Recent Jury Verdict Ignites a Debate on Medical Liability Law

Recent Jury Verdict Ignites a Debate on Medical Liability Law



A recent $90.5 million verdict by the jury against a local nursing home pushed a 2003 law, which limits medical liability damages, into the spotlight and promises to ignite yet another potentially lengthy debate that could end up in the state Supreme Court.

Heartland Nursing Home, along with its parent company, ManorCare Inc, are asking a circuit judge to review the $90.5 million verdict against it in an abuse and neglect lawsuit.

Brian Glasser, a Charleston attorney who have been hired by the care facility to take charge of any post-trial motions and appeals, revealed that he already filed Tuesday a motion with Kanawha Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib to consider whether or not the verdict complies with a state law that caps such damages.

That law, which was passed in 2003, limits monetary awards in medical liability cases to $500,000 and also limits the punitive damages. However, whether the recent case that prompted the jury to grand a bigger compensation fits the intention of the legislation is up for debate.

Glasser believes that the 2003 law still applies and will ask Judge Zakaib to award Dorothy Douglas’ family $500,000 instead of $90.5 million, plus an inflation adjustment and punitive damage percentage of that.

The jury reached a verdict last August 4 after two weeks of grueling testimony regarding the care given to Douglas while she was at Heartland in Kanawha City two years ago as a patient. The family claimed that Douglas was not given proper hydration and that led to her untimely demise.


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