Appellate court OKs $10M award in wrongful death suit against Laser Spine Institute
Oct 1, 2021
Alan Condon -
A Pennsylvania appeals court rejected arguments that a $10 million verdict in a patient death lawsuit against the now defunct Laser Spine Institute was so excessive that it required a new trial. Five details:
1. The case was brought to the Pennsylvania Superior Court after a lower court ruled that the $10 million award was disproportionately large when compared to awards plaintiffs in the state had won over the deaths of loved ones, according to court documents . 2. The lawsuit alleged that Tampa, Fla.-based Laser Spine Institute discharged the patient in question when she had a significant amount of Dilaudid, an anesthetic, in her system. The patient died hours later with postoperative instructions to take additional pain medicine. 3. A jury initially awarded the patient's estate $20 million — $10 million for wrongful death and $10 million under the Survival Act. A judge revoked the $10 million award under the Survival Act, and Laser Spine Institute appealed the wrongful death award. 4. In April 2020, an appellate court determined the $10 million award was excessive and vacated it. 5. In a Sept. 30 ruling that affirmed the $10 million award, the Pennsylvania Superior Court found that the award amount was "not against the weight of the evidence" and "determining how much a relationship is worth to survivors is a determination best suited for the collective life experience and impartial community viewpoint of a jury."