After deliberating five hours on Monday, Madison County jurors awarded $1 million to the family of a young Staunton girl injured during birth three years ago at Anderson Hospital.
A jury composed of seven women and five men found for Bailei Rae and against Maryville obstetrician/gynecologist James Dalla Riva, M.D. following a six day medical malpractice trial in Circuit Judge William Mudge’s court.
Bailei suffers permanent nerve root damage and brachial plexus injury – a condition that limits movement in her left arm.
Her family’s attorney, David Zevan of St. Louis, argued that Dalla Riva applied excessive downward traction or excessive tilting of Bailei’s head during birth.
The girl's mother, Jamie Rae, also claimed in her lawsuit that Dalla Riva should have performed a C-section because of Bailei's size. She was born 9 pounds, 2 ounces.
Zevan said Wednesday that the damage award would help cover Balei’s past and future care.
He said that he did not ask jurors for a specific dollar amount, but said he “nudged” them toward $2 million.
“Clouding” the picture for the jury was the fact that Bailei also is diagnosed with an unrelated condition – autism.
“That was difficult for the jury…would she be gainfully employed,” Zevan said.
He said jurors were very attentive and put in a lot of time and thought during deliberations.
“Mom felt vindicated,” Zevan said.
He also praised Dalla Riva as a “fine doctor,” but one who had “had a bad day.”
Dalla Riva, represented by James Neville of Belleville, had argued that the child’s injury was due to the forces of labor.
The jury specifically awarded:
- $116,500 for disfigurement resulting from injuries;
- $116,500 for disability experienced and reasonably certain to be experienced in the future as a result of injuries;
- $116,500 for pain and suffering experienced and reasonably certain to be experienced in the future as a result of injuries;
- $134,000 for past expenses of necessary medical care, treatment and services; and
- $516,500 for present cash value of the reasonable expenses of necessary medical care, treatment and services reasonably certain to be received in the future.