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$1B sought in punitive damages in Hepatits C case

Reported by: Amber Dixon
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Updated: 4/05/2013 8:31 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) – It is a big victory for three local patients affected by the Hepatitis C breakout in 2008.

A jury awarded the victims $24 million, and the state’s largest HMO -- Health Plan of Nevada -- is going to have to pay.

While the plaintiffs in this case -- two women and one of their husbands -- say they are pleased with the outcome, their attorneys say they believe they should still get more.

One of the attorneys says he plans to ask for $1 billion in punitive damages and, if granted, that would be the largest award in Nevada history.

It started in early 2008, when health investigators traced the infections of the three plaintiffs -- and at least seven other patients -- to procedures at Endoscopy Clinics owned by Dr. Depak Desai.

The outbreak became public when the Southern Nevada Health District notified more than 50,000 people to get tested for blood-borne diseases, including hepatitis and HIV.

During the two-month long civil trial, the plaintiffs' attorneys argued Health Plan of Nevada continued to include Desai in its network of doctors, even though there was evidence Desai was putting patients in danger.

Health Plan of Nevada released this statement: “We are disappointed, but not surprised, by this verdict given the volumes of essential evidence the jury was blocked from hearing during this trial. We look forward to presenting our case on appeal.”


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