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A Stark County woman was awarded $1.6 million in her medical malpractice verdict after a 2004 abdominal surgery left her with the loss of 55 centimeters of her bowel, a life threatening infection and chronic diarrhea.

Now, the question is, whether the award will remain $1.6 million or will it shrink under the 2003 state legislation that capped medical malpractice damages.

The issue at hand is not only important to this case, but possibly the entire state. “This may be one of the first cases in the state that is dealing with caps,” said Stark County common Pleas Court Judge Lee Sinclair.

The Ohio legislature capped pain-and-suffering awards in medical malpractice cases at between $500,000 and $1 million in 2003. However, Sinclair said malpractice cases can take years to reach a verdict, so few, if any, cases have had to deal directly with caps yet.

Weimer’s attorneys, Michael Djorjdevic and Peter Marmaros, said they believe that Sinclair’s judgment should stand, because pain and suffering was included in the economic awards, which were not capped by the legislature.
Onuora’s attorney, William Bonezzi, sees it differently: “We’re looking at that right now. We believe the way in which the journal entry was written may be incorrect.”

Put simply, he said, “the caps are the caps.” And the caps are supposed to limit pain-and-suffering damages.

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