Federal Judge Says “No” to Outrageous Jury Award

November 21, 2023

A magistrate judge for U.S. District Court in Minnesota has slashed a jury award in a medical liability claim against St. Cloud Orthopedic Associates in Sartell. 

The jury originally awarded a plaintiff $500,000 for past medical expenses and $800,000 for future medical expenses plus $10 million for past pain and suffering and $100 million for future pain and suffering. No claim was made for lost wages or lost earning capacity.

This verdict to date had been the largest award of its kind in Minnesota's history. 

The $111.3 million was awarded to a college student who had been taken by ambulance to St. Cloud Hospital in 2017 after fracturing his left leg. Surgery was performed by an on-call orthopedic surgeon. The patient returned six days later, and a different surgeon discovered that the patient had developed acute compartment syndrome, which lead to more than 20 additional surgeries.

In 2019, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit for failure to correctly evaluate his symptoms and treat his leg appropriately. 

Last month the federal judge ruled that the plaintiff must accept a newly decided $10 million award for noneconomic damages – down from $110 million. Or retry the case. The judge's ruling does not impact the $1.25 million award for economic damages

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