Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Motion for Remittitur Granted in Med Mal Case

In the case of Harker v. Chan, No. 3:15-CV-277 (W.D.Pa. July 27, 2018 Gibson, J.), Judge Kim Gibson of the Western District Federal Court granted a Defendant's Post-Trial Motion for remittitur in a case in which the jury entered a verdict in excess of $47 million dollars in a medical malpractice case.

The case arose out of allegations of medical malpractice associated with the infant Plaintiff suffering disfigurement when his head was wrapped in ACE bandage shortly after birth.  The court noted that while there was evidence that the infant was permanently disfigured and that hair would not grow in certain spots, there was evidence that such conditions could improve with time and that there was no brain damage or cognitive impairment suffered by the child.

After reviewing the standards applicable to motions for remittitur, the court found that the jury's verdict shocked the judicial conscience.  The court noted that, under the law, if the motion to remit is granted, the award cannot be lowered to below an amount that does not shock the judicial conscience.
It was also noted by the court that the law requires that the Plaintiff be given the option of a new trial on damages in conjunction with the order on the reduced amount of the verdict that will be allowed by the court.

The court reduced the $43.75 million dollar non-economic damages portion of the verdict to $16 million and gave the Plaintiff's 14 days to consider whether to accept the Court's ruling or to proceed to a new trial on damages.

Anyone wishing to review this decision may click this LINK.

Source:  Article:  "Judge Cuts $47M Med Mal Verdict by Half, Finding It 'Shocks the Judicial Conscience."  By Max Mitchell.  The Legal Intelligencer (July 30, 2018).

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