DBJ Wins $2.2 Billion Verdict for Victim of Diluted Cancer Drug Fraud

DBJ won a $2.2 billion jury verdict for Georgia Hayes, who was given diluted chemotherapy medication by her pharmacist for her cancer treatment.  The verdict was the second largest ever won in Missouri courts.

Investigators found that Robert Courtney had been diluting chemotherapy medications for nearly a decade and pocketing the profits. The defense argued that the diluted drugs did not affect Hayes because her cancer would have been fatal even with the proper medication. The jurors rejected that argument and awarded $2.2 billion to “send a message to the world.”

“If Courtney’s argument had prevailed, it would have been open season on cancer patients,” said Grant L. Davis of DBJ. “People could say, ‘What does it matter? They’re going to die anyway.’”

Davis expects to collect a “sizable portion” of the verdict from the pharmacist’s malpractice insurance policies, which total $71 million. “We’re going to garnish the insurance company and put heavy pressure on them in a lot of ways to do the right thing and own up to their obligations,” Davis said.

Plaintiff’s lawyers will also pursue any money that Courtney has hidden from authorities, or that he may receive in the future from sources such as book or movie deals. “When someone does something this heinous,” Davis said, “I think the financial death penalty is absolutely appropriate.”

The original lawsuit also named Eli Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb, two huge drug companies who did nothing after realizing Courtney’s sales figures weren’t adding up. Plaintiff’s attorneys argued that “any reasonable company would have gone to the proper authorities once it learned of the vast discrepancies between the amounts of Gezmar Courtney was buying and the amount he was selling. Lilly did not. Instead, it placed the investigation on the ‘back burner’ and hid all the relevant facts from Dr. Hunter. People died as a result, and others suffered and continue to suffer unimaginable injuries. Punitive damages are appropriate in this case.” The drug companies agreed to a confidential settlement during jury selection.

At trial, Davis called other victims of Courtney’s diluted medicine in order to show his pattern of wrongdoing. “It’s similar to the way I might, in a railroad-crossing case for example, call other people who’ve been hit by trains at the same crossing, if they’re still alive, or people who’ve had near misses.”

After the verdict, Hayes acknowledged that cancer would probably kill her and many of Courtney’s other victims before the case was finally resolved. “Though we will probably never see a dime, I feel justice has been done,” she said.

Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.

Jury Verdict of $30 Million for Carpenter After Electric Shock

A Jackson County, Missouri jury awarded $30 million to a DBJ-client carpenter who received a 277-volt electric shock at a construction site. Virgil McCormack claimed that an electrical sub-contractor was negligent in failing to turn off the electricity while he was working. The defense argued that McCormack was to blame because he touched an uncapped wire.

According to attorney Grant L. Davis, of DBJ, the case hinged on the “frivolous, hurtful defense” argued by the sub-contractor. “Despite all evidence to the contrary, they accused him of being a malingerer, that he was faking,” Davis said. “They said Virgil, his wife, and all of the treating doctors were lying.”

Electrical shocks can cause progressive injuries that worsen over time. A PET scan on McCormack showed abnormal brain activity similar to that of a person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

“Virgil was a journeyman carpenter, he coached his daughter’s softball team, he was an avid outdoorsman,” Davis said. “After high school, he was recruited to play minor league baseball. That was all taken away. He can’t drive, can’t follow TV shows. His IQ dropped from normal to borderline retarded. He volunteers at the hospital to give him something to do.”

Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.

DBJ Secures $20 Million Verdict for Surgery Error

An Arkansas jury awarded a $20 million judgment to the family of a 15-year-old boy whose doctor operated on the wrong side of his brain. The jury found that Arkansas Children’s Hospital was negligent for the surgery.

“It is so apparent there’s negligence that it boggles the mind we had to go through this,” family attorney Grant Davis of DBJ said in his closing argument.

During an operation to remove faulty brain tissue believed to be the source of a seizure disorder, Dr. Badih Adada, chief of pediatric neurosurgery at the hospital, removed matter from the wrong side of Cody Metheny’s brain before then performing the procedure on the correct side. As a result of the mistake, Cody has experienced psychotic delusions, continuing seizures, and deteriorating intelligence. “The surgery sucked the life out of him,” Davis said. “He has just become a different person.”

