Over 11 years ago, an Ohio doctor decided against a Caesarian section for a patient. That decision led to the baby being deprived of oxygen in the womb, causing brain injuries and ultimately cerebral palsy. The family pursued a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and other negligent parties. The jury returned a verdict of $13.9 million last year.
The court reduced the judgment to $9.7 million because the family had previously settled with other defendants for $2.4 million. By any measure, it was the largest medical malpractice judgment in Trumbull County history. The family is now pursing collection of its judgment against the doctor.
It is common in litigation involving insurance companies for appeals to be filed and perfected, and it often delays the time a successful litigant must wait to recover the judgment they fought so hard to earn. When an appeal is filed, a judgment debtor seeks a stay of enforcement. In this case, the policy issued by the insurance company had a limit of $2 million. However, courts require a bond to be set by litigants that appeal in order to obtain a stay. The bond in this case was set at over $10 million, something an insurance company facing only a $2 million pay-out would not likely do.
With no bond posted, the family's attorney started enforcement proceedings against the doctor's assets. The Sheriff's office visited the doctor's home, along with a writ, seeking to take possession of assets on behalf of the family. Also, the doctor has been directed to appear for a debtor's examination, requiring her to disclose all of her assets and income.
Medical malpractice cases are complicated. Pursuing a judgment awarded for a doctor's negligence resulting in debilitating brain injuries is also complicated. An Ohio attorney experienced in both prosecuting medical malpractice lawsuits and recovering on judgments awarded may help a family gain the measure of justice they deserve.
Source: TribToday, "Court award is still unpaid," Christopher Bobby, Sept. 10, 2011