COURTS Judge overturns case due to excessive award



The plaintiff's attorney said he would appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- A judge has overturned a $30 million medical malpractice award against a doctor and the now-defunct Mount Sinai Medical Center in the case of a 17-year-old whose brain was damaged at birth.
Retired Judge Robert Lawther, presiding in a Cuyahoga County courtroom, threw out the award in a victory for Dr. Ronald Jordan and the former Cleveland hospital. The judge said the award was excessive and had mistakenly been based on passion and prejudice.
A jury had ruled in May that Jordan and Mount Sinai had been negligent in delaying Walter Hollins' delivery while his mother, Regina Harris, waited two hours for an emergency Caesarean section.
Hollins has cerebral palsy, can't use his arms or legs and has the mental capacity of a 1-year-old.
Getting personal
Lawther criticized the plaintiff's attorney, Geoffrey Fieger of Southfield, Mich., who is best known for defending Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the assisted-suicide doctor. The judge characterized Fieger's courtroom conduct as "overbearing, discourteous and rude" and his trial technique as "designed to manipulate and mislead the jury."
Fieger responded Thursday by calling Lawther a rogue judge who slept through half the trial. The 77-year-old Lawther denied the allegation.
Fieger said he would appeal the ruling and ask the Ohio Supreme Court to remove Lawther from the case due to prejudice.
Defense lawyers Joseph Farchione Jr. and Marc Groedel praised the judge for overturning the award.
Although Mount Sinai no longer exists, a $77 million insurance fund remains.

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