Bayport family awarded $130M malpractice claim against Port Jefferson hospital
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A jury has awarded $130 million to a Bayport family after finding that medical malpractice in the delivery of a baby girl at a Port Jefferson hospital resulted in her being born with severe disabilities.
Attorneys on both sides called the figure -- which includes $92.5 million for past and future pain and suffering -- one of the highest known medical malpractice verdicts in the state.
Thomas A. Moore of Manhattan, who represented the family of Shannon Reilly, who is now 10 years old, called the amount of the verdict almost unprecedented while his opponent, Peter Kopff of Garden City, said he was surprised, vowing to ask the trial judge, State Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguilo in Riverhead, to set aside the verdict and grant a new trial.
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"The Reilly family has asked me to convey that the agony of the last 10 years has finally ended in that they are now confident that their daughter will be protected for the rest of her life," said Moore, referring to the funds that the jury awarded for rehabilitation and treatment.
Shannon Reilly, who attends the Eastern Suffolk BOCES Premm Learning Center, was born Nov. 1, 2002, with cerebral palsy after being delivered at St. Charles Hospital and Rehabilitation Center. Shannon can't speak, walk, write or even swallow without help, the attorneys said.
The jury found that St. Charles "departed from accepted obstetrical practice" in several ways, resulting in Shannon being deprived of oxygen just before birth, court records show, resulting in brain damage.
The verdict comes after a protracted legal battle that included three trials.
In 2009, the Reillys rejected an $8 million settlement offer by the hospital's insurance company and a jury later found against the family. But the state Appellate Division reversed that verdict and ordered a new trial. The second trial ended in a hung jury and mistrial, prompting the most recent court battle.
"We're disappointed," said Peter Kopff, who represents the hospital. He added that he will ask Garguilo to set aside the jury's verdict and grant a new trial or lower the award. If that fails, he said, he plans to appeal the case to a higher court.
"I was shocked that we didn't win the case," he said.