Kentucky Court of Appeals Decisions (Minutes) for December 6, 2013 (Nos. 1097-1104).
8 decisions were announced by COA this date, with one of those decisions designated “To Be Published”).
For a copy of this week’s minutes filed at the AOC web site, click here.
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Short summary of the published decisions for this week are (click on the link for the full text of the decision from AOC):
1100. Medical Negligence. Punitive damages. Ratification and gross negligence.
Saint Joseph Healthcare, Inc. vs. Thomas, Adm’or of Est. Larry O’Neil
MAZE, JUDGE: Following a prior appeal, this Court remanded this matter to the Fayette Circuit Court for a new trial on punitive damages against the Appellant, St. Joseph Healthcare, Inc., d/b/a St. Joseph Hospital (“the Hospital”). At the conclusion of that trial, the jury awarded punitive damages against the Hospital in favor of the Appellee, Larry O’Neil Thomas, as Administrator of the Estate of James “Milford” Gray, (“the Estate”). The Hospital now appeals from orders by the Fayette Circuit Court denying its motion for a directed verdict on the Estate’s punitive damages claim, and on its post-judgment motions for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) and for a new trial.
The Hospital argues that a directed verdict was appropriate because the Estate failed to present sufficient evidence that it ratified the conduct of its employees or that the conduct amounted to gross negligence. The Hospital also argues that it was entitled to a new trial based upon misconduct of a juror, errors in the instructions, and the jury’s excessive award of punitive damages. With respect to the directed verdict issue, we conclude that the Estate presented sufficient evidence of ratification and gross negligence to submit the matters to the jury. In addition, we find that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the Hospital’s motions for a new trial. Hence, we affirm.