The implications and precedent set by the $500,000 legal costs awarded in a landmark medical malpractice lawsuit.
Neinstein Lawyers’ recent article explains how the abuse allegations at the Oak Ridge psychiatric facility have finally been resolved after a lengthy investigation. The 27 victims have waited decades, in some cases more than 50 years, to be compensated $9 million for the harm they endured at Oak Ridge.
After a drawn-out inquiry, abuse claims at the psychiatric facility in Oak Ridge have been adjudicated. The victims had experienced an unexpectedly long waiting period before receiving $9 million in damages for the injury they suffered at Oak Ridge. However, as the attorneys at Neinstein point out, the significance is more in the compensation for court costs than it is in the actual victory.
A beneficial precedent for plaintiffs in future medical malpractice cases is set by the fact that the plaintiffs earned more than $500,000 in legal fees.
Ontario Court of Appeal
The judgement of damages and costs was challenged by the appellants before the Ontario Court of Appeal. The court partially overturned the assault finding and reduced the damages, making the appeal partially successful. In the end, the lawsuit came to a conclusion when the Supreme Court of Canada declined to consider the appeal, ending it and paying the 27 victims over $9 million in damages.
The government and the two doctors contended that the respondents’ claims of costs be lowered from the $516,553.35 that had been requested as compensation because they had been only partially successful at appeal.
The appeal was rejected by Justices Hourigan, Trotter, and Zarnett, who concluded that “the trial judgement remained largely intact” notwithstanding the court’s “mixed success.” They pointed out that the sums illustrated the 71-day trial’s complexity.
The court determined that “the respondents took reasonable efforts to uphold the judgement against the combined forces of the government of Ontario and the insurers for the two Physicians,” acknowledging the difficult burden that victims and medical malpractice attorneys in Toronto face. Despite the appeal’s partial success, there was no justification for cutting the costs that were demanded.
The decision helps to lessen risks for plaintiffs, given the complexity of medical malpractice litigation. It indicates that courts acknowledge the time and money victims and attorneys for medical malpractice must dedicate to prove the claim.
Medical malpractice litigation can be difficult and expensive, there is no getting around it. Costs may increase quickly due to medical examinations, discovery, expert witnesses, and the amount of time medical malpractice lawyers must devote.
This Ontario Court of Appeal’s judgment demonstrates how courts are considerate of the resources plaintiffs must spend in order to overcome the disadvantages the medical establishment enjoys.
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From Neinstein Lawyers