There was a stunning defense verdict last evening in Janzen v. Aspen Ridge Transitional Health Care, #1400906083, Third District Court for Salt Lake County (Judge Laura Scott). (See my earlier blog entry.)
I’ve not seen the special verdict form yet, but apparently the jury decided the plaintiffs had proved negligence on the part of the nurses at the care center, but did not prove that this negligence caused Genevieve Janzen’s death from the pulmonary embolism. (Perhaps the thinking being that Mrs. Janzen would have died anyway from the injuries incurred in the original car crash.)
The jury was out for about three hours, returning to render the verdict at 5:30 p.m.
Medical malpractice / wrongful death cases are always tough, but in mediation I often hear plaintiff’s lawyers being skeptical of the chances of a defense verdict on causation if they prove negligence. This verdict proves that nothing is to be taken for granted. Here’s another example.
This could have been a risky trial for the defense, with seven lines for damages on the verdict form– five adult children, the husband/widower, and the estate’s survival claim for Mrs. Janzen’s own general damages.
I will update this as I get more information.