On June 28, 2016, attorneys John Simon and Tim Cronin of The Simon Law Firm, P.C., secured a $17.6 million verdict for their client Brian Koon and his wife. Koon was prescribed over 37,000 painkillers between 2008 and 2012 – an amount that dramatically exceeds the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended levels.
At the time, Koon was under the primary care of Dr. Henry D. Walden for back pain. Over time, Koon’s prescriptions increased and he eventually found himself taking three different opioids: OxyContin, oxycodone, and Vicodin. Eventually, Koon entered a drug rehab program for opioid addiction due to the ever-increasing amount of prescription painkillers he was taking.
In the jury’s verdict, Koon was awarded $1.4 million, and his wife $1.2 million. An additional $15 million was also awarded in punitive damages against Walden and his employer, Saint Louis University.
“Our country is in the middle of an opioid addiction epidemic,” said Cronin in his opening statement. Koon’s case is a terrifying example of that problem. According to the CDC’s guidelines, the average daily dose of morphine-equivalent opioids shouldn’t exceed 100 milligrams, but between 2008 and 2012, Koon’s dosage increased from an equivalent of 49 milligrams up to 1,555 milligrams every day.
Moreover, this case was larger than just two people seeking the financial compensation they deserved; this case could cause a shift in the way this country handles prescription painkillers and the growing addiction epidemic causing irreparable damage across the nation. Before the jury deliberated on punitive damages, Cronin stated, “Send a message from coast to coast that this is not going to happen anymore.”
At The Simon Law Firm, P.C., our St. Louis medical malpractice attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients whose lives have been affected by this epidemic. If you are interested in speaking with one of our attorneys, fill out the form on our website or give us a call at (314) 241-2929.