Kennedy v. Wheeler should prove to be a landmark case in the state of Oregon. The December
11, 2014 ruling looks to change established laws regarding how to award
economic and noneconomic damages for plaintiffs suing on grounds of personal
medical malpractice suits.
Previously, the nine (at least) jurors who agreed to the amount of compensation
for economic damages had to be the very same nine who agreed to non-economic
compensation. In the event that a different set of nine or more jurors
agreed, the judge would ask the jurors to deliberate further and if no
agreement on both amounts of compensation could be reached, the jury would
be declared "hung."
Breaking Established Law for More Effective Rulings
This recent ruling came out of a 2007 car accident after Kelsey Wheeler
struck Amber Kennedy, resulting in "extensive and lasting pain"
for the plaintiff's tailbone. The trial wrapped up in spring of 2011
with jurors voting unanimously that Wheeler was at fault and ten of the
jurors concurring on the amount of economic damages. However, a different
nine agreed to an amount of non-economic damages for Kennedy's pain
Yamhill County Circuit Court Judge Carroll Tichenor broke with tradition
and agreed to the jury's findings. The Oregon Court of Appeals reversed
the trial judge in August 2013 and on December 11, 2014 the Oregon Supreme
Court reinstated the original verdict.
This move on the part of the Oregon Supreme Court can only serve to benefit
future plaintiffs suing for any kind of injuries caused by car accidents,
other accidents, and medical malpractice. In the future, only nine out
of twelve jurors will be needed to agree on questions regarding economic
and non-economic damages without the requirement that they be the same
nine jurors. In all likelihood, this will result in a higher success rate
for plaintiffs suing for damages in court.
If you suffered harm as a result of negligence on behalf of a doctor or
get in touch with The Law Offices of Patrick L. Block, P.C. to learn about your legal options to pursue fair compensation.