$44 Million Personal Injury Verdict
The firm of Leeseberg & Valentine is pleased to report that on September 28, 2018, it obtained a verdict of $44 million in the case of Metts v. Athens Medical Lab after a two-week jury trial in Franklin County, Ohio. The verdict is believed to be the largest personal injury verdict in state history in an individual tort case for personal injury or medical malpractice.
The case was brought on behalf of Bradley Metts and his parents. Bradley was 9 years old when his parents took him to his pediatrician’s office because of an ear infection, where it was not diagnosed and treated with antibiotics. As a result, his infection spread into his brain and caused a rare and dangerous subdural posterior fossa empyema. This caused a brainstem herniation due to severe increased intracranial pressure, causing catastrophic brain damage, leaving Bradley permanently “locked in”: He was paralyzed and only able to move his eyes, through which he has learned to communicate using a letter board and other assisted communication devices such as a gaze pad, which relies on retinal scan recognition.
In addition to the pediatrician’s office, a local laboratory was named as a defendant because it lost critical abnormal blood test results indicating the presence of infection. This contributed to the failure of the pediatrician’s office to timely diagnose and treat the infection. Also, the hospital, where Bradley was eventually taken for surgery to treat his infection, was named as a defendant for failing to properly monitor him following neurosurgery and failing to respond promptly to indications that Bradley was developing intracranial hypertension by relieving the pressure that was building up inside his brain. The pediatrician’s office and hospital defendants settled the claims against them, and the case went to trial against Athens Medical Lab only.
At trial, Bradley was able to introduce himself to the jury using his gaze pad. Evidence was submitted indicating that it would require $19 million to cover the costs of future medical care for Bradley and another $3 million for past medical bills. An economist testified that Bradley’s inability to work in the future would result in lost earnings of another $2 million. Additionally, the Leeseberg & Valentine trial team asked the jury to award an additional $20 million to compensate Bradley and his parents for Bradley’s devastating injury and the complete destruction of their normal family life. In his closing argument, lead trial attorney Gerry Leeseberg recommended an award of at least $42 million, and the jury responded with its verdict of $44.5 million.
The litigation took over four years to complete. The defendants refused to admit any mistakes were made in Bradley’s care and identified a combined 27 expert witnesses to contest every aspect of the claims asserted on behalf of Bradley and his family. Eventually, due to the persistence and determination of the Leeseberg & Valentine trial team, justice was obtained for this incredible, deserving family. It was an honor to represent them and incredibly satisfying to be able to obtain the funds necessary to improve their quality of life to the extent possible given the horrific nature of the injury suffered by Bradley.