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Increasing or Decreasing Verdicts in Medcial Malpractice Cases

A New York trial judge has ordered a new trial on damages in the malpractice case of a businessman left permanently paralyzed after a stroke. The plaintiff was awarded $5 million in April after a jury trial. The judge, however, set aside the verdict last week with respect to damages, finding that the award was too low. The judge then entered judgment for approximately $18.4 million. Specifically, the judge found that the jury’s award of $1 million each for past and future pain and suffering to the plaintiff and his family deviated materially from what would be fair compensation, and thus increased the award to $5 million each. The plaintiff contended in the case that doctors at a hospital failed to diagnose what they called “classic symptoms” of a brain aneurysm that led to the stroke.

In Maryland, whether in medical malpractice cases or otherwise, it is possible for judges to increase or decrease a jury verdict, but it is very rare that judges increase such verdicts. It is practically unheard of for judges to increase a verdict so much.