Plaintiff Atty Says $31.5M+ Med Mal Verdict Largest in AZ History - Watch Trial Online via CVN

Posted by David Siegel on Nov 21, 2023 1:55:18 PM

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CVN screenshot of plaintiff attorney Gary Dordick delivering his closing argument

Phoenix, AZ - An Arizona state court jury has awarded more than $31.5 million in a childbirth malpractice lawsuit that attorneys for the plaintiff describe as the largest in the state’s history, and the full trial was recorded gavel-to-gavel by Courtroom View Network.

The Maricopa County jury returned the verdict on November 17 in a trial that began in late October. Plaintiff Krystle Griepentrog accused defendant Banner Health of administering a medication that caused her son Greyson to suffer severe brain damage during his delivery.

Griepentrog’s attorneys argued medical staff at Banner-run University Medical Center repeatedly gave Krystle the drug Pitocin in 2014 to strengthen her contractions despite Greyson showing signs of oxygen deprivation that should have barred the use of the drug and called for an immediate c-section. They maintain the lack of oxygen caused Greyson to develop cerebral palsy.

Banner Health, which said it respectfully disagrees with the verdict and is considering an appeal, maintained Greyson’s symptoms were the result of pre-existing neurological issues separate from the delivery.

The jury assigned 57 percent liability to banner and 43 percent liability to Dr. Laurie Erickson, one of Griepentrog’s doctors who reached a confidential settlement and was no longer an active party in the case when it went to trial.

The full trial, including all witness testimony, was recorded gavel-to-gavel by Courtroom View Network. Monthly and annual subscribers to CVN’s online trial video library get unlimited on-demand access to the full trial and hundreds more featuring many of the top plaintiff and defense attorneys from throughout the country.

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Attorney Gary Dordick of Dordick Law, who represented the plaintiffs, told CVN after the trial Banner made no settlement offers before or during the trial. He said he made a settlement demand of $30 million, following a pre-trial statutory settlement demand of $7 million.

Attorneys for Banner did not respond to a request from CVN for comment.

The fact the jury’s eventual verdict surpassed $7 million means the verdict will include an addition $2 million in fees and costs according to Dordick’s co-counsel Brian Snyder of Snyder & Wenner PC, who described the verdict as the largest medical malpractice award in Arizona history.

Dordick said the historic nature of the verdict has broader implications for other malpractice cases in the state.

“The defendant insurance companies, particular in medical malpractice cases, have been successful in convincing the lawyers that juries will not award substantial damages in Arizona like they do in other states,” Dordick told CVN. “I think we proved that wrong and now the plaintiffs lawyers will be demanding more money on their cases and raising the bar for everyone.”

Dordick’s co-counsel Christopher Bulone added that he feels the verdict will specifically impact the way medications like Pitocin are administered during complicated deliveries.

“I expect hospitals will now begin to implement systems to enforce rules on stopping Pitocin when heart tracings become non-reassuring,” Bulone said.

Both Dordick and Bulone praised Krystle and Greyson for pursuing a lawsuit that took nearly a decade and faced long odds against one of the largest employers in Arizona.

“They were both amazing, and the type of people that a jury would like to find a way to help if it all supported by the evidence and the law,” Dordick said.

“People like them give meaning and purpose to the lives and careers of lawyers,” added Bulone.

The trial took place before Judge John Blanchard.

The case is captioned Griepentrog v. Banner Health, case number CV2020-052367 in Maricopa County Superior Court, Arizona.

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Topics: Medical Malpractice