$14 Million Verdict for Plaintiffs Against Illinois’ Largest Medical Insurance Carrier

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

$14 Million Verdict for Plaintiffs Against Illinois’ Largest Medical Insurance Carrier

ISMIE Mutual Insurance Ordered to Pay Punitive Damages

 

BWMK-Logo-blackThe parents of a young girl, who died in 2007 after a case of medical malpractice, won a verdict of more than $14 million dollars against the insurance company representing some of the doctors involved in her care.

A Cook County jury last week returned the judgment against the ISMIE Mutual Insurance Company, awarding the family $1.35 million in compensatory damages and $13 million in punitive damages.  The parents had argued that ISMIE had negotiated in bad faith during the underlying medical malpractice case by rejecting their demand to settle the matter within the policy limits and by failing to tell the doctors how much insurance coverage was available to compensate the family for their injuries.

The family was represented by Elizabeth A. Kaveny and Michael L. Gallagher of Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny.

The background of the current case dates to 2004 when Alizabeth and Elvin Hana’s daughter, Mary, was born with a brain injury caused by deprivation of oxygen.  The child died in 2007.

Michael L. Gallagher

Michael L. Gallagher

Elizabeth A. Kaveny

Elizabeth A. Kaveny

The family brought medical malpractice claims against obstetricians Dr. Albert Chams and Dr. Joyce Chams of Chams Women’s Health Care, who treated Alizabeth during her pregnancy.  In May 2009 a jury found in favor of the Hana family, awarding them $6.2 million.   The doctors, however, were insured by ISMIE with a policy limit that — when combined with settlements from other doctors in the case — left the Hanas without $1.35 million of their verdict.

The doctors in the case assigned their claim of bad faith against ISMIE to the Hanas. The family, represented by Elizabeth Kaveny, pursued the case.

Among other claims, the Hanas alleged that ISMIE should have known that the doctors were likely to be found liable, that the liability was likely to be greater than the policy limits and that ISMIE should have engaged in settlement negotiations.  Further, ISMIE failed to adequately convey the amount of coverage that was available to the insured.  ISMIE also rejected numerous opportunities to settle the case within the policy limits, which would have protected the doctors from the verdict that exceeded those limits.

“After losing their daughter to medical malpractice, the Hana family was harmed again by ISMIE’s failure to negotiate in good faith,” said attorney Kaveny.  “Every insurance company must live up to its obligations.”

A Nov. 18, 2015,  Chicago Daily Law Bulletin article titled “Bad-faith case vs. ISMIE gets $14M verdict” quoted Michael L. Gallagher extensively. For more biographical information about the latest attorney to join Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny, please view Michael Gallagher’s credentials.

Elizabeth A. Kaveny has repeatedly obtained verdicts and settlements of plaintiff personal injury and professional malpractice actions in excess of $1 million, with many at more than $10 million. Since 2012 Kaveny has been named one of the state’s Top 10 women personal injury, litigation and consumer lawyers. Kaveny is also first vice president of the Illinois Bar Foundation and treasurer of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.

Attorney contact: Elizabeth Kaveny, eak@bwmklaw.com, 312-580-2040

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