Mercy East Clinic

Attorneys for Mercy Hospitals East Communities and Dr. Bryan J. Menges have filed an appeal in the largest malpractice judgment ever handed out by a Franklin County jury.

Last November, Vincent Lowe, 55, Union, was awarded more than $14.2 million in medical negligence damages against two Mercy doctors and two hospital subsidiaries.

According to court documents, Lowe presented at Mercy Hospital Washington emergency department with abdominal pain April 30, 2014.

In his complaint, he contends the Mercy Clinic East Communities accepted him for the purpose of providing medical, surgical, emergency treatment and services to him. But instead Mercy’s agents, employees and staff breached those duties.

The appeal filed Wednesday in the Missouri Eastern District Court of Appeals is asking the higher court to overturn the Franklin County Jury’s original judgment signed by 20th Judicial Circuit Associate Circuit Judge Stanley Williams.

Since Dec. 1, 2017, seven post-judgment motions have been filed, including one for a new trial on specific exhibits in the lawsuit.

After the original malpractice amount was awarded, Lowe then sought an amended judgment for an additional $3.3 million in interest on the $14.2 million award.

The appeal also requests throwing out any and all posttrial amended judgments, orders and previous calls for a new trial.

Jury Award

The original judgment, signed Nov. 3, 2017, states Lowe will receive a total of $12,820,990 for past economic damages, past noneconomic damages, future medical damages and future noneconomic damages.

The judgment states Dr. Bryan Menges, D.O., and Mercy Hospital East Communities will be responsible for $9,259,604, or 65 percent of the total judgment.

Dr. James Cassat, M.D., and Mercy Clinic East Communities will be responsible for $3,561,386, or 25 percent of the settlement.

Lowe’s 10 percent fault of $1,424,554 was subtracted from the original $14.2 million award.

The jury trial was conducted between Oct. 30 and Nov. 3, 2017.

The malpractice case was originally filed in March 2016 and the alleged incident occurred in April 2014.

An amended judgment in February 2018 gave Mercy Hospitals 26 years to pay the more than $12.8 million in damages to Lowe in installments.

Past economic damages of $1,570,990, and $900,000 in past noneconomic damages, will be paid immediately.

Additionally, $900,000 in future noneconomic damages will be split into two payments of $450,000 each paid on an annual basis.

The largest sum of $9,450,000 in future medical damages would be paid to Lowe in periodic installments as well. He would receive $988,134 immediately, $778,638 each year for years two through five and $707,486 per year for years six through 10.

At year 11, the annual payments will drop to $113,117 annually until the award is fully paid at year 26.

Largest

If upheld by the appeals court, the judgment would be the largest medical negligence award in Franklin County history and the second highest of any jury decision.

The top distinction goes to the Doncasters Inc. civil suit in 2006 after a plane crash near Sullivan where the families of seven victims received a total of $48 million in punitive and wrongful death awards by county jurors.

The suit stemmed from the DeHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter plane crash on July 29, 2006, just after takeoff at the Sullivan Regional Airport.

The plaintiffs argued that an aftermarket parts dealer used a substandard alloy to make the plane’s blade which caused the crash.

After the trial, former Franklin County Presiding Judge Gael Wood dismissed the punitive damage awards. A Missouri appeals court later affirmed the $48 million verdict for the families.