We rejoice this victory together with the Bonilla and Clark households . . . This verdict sends a powerful, clear message that insurance coverage corporations . . . should maintain their guarantees to their insureds.”
In 2013, PULIC refused to defend and indemnify its insured physician after he was sued for the wrongful dying of a number of sufferers who died on account of his overprescribing of opiates. The last decade of insurance coverage unhealthy religion litigation got here to an finish with a brave verdict by an Albuquerque jury on Tuesday, January 17, 2023.
The case dates again to July 2012, when PULIC obtained discover that its insured, Pawankumar Jain, M.D. of Las Cruces, was accused by the New Mexico Medical Board of overprescribing opioids ensuing within the dying of no less than 17 sufferers. Two of the 17 sufferers have been Ruben Bonilla, Jr. and Serina Clark. Mr. Bonilla died from Dr. Jain’s injudicious prescribing of morphine in August 2010. He was 43 and was survived by 11 youngsters. Days later, Ms. Clark died from Dr. Jain’s injudicious prescribing of opioids and different medicines. She was 28 and was survived by three younger youngsters.
Upon studying of the 17 deaths, PULIC instantly canceled Dr. Jain’s insurance coverage coverage. PULIC, nevertheless, selected to not file the 17 affected person deaths in its claims system.
A 12 months later, in August 2013, the households of Ruben Bonilla, Jr. (represented by McGraw Legislation) and Serina Clark (represented by Davis Kelin) sued Dr. Jain for medical malpractice leading to wrongful dying. PULIC denied Dr. Jain a protection to the lawsuits, asserting that its insured had did not well timed file the claims, regardless of it being on discover of the 17 affected person deaths earlier than it cancelled his coverage.
then filed for chapter safety. The Bonilla and Clark households have been the one collectors with claims within the chapter. In 2016, the US Chapter Trustee filed swimsuit in opposition to PULIC on Dr. Jain’s behalf for PULIC’s failure to defend and indemnify its insured in opposition to the Bonilla and Clark wrongful dying lawsuits. In 2017, Dr. Jain’s chapter property paid the 2 households roughly $680k
and assigned the insurance coverage unhealthy religion lawsuit to them.
The case continued into 2020, when a New Mexico District Courtroom held that PULIC owed Dr. Jain a protection and indemnity for the Bonilla and Clark wrongful dying lawsuits in 2013, that PULIC breached its insurance coverage contract with Dr. Jain, and it violated New Mexico’s Unfair Insurance coverage Practices Act.
In November 2022, the District Courtroom additionally discovered that PULIC violated the Unfair Insurance coverage Practices Act in three extra methods.
After lower than two hours of deliberation, on January 17, 2023, an Albuquerque jury decided that PULIC additionally willfully violated the Unfair Practices Act and engaged in punitive conduct, leading to a $52 million verdict for punitive damages, roughly half of PULIC’s internet price.
“We rejoice this victory together with the Bonilla and Clark households. These two households stayed the course for 10 years to acquire justice and accountability. This verdict sends a powerful, clear message that insurance coverage corporations that function in New Mexico should maintain their guarantees to their insureds,” mentioned Mollie McGraw of McGraw Legislation, LLC.
“We’re honored to have secured this verdict for the households who’ve misplaced family members too quickly, on account of medical malpractice,” mentioned Ben Davis, Davis Kelin Principal. “So as to add insult to the ache and devastation these households confronted, they have been unable to have justice enforced for over a decade on account of unfair insurance coverage practices. Whereas nothing can change the family members they misplaced, we’re working to command extra accountability from insurance coverage corporations and deter different insurance coverage corporations from partaking in related conduct.”
McGraw Legislation, LLC.