West Virginia Record|
By Chris Dickerson-Kanawha Bureau
CHARLESTON - The United State Supreme Court on Monday denied Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital's petition in a high-profile wrongful death case.
The Court denied the hospital's Petition for a writ of certiorari Monday, apparently