Justinian C. Lane, Esq.
Let Justice Be Done, Though the Heavens May Fall

Justinian Lane's Blog

Justinian's Blog

Did "reform" rhetoric result in an improper jury verdict?

Or maybe the plaintiffs' attorneys didn't explain that money is the only punishment the jury can dole out:

Pittsburgh attorneys are seeking a new trial in a medical malpractice case in which a jury found a hospital negligent in a patient's death but awarded $0 survival damages because the jury said "no amount of damages will adequately punish" the hospital.

The case was tried in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court before a 12-member jury in May.

Michael Rettger, 24, died after his brain abscess allegedly was not treated in time by the staff at the Pittsburgh hospital he was admitted to, according to the plaintiffs' pretrial statement.

The jury found in its May 23 verdict that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center at Shadyside's care of Rettger fell below the standard of medical care and was a factual cause of harm to Rettger, according to the jury statement attached to the verdict form. The jury awarded $2.5 million in Wrongful Death Act damages, but awarded zero dollars in Survival Act damages.

"After eight days of testimony in the case of Rettger v. UPMC Shadyside, it is the unanimous opinion of the jury that no amount of damages will adequately punish UPMC," the jury statement said. "It is our belief that UPMC Shadyside's policies, culture, and lack of competent supervision resulted in the death of Michael Rettger."

Source: Law.com - Med-Mal Jury Says 'No Amount' Will Adequately Punish Hospital

Imagine this in a criminal context: "No amount of jail time will adequately punish the defendant, so he gets none."  Doesn't work, does it?