The hospital could not be found liable under Arkansas law if the jury determined the surgeon was solely responsible for the error. Despite continuing to employ him for three years after the botched operation, the hospital was “on a kick of blaming Dr. Adada,” Davis said. The family countered that hospital nurses were not adequately prepared and administrators did not thoroughly investigate the surgical errors and promptly disclose them to the family, who were not informed of the mistake for months.

Davis told the jury that Cody’s mind will continue to deteriorate as a result of the hospital’s negligence. The jury’s award compensates him for his pain and suffering, future earnings, and the costs of lifetime treatment, estimated as another 55 years.

Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.

Improper Patient Transfer Results in $10.25 Million Wrongful Death Verdict

Shawn Foster of DBJ won a $10.25 million wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the parents of a man who died at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

Brandon Jacques, 20, was being treated for alcohol addiction and bulimia at a facility in Arizona. The facility recommended a transfer to Morningside Recovery in California. Unbeknownst to the parents, the facility received a kickback for sending Brandon to Morningside. Despite representations to the contrary, Morningside was not legally allowed to treat eating disorders because it was not a medical facility.

Brandon was eventually transferred to another detox center, where he suffered a cardiac arrest and died. The internal emails and the practices of the various facilities “illustrated illegal kickbacks and referral agreements to induce facilities to refer clients,” Foster said.

The jury awarded Brandon’s parents $10.25 million in non-economic damages and $40,622.50 for funeral and burial expenses. “I believe the verdict is going to change the way these free-standing rehab facilities operate,” Foster said. “It is important to the Jacques family that other families do not get taken advantage of by these facilities.”

Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.

DBJ Wins $3.25 Million Premises Liability Verdict

DBJ attorney Scott S. Bethune successfully earned a jury verdict on behalf of client Amie Wieland against Grain Valley truck insurance provider Owner-Operator Services, Inc. (OOIDA)  Wieland survived being shot in the head by her abusive ex-boyfriend after he waited for over an hour in ambush for Wieland in her car after work.  The Jackson County, Missouri jury found that OOIDA had a duty to follow its own domestic violence protocol, and that it did not follow that protocol when it allowed Wieland to park in a lot farther away from the building and in not notifying its security of the threat, leaving Wieland vulnerable.

Bethune noted, “It’s something that the defendant had experience with these type of issues in the past and they had a protocol in place, and they just didn’t follow the protocol.”  DBJ asked for $2.75 million in settlement prior to trial and defendants offered $520,000.  The jury sided with Wieland and awarded her $3.25 million.

DBJ Client Wins $2.75 Million Verdict and $2 Million Settlement in Med Mal Case

A Buchanan County, Missouri jury returned a verdict of $2.75 million against a hospital who provided below-standard care for a woman who was treated for injuries from a minor car accident.  She ended up paralyzed from her injuries.  DBJ also earned the woman $2 million in settlement from the neurosurgeon who failed to perform emergency surgery when doing so could have saved her from paralysis.

When the plaintiff arrived at the hospital, it was determined that she had a broken vertebra that was pressing against her spinal cord. She had feeling in and could move her legs, feet, and toes.

The attending neurosurgeon decided to delay the operation to relieve pressure on the spinal canal until the following Monday, when another neurosurgeon was returning from vacation. The nurses were supposed to monitor her for signs of neurological deterioration. Emergency surgery would be performed if necessary.

The plaintiff’s condition worsened and no surgery was performed. As a result, she is a paraplegic. Plaintiff claimed the nurses were negligent in not noticing her neurological deterioration, the doctor was negligent in failing to perform immediate surgery or transfer her, and the hospital was negligent because the doctor was acting as its agent.

Prior to trial, plaintiff’s attorneys, Grant L. Davis and Scott S. Bethune of DBJ negotiated a settlement of $2 million with the attending neurosurgeon. At trial, the jury apportioned 50% of the fault to the neurosurgeon and 50% to the hospital. Because both defendants were found to be at fault, joint and several liability applies and the hospital is responsible for the entire $2.75 million verdict.

Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.

Jury Verdict of $2.7 Million For Failure To Perform Surgery

DBJ earned a big result for a woman who became a paraplegic after a minor car accident when a neurosurgeon failed to perform emergency surgery was awarded $2.75 million by a Buchanan County, Missouri jury.

