered Entergy work site.

Orleans Parish Judge Herber Cade rendered the ruling early this month, more than two months after a two-day bench trial.

A directed verdict for the defense rendered in October in a medical malpractice suit in Orleans Parish was also featured in the Verdict Reporter. A doctor was accused of negligence when a sponge was left behind inside a patient after surgery, but Orleans Parish Chief Judge Lloyd Medley found that it was the fault of the nurses, who knew their sponge count had been off but failed to tell the doctor about it.

The Louisiana Jury Verdict Reporter is a news service that sweeps the state for jury verdict results and compiles them into reports that are released every month.

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