The Tenth Trial

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On Friday a Lowndes County jury in Columbus awarded $2.4 million to the plaintiff in Blevins v. Holzhauer. Here is the Columbus Dispatch article on the verdict.
From the article:
According to circuit court records, Hamilton resident Talanda Blevins sued Dr. James Holzhauer for negligence in 2016, two years after her uterus ruptured while she was at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle giving birth. After Blevins delivered the baby, Holzhauer performed four surgeries within a few hours, the last of which was an abdominal hysterectomy, in an attempt to stop Blevins’ blood loss.
The same day as the hysterectomy, another physician performed a fifth surgery, during which, Blevins argued, the physician had to repair damage to Blevins’ bladder and other organs which had been caused during the earlier surgeries.
Plaintiff has permanent urinary incontinence and difficulty standing for long periods.
It was a 9-3 verdict, meaning Plaintiff had no votes to spare.
The award included $1.2 million in economic damages and $1.2 million in non-economic damages. The $500,000 non-economic damages cap will reduce the judgment to $1.9 million.
Defendants were on an 18-0 winning streak in Lowndes County medical malpractice trials.
Charlie Merkel and Charles Merkel III with Merkel & Cocke in Clarksdale represented the Plaintiff. Whit Johnson with Currie Johnson in Flowood represented Defendant.
My Take:
Plaintiffs were due in Lowndes County. The thing about defendants winning 9 out of 10 trials is that plaintiffs still win sometimes. This was the tenth trial.
This is a good time to revisit the $500,000 non-economic damages cap. Due to a 2.1% annual inflation rate, the $500,000 is worth only $358,000 in 2002 dollars when the caps were enacted. That’s a loss in value of almost 30%. Is that fair? When does it become unfair?
At what point does the cap not increasing due to inflation make it unconstitutional? Opinions range from 2003 to never.

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