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Sixth Circuit Remands Wrongful Death Case to Reduce Punitive Damage Award

Dorothy V. Freudeman was an elderly lady in poor health who was a resident of the Landing of Canton, (Ohio), an assisted living facility. While there she was apparently mistakenly given anti-diabetic medication, which resulted in permanent brain damage and caused her health to deteriorate. She died fifteen month later, having spent those final months in a “semi-comatose state,” according to the decision.

In reviewing the jury verdict handed down at the district court level in a case brought by the decedent’s estate, the Appellate Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the res ipsa loquiator instruction was proper, given that all medications given the decedent were handled only by the defendant. It overruled any accusation of judicial misconduct on the part of the trial judge, stating that he had properly ruled in the favor of the plaintiff on several motions during trial, and that the punitive damage instructions given the jury by the court were appropriate.

The defendants obtained relief on only their last point, the Appellate Court reversing and remanding the case “with instructions to reduce the punitive damage award to $800,000,” from $1,250,000. See: Freudeman v. The Landing of Canton, 702 F.3d 318 (6th Cir. 2012).

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Related legal case

Freudeman v. The Landing of Canton