Type Miscast: The Reasoning Behind Jury's $7.5 Million Punitive Award After Tragic Diabetes Misdiagnosis
During the trial over punitive damages, Hayt went further. He noted that, since her initial deposition, Mercado had changed her statements about who gave Irma the appointment card.
Hayt argued in court:
She identified her 12-year-old nephew as a person who had issued that card, so she went from blaming the mother to now blaming a child, thinking that, "Hey, if I blame a child, who's gonna think that a child did anything wrong? Nothing's gonna happen to this kid, right?" That's a good excuse. Well, that excuse didn't work either. Somewhere along the lines, she realized, "Whoops, better not use that excuse because that doesn't get me out of this mess, shifting the blame to a child. Still, my office, I gotta run it and I have to run it properly." So what did she do? She switched it to some other nephew. She didn't tell us which one, just one of her other nephews, an older nephew, okay; never gave a reason for that, and that says a lot, why she didn't.
Jurors agreed. Nicanor's legal team asked for a $10 million punitive verdict and the jury gave her almost all of it.
As Gavrin noted, "Seven million dollars is not petty cash that anyone has laying around. It's not covered by insurance. It's a paper judgment. There's different ways that you can get some of it, but $7 million, that sends quite a message."
The jury's award is not final. Mercado's lawyers have filed a motion to reduce the punitive verdict, and the judge is contemplating it, perhaps to a sum that Mercado could realistically pay. Hayt tells the Voice that he anticipates a lower final judgement.
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