A Dallas jury recently awarded a man $17.5 million dollars in damages after he obtained MRSA at a hospital, which his physician failed to properly treat. Despite the fact that a jury sat the though the trial, heard the evidence, and returned a verdict, which they believed to be reflective of the injury sustained, the verdict will be reduced by $10 million to conform with state malpractice laws:
After state-mandated caps are applied, David Fitzgerald, 53, could collect up to $7.5 million from Dr. Meenakshi S. Prabhakar, a Bedford infectious-disease specialist who treated the infection in 2003.
Nearly $10 million awarded by the jury Friday for Fitzgerald’s pain, mental anguish and physical impairment was set aside by Judge Jim Jordan of 160th District Court.
In Texas, victims of medical malpractice can collect only $250,000 for pain and suffering. I would ask then, is this man’s pain and suffering worth only $250,000:
The sad reality is that caps are not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Fitzgerald’s attorney, Linda Turley, said the malpractice caps were a "tragic unfairness" to her client, who has relied on family members for daily living over the last six years. Fitzgerald, who lives with his brother in East Texas, declined to be interviewed.
"He can’t bathe by himself, can’t get out of the house by himself and will need assistance for the rest of his life," Turley said
Nevertheless, the "wisdom" of the Texas legislature has valued his pain and suffering–a life with no limbs–at a mere $250,000.
The question becomes, who is better equipped to award pain and suffering damages: the Texas legislature or a jury of Texas citizens?
Both an Emory School of Law graduate and MBA graduate of Goizueta Business School at Emory, Chris Nace focuses his practice on areas of medical malpractice, drug and product liability, motor vehicle accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination and other negligence and personal injury matters.