Defendant Hospital Ordered to Costs & Attorneys’ Fees after Improper Closing Argument

RI Lawyers Weekly has the update on a case (involving the firm where I work) that we profiled here last summer: Vann v. Women and Infants Hospital:

A hospital must pay the attorneys’ fees of a medical-malpractice plaintiff after defense counsel’s improper closing argument caused a mistrial, a Superior Court judge has ruled.

The plaintiff argued that a fee award was appropriate because the defendant’s comments about the plaintiff’s expert witness during the closing amounted to an attempt to present an “anything is possible” causation theory that the judge had already prohibited.

Presiding Judge Alice B. Gibney agreed.

“[T]his case presents unique and different circumstances from those involving mere improper statements during a closing argument,” Gibney said. “Accordingly, this Court equitably fashions a remedy that requires Defendant to reimburse Plaintiffs for attorneys’ fees and costs related to [the expert]’s appearance at the first trial.”

The 14-page decision is Vann v. Women and Infants Hospital, Lawyers Weekly No. 61-174-10. The full text of the ruling can be found by clicking here.

Providence attorneys Miriam Weizenbaum and Amato A. DeLuca represented the plaintiff. Michael G. Sarli of Providence represented the defendant.


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