AETNA: Judge Denies Appeal of $120M Verdict
A San Bernardino jury's $120 million award to a widow who sued Aetna U.S. Healthcare over her husband's death was "not excessive as a matter of law," a Superior Court judge ruled Monday. "While this court views the award of damages for wrongful death as being high, the court cannot say that the award is excessive," Judge Christopher Warner said in a written ruling. The jury awarded the "record amount" to Teresa Goodrich last month, who was able to sue Aetna because her late husband was a government employee and therefore not prohibited by federal law from suing his HMO (Grenda, Inland Empire Press-Enterprise, 3/30). Warner also denied Aetna's motion for a new trial. "We intend to examine all of our options fully and quickly, and those options would include an appeal," said Aetna spokesperson Joyce Oberdorf (Bloomberg News/Los Angeles Times, 3/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.