Fla. verdict could be biggest medical liability award the state has seen

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 6, 2006

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A Florida jury on Sept. 29 delivered a $116.7 million verdict against a group of emergency physicians and an unlicensed assistant. The jury said the doctors had been negligent in misdiagnosing a patient's stroke symptoms. The patient, Allan Navarro, became paralyzed.

The verdict held Michael P. Austin, DO, and physician assistant Mark Herranz each 25% responsible for Navarro's condition. Their employer, Carrollwood Emergency Physicians PA, was found 50% at fault for other doctors who evaluated Navarro. The award included $46.5 million in pain and suffering damages.

The Hillsborough County jury on Oct. 3 added $100 million in punitive damages to the verdict against Carrollwood Emergency Physicians for allegedly concealing facts about Navarro's emergency department visit from the plaintiffs.

The combined $217 award is believed to be the third largest medical liability verdict in the nation and the largest in Florida.

Dr. Austin's attorney, Jeffrey M. Goodis, said the doctor denies any wrongdoing. He did not say whether he plans to appeal the verdict.

Attorneys for Carrollwood Emergency Physicians did not return calls for comment. The group and its affiliated practice have since filed for bankruptcy, according to an attorney for Navarro, C. Steven Yerrid. Herranz has since died.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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