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July 2021, a Clay County jury deliberated for over 6 hours and returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case involving a young woman with a history of psychiatric disorders and a history of suicide attempts and ideations. The young woman immersed herself with hairspray, got in her bathtub, and set herself on fire a week after she was discharged from the hospital without adequate psychiatric medications. The jury awarded plaintiff a total of $806,000. This included $560,000 in past and future noneconomic damages. However, a 2015 Missouri law limits the amount of noneconomic damages to $400,000 in lawsuits against healthcare providers. However, in cases involving catastrophic injuries, a $700,000 cap applies.

Over the course of the appellant proceedings, defendant’s attorneys argued that plaintiff’s injuries were healed by her skin grafts. Plaintiff’s attorney, Timothy Cronin, confirmed the severity and permanence of plaintiff’s injuries. The Western District Appellate Court concurred that plaintiff met the statutory requirement of “irreversible failure of one or more major organ systems.” The Judges’ ruling affirmed that plaintiff meets the criteria for the higher noneconomic cap. “The ruling allows Harned (plaintiff) to retain the entirety of the $806,000 a Clay County jury awarded her last year.”

Full article: Appeals court OKs higher cap for burn injury

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