On Wednesday evening a Salt Lake (West Jordan) jury returned a $7,600,000 medical malpractice verdict in Laroque v. Sherrow and Clawson Properties, LLC, #200900624, Third District Court for Salt Lake County (Hon. Kristine Johnson).
This was an auto accident case involving a 25-year woman injured in an intersection collision. (Here’s the Complaint.) The allegations were that Ms. Payton Laroque took a left turn heading East off of the I-215 off-ramp onto 3300 South when Jeffery Sherrow, driving a Clawson Properties truck, ran a red light and hit her. The defense denied fault and also asserted comparative fault on the part of Ms. Laroque.
After the collision Ms. Laroque was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. When her symptoms began to evolve and worsen, physicians at the University of Utah diagnosed her as having POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). This is an autonomic nervous system disorder where a significant increase in heart rate accompanies the action of an individual going from lying to standing. Patients may develop POTS after a viral illness, serious infections, medical illness, pregnancy and trauma such as head injury.
POTS can lead to further serious and complex medical issues. In this case, those issues were alleged to be life-altering, including vision problems, psychological issues, daily migraines, disabling gastrointestinal problems, and other things. Ms. Laroque alleged she was permanently and completely disabled, and sought compensation for future care and services of $187,000/year for the rest of her life, as well as a complete loss of earning capacity.
The defendants questioned the diagnosis of POTS, the extent of future care needed, and the claimed inability to ever work again. For a list of witnesses, please refer to the rule 26 pretrial disclosures for plaintiffs and for defendants.
After a week-long trial, in its special verdict the jury found 100% fault on the defendants and awarded over 7.6 million dollars in damages:
- Past medicals of $43,000+
- Future medicals/services of $4,250,000
- Past lost wages of $94,000
- Future lost wages of $3,000,000
- Non-economic damages of $200,000
- Loss of consortium of $25,000 for the spouse
Insurance carrier for defendants: Auto-Owners Insurance.