Denton v. Edward Chu, M.D., Cardiovascular Center of Hampton Roads, Inc., and Riverside Physician Services, Inc. – $4.5M

Location: Circuit Court for the City of Hampton
Jury Verdict: $25,000,000.00 plus interest totaling $4,495,205.49

The $25,000,000 plus interest verdict awarded by a jury yesterday in the City of Hampton is believed to be on of the largest Medical Malpractice verdict in the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as the largest personal injury verdict in Hampton. Represented by Jason W. Konvicka and Malcolm P. McConnell, III of the law firm of Allen & Allen, the plaintiff was misdiagnosed by Riverside Physicians Services for a heart condition that ultimately resulted in a debilitating heart attack.

In January 2010, the plaintiff, age 37, experienced a sudden onset of crushing chest pain radiating into his jaw and left arm. He was rushed to Riverside Walter Reed Hospital by Ambulance where he was examined and treated with heart medication. He was then transferred to Riverside Regional Medical Center when we underwent a cardiac catheterization allowing the cardiologist, Dr. Edward Chu, to examine the plaintiff ‘s coronary arteries for potential blockage.

Although the cardiac catheterization test results showed a 70% blockage of a main heart artery, Dr. Chu reported that the plaintiff’s heart arteries were clear and free from disease. Dr. Chu discontinued the plaintiff’s heart medication, diagnosed him with a virus and sent him home on over the counter anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil.

The plaintiff’s chest pain continued but both he and subsequent doctors depended on Dr. Chu’s diagnosis until April 2010 when the plaintiff suffered a sudden massive heart attack. Whereas the plaintiff had previously been a fit, healthy owner of a landscaping business, the heart attack destroyed half of his heart function and has left him, now at age 41, permanently disabled.

Because of his heart attack, the plaintiff has been forced to undergo a total of seven additional cardiac catheterizations and heart by-pass surgery. He is likely to require a heart transplant in the next five years and his life expectancy has been reduced to 17 years.

The case, Denton v. Edward Chu, M.D., Cardiovascular Center of Hampton Roads, Inc., and Riverside Physician Services, Inc. (Case No. CL12-94) was tried in the Circuit Court for the City of Hampton over four days, beginning on February 11, 2013. The jury awarded $25,000,000 plus interest totaling $4,495,204.49. The verdict is believed to be the largest plaintiff’s verdict in a medical malpractice case in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Post-trial motions regarding the constitutionality of the medical malpractice cap are pending.

Court/Case #: Circuit Court for the City of Hampton; Case No.: CL12-94
Name of Judge: Honorable Louis R. Lerner
Amount: $25,000,000.00 plus interest totaling $4,495,205.49
Date of Verdict: February 14, 2013
Insurance Carrier: The Medical Protective Company
Highest Offer: $1,100,000.00
Lowest Demand: $1,850,000.00