MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE: $5,000
Case name: Erickson v. Dr. M.
Case type: Medical negligence
Case number: 05-CV-239
Court: Green County
Judge: James Beer
Injuries alleged: Pain, suffering and loss of consortium as a result of a wrong site hernia surgery.
Verdict date: April 11, 2008
Defense attorney: Carley Peich Kiesling, Corneille Law Group
Defense counsel’s summary of case: In this Green County medical negligence case, plaintiffs’ claims stemmed from a hernia surgery performed by the defendant physician, in which he repaired a different hernia than the one that had been previously diagnosed and intended. The physician subsequently repaired the original hernia and the patient had recovered within a couple of months. Plaintiff was not charged for either surgery. Plaintiff had no expert(s) to testify regarding either standard of care or damages, which was the subject of motions to dismiss before, during and after trial. The judge had deferred ruling on that motion until after a jury verdict. Defendant also filed a motion to dismiss based on the improper provision of the res ipsa loquitor instruction to the jury at the close of trial.
Prior to trial, defendants had offered $5,000 to settle the case, which plaintiffs declined. Plaintiffs’ had filed an Offer of Settlement for payment of $20,000 plus costs. Both negligence and damages were at issue at trial. Damages questions on the verdict included medical expenses, past pain and suffering for the patient, future pain and suffering for the patient, and loss of consortium for the patient’s husband. Plaintiffs’ counsel requested that the jury award his clients $4,882 for medical expenses related to the second surgery. Plaintiff’s counsel did not suggest any amounts for the patient’s claims of past and future pain and suffering, or her husband’s loss of consortium claim, but simply asked the jury to award what they viewed to be reasonable amounts. The jury found the physician to be causally negligent; however, there were two dissenters on both negligence and causation. The jury awarded the patient $5,000 for past pain and suffering, and declined to award any amounts for any other category of damages. After the jury verdict, the judge set a briefing schedule for defendant’s motions to dismiss based on (1) plaintiff’s lack of expert witness(es); and (2) the improper provision of the res ipsa loquitor instruction to the jury. Prior to completion of the briefing, and before the entry of any verdict, plaintiffs agreed to dismiss the case completely with prejudice and without costs.