Despite a broken vertebra that was pressing against her spinal cord, the woman could move her legs, feet, and toes after the accident. The neurosurgeon decided to delay surgery until his partner returned from vacation.

The nurses were supposed to test the woman for neurological function on an hourly basis and inform him of any changes. Emergency surgery would be performed if her condition deteriorated. The plaintiff’s condition worsened, no surgery was performed, and she is now a paraplegic.

Essential to the case was establishing that the doctor was the hospital’s agent. “A hospital is not ordinarily liable for the negligent acts of its doctors,” said plaintiff’s attorney Grant L. Davis of DBJ. “We had to show an agency relationship existed between the neurosurgeon and hospital.”

The nurses were shown to be negligent in not noticing the plaintiff’s neurological deterioration because they were recording medical conclusions rather than data on her chart. “A phrase like ‘Neuro’s unchanged’ doesn’t tell the doctor anything,” Davis said. “He needs data from the tests so he can decide if her condition has changed in a significant way.”

The $2.75 million verdict included $1 million in non-economic damages. The jury apportioned 50% of the fault to the doctor and 50% to the nurses.

Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.

Welder Awarded $2.4 Million for Amputated Fingers

A welder who lost parts of his fingers while operating a hydraulic press was awarded $2.4 million by a Missouri judge. The plaintiff was represented by Scott Bethune and Wes Shumate of DBJ.

Dylan Harris was told by his supervisor to operate a 9-ton hydraulic press used to bend and shape large pieces of angle iron, despite the fact that Harris had never used the machine before and had received no training or instruction. The hydraulic press had no guard, safety, or kill switch. Harris’ hand was smashed in the machine, resulting in the partial loss of his fingers.

The lawsuit alleged that the injuries were the result of “an extremely dangerous work environment” and the judge agreed. Harris received damages for his medical bills, lost earnings, transportation costs, and pain and suffering, said Shumate.

Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.

Exploding Battery Case Results in $2.25 Million DBJ Verdit

A Jackson County jury awarded a 37-year-old mechanic $2.25 in a product liability case. Kevin Knifong was blinded in one eye when a battery exploded as he was trying to fix a stalled front-loader.

“This explosion occurred because of a very poor design,” said attorney Grant L. Davis, of DBJ. “Even their expert agreed it was a design he had never seen before, and he had been in the industry forever.”

The explosion was likely caused by a spark from the battery terminals igniting the hydrogen gas produced as a natural result of the chemical reactions in the battery. “It doesn’t really matter where it came from,” Davis said. “It could have been from a guy on the tractor turning a key. The point is, it’s a reasonably anticipated use for the battery to be around sparks. It’s supposed to be able to survive sparks without exploding.”

Although Knifong suffered a loss in future wages as a result of his injuries, the damages in the case centered on his loss of quality of life. “This is a guy who, if you toss him his keys, he can’t even catch them. He certainly can’t hunt anymore, or rope horses, or pass and shoot in basketball. And he’s become a poor driver, too. He runs off the road, and he can’t pass a Department of Transportation physical for his commercial driver’s license. This case has profoundly changed his life.”

Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.

DBJ Earns Relief for Woman Wrongfully Denied Medical Procedure

DBJ secured a permanent injunction in Jackson County Circuit Court against an HMO that denied a Kansas City woman an “experimental” treatment.

Karen Moses needed a gastric stimulator after her body rejected a pancreas transplant. Her health plan denied coverage for the treatment as “experimental,” despite a letter from her doctor, the leading expert in the field. “The credentials of the treating doctor were so impressive,” said attorney Scott S. Bethune of DBJ, who handled the case without charging a fee. “He was in fact an expert in this area.”

The court found that “while it is reasonable and necessary for an insurer to have an experimental exclusion so members do not have to pay for procedures which are purely experimental or requested by a scientist stirring a magic potion in some laboratory at the top of a mountain with lightning flashing about, it was clear and beyond dispute that the requested procedure had been standard treatment, and indeed the only treatment available for patients with the discussed medical condition.”

In denying coverage, the HMO actually attempted to rely on two articles written by Moses’ doctor himself. In ruling against the HMO, the court noted that other insurers provide coverage for the exact procedure requested in this case.

Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.