Nevada jury considering hepatitis C punitive award

Updated: 04/09/2013 2:35 PM KSTP.com

(AP) LAS VEGAS - Billions of dollars could be on the line with a Nevada jury deliberating whether the state’s largest health management organization should pay punitive damages to three plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit stemming from a Las Vegas hepatitis outbreak.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys have asked the jurors to order Health Plan of Nevada and Sierra Health Services to pay almost $2.5 billion to three plaintiffs in the negligence lawsuit.

They say that would show health corporations not to put profits ahead of patient safety.

They argue the HMO knew a doctor operating an outpatient endoscopy clinic was dangerous, but sent patients there anyway.

Attorneys for the two companies argue that a large punitive award would be unreasonable.

The jury last week found the companies liable for $24 million in compensatory damages.

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