This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Nevada Jury Considering Hepatitis C Punitive Award

By KEN RITTER

LAS VEGAS (AP) â¿¿ A Nevada jury ordered the state's largest health management organization on Tuesday to pay $500 million in punitive damages to three plaintiffs in a civil negligence lawsuit stemming from a Las Vegas hepatitis outbreak.

Two companies â¿¿ both subsidiaries of publicly traded UnitedHealth Group Inc. â¿¿ signed a low-bid contract with the physician who ran the clinic where the outbreak started, despite warnings that he sped through procedures and pinched pennies at his clinics so much that patients were at risk of contracting blood-borne diseases, attorneys for those suing the companies argued.

They had sought almost $2.5 billion, telling the jury of five women and three men on Monday that a record amount would show health corporations they couldn't put profits ahead of patient safety. The jury instead assessed a $270 million punishment from Health Plan of Nevada and $230 million from parent company Sierra Health Services.

The smaller award wasn't a disappointment, said Robert Eglet, attorney for plaintiffs Bonnie and Carl Brunson, both in their 70s.

"The jury sent a strong message not only to HPN and Sierra Health, but to every HMO and health insurance company in this country," Eglet said. "You've got to provide a fair and responsible reimbursement rate to medical providers so that they are able to provide quality health care to their insured members."

Plaintiff Helen Meyer, 76, declared herself "very happy." She was represented by attorney Will Kemp.

The companies derided the award, promising to appeal and warning that it could drive up health insurance rates if it stands.

"The number announced today ... represents fantasy damages, not punitive damages," said a statement from company spokesman Tyler Mason. "The only numbers that matter here are the higher insurance premiums that Nevadans may pay if health plans are held liable for the criminal conduct of independent doctors."

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG

Markets

Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,598.20 -91.66 -0.52%
S&P 500 2,098.04 -5.80 -0.28%
NASDAQ 5,115.3820 -12.8990 -0.25%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs