According to a recent report by LegalNewsline.com, the Mississippi Supreme Court has affirmed a Washington County trial court's reduction of a $1.5 million verdict in a nursing home medical negligence case.
The victim's name was Henry C. Gibson. He spent a little over a year as a resident of Arnold Avenue Nursing Home in Greeneville, Mississippi. After he was sent to the hospital in December 2002, he was moved to another nursing home, where he later died. After his death, Gibson's estate sued the nursing home for Gibson's wrongful death. The suit sought both compensatory and punitive damages. Specifically, Gibson's estate claimed that Magnolia Healthcare, Inc., which owned Arnold Avenue Nursing Home, and Foundation Health Services, Inc., entered into an agreement with one another. The plaintiffs claim that both companies were negligent and their negligence contributed to the Gibson's death.
After a trial, the jury found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them $1.5 million in compensatory damages. The court reduced the judgment to $500,000 for noneconomic damages and $75,000 for permanent disfigurement. The jury was not allowed to consider whether the plaintiff should be awarded punitive damages.
The plaintiffs appealed and argued that the trial court erred when it refused to allow the jury to consider punitive damages. The plaintiffs also argued that the statutory cap on noneconomic damages is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the plaintiffs did not present any evidence at trial that the defendants acted with willful, wanton, or reckless conduct, which is the necessary showing before punitive damages can be awarded. The Supreme Court also said that the constitutional question regarding the statutory cap on noneconomic damages was not presented at the trial court level so it could not be brought up at the appellate level.
Mississippi's statutory cap on noneconomic damages as part of its medical malpractice reform is working to reduce verdicts to within the statutory limits. The Gibson estate's claim that the cap is unconstitutional is probably not the last constitutional challenge to the cap. Mississippi personal injury attorneys will likely be arguing the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of the cap in the near future. If you have questions about a medical negligence or nursing home matter, please call the Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Kobs & Philley toll free at (601) 856-7800.
Source: "Miss. SC affirms reduction of $1.5M verdict in nursing home suit," by Jessica M. Karmasek, published at LegalNewsline.com.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
Kobs & Philley Named in Newsweek Magazine's "Leaders in Medical Malpractice" Law!
The Ever-Increasing Costs of Medical Malpractice