Medical Malpractice Cases: Tops in '95

Article excerpt

Medical malpractice cases produced the most frequent awards from lawsuits during 1995, including five of the top 10 monetary verdicts, according to a national legal journal.

Medical malpractice verdicts ranged from $40 million to $98.5 million, Lawyers Weekly USA reports in a special edition scheduled for publication today.

Three of the biggest awards involved injuries to babies during childbirth.

Product liability was the next most frequent category, accounting for three of the top 10 verdicts - with awards ranging from $70 million to $350 million.

Missouri was the most hospitable state for plaintiffs last year, according to the Boston-based, biweekly newspaper. The state had four verdicts among the top six.

The year's biggest award came in a Florida case brought by the family of a 9-year-old who died after opening an unlocked trash container that a Tampa company had filled illegally with toxic chemicals.

A jury awarded the family $500 million. But the responsible company, the William Recht Co., has gone out of business, and the family is still trying to collect from the owner, the newspaper reported.

A helicopter crash produced two of the largest product liability verdicts in Missouri history. The verdicts - for $350 million and $70 m illion - favored relatives of two people killed when when their French-made Turbomeca helicopter went down with engine trouble.

The manufacturer admitted that it had continued to use a dangerous engine component to save money.

A mother whose baby was deprived of oxygen for 10 minutes during delivery won $98. …