South Carolina Lawyers Weekly publishes a list each year of the top verdicts and settlements reported in the previous year.(2) Almost half of the 32 verdicts and settlements making the list involved medical malpractice cases, with the highest reported settlement at $3.9 million and the highest jury verdict at $2.45 million. The $3.9 million settlement involved a plaintiff with a history of renal disease and a defendant doctor who prescribed a medication allegedly contraindicated in such patients. After taking the medication, the plaintiff developed acute renal insufficiency superimposed on chronic renal failure, began dialysis, and was placed on a waiting list for a kidney transplant. The jury award of $2.45 million involved an amputation case.
Other reported cases in South Carolina’s top verdicts and settlements involved personal injury, products liability, real property, employment, unfair trade practices, and trademark infringement. A few of the notable verdicts and settlements in these other practice areas include the following:
- $10 million verdict in an auto accident case involving a severe head trauma that resulted in a seven month coma.
- $3.8 million verdict for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and civil conspiracy action involving a failure to disclose a potential conflict of interest and a breach of confidentiality agreement.
- $3.5 million settlement in a products liability action concerning a bus driver who sustained a thirty-two percent total body surface area burn when her legs and torso came in contact with a ruptured heater hose.
- $3 million verdict ($2 million actual, $1 million punitive) in an auto accident case involving a traumatic brain injury, shattered tibia/fibula, fractured ribs, separated shoulder, liver laceration, and a lower back hematoma.
- $1.9 million settlement in a real property action involving mold remediation for eleven condominium units.
- $1.2 million verdict in an unfair trade practices claim in which the parties claimed interference with their accounts and overall business.
2 South Carolina Lawyers Weekly, January 28, 2008.