New Apportionment Statute Comes into Play in Med Mal Verdict

Case Caption: James and Roxana Schultz v. Bram Wieskopk, M.D., Civil Action File No. 10-SC-0695-AJ
Court:  Cherokee County State Court
Judge:  Hon. Alan Jordan
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Philip Henry, Clay Milling, Henry Spiegel Milling
Defendant’s Attorneys: Jonathan Peters, Peters & Monyak
Alleged Damages: $8 million for failure to diagnose prostate cancer
Verdict: Defense verdict
Date of Verdict: July 19, 2012

Summary: 
Plaintiff and his wife sought $8 million for the Defendant physician’s failure to diagnose Plaintiff’s prostate cancer before it metastasized to his pelvis and lymph nodes.  Testimony from Plaintiff’s two experts that earlier detection and surgical intervention could have saved Plaintiff’s life went largely unchallenged.

The case turned on the so-called empty chair – the urologist who treated Plaintiff for two years and failed to monitor Plaintiff’s PSA levels to screen for prostate cancer.  The Defendant doctor, an internist, testified that he had trusted the urologist, a specialist, to monitor his patient’s PSA and had no knowledge that the tests were not being performed.  The urologist had settled out prior to trial but remained on the verdict form.

Plaintiffs asked the jury to apportion fault equally between the two physicians however, they returned a verdict in favor of the named Defendant internist.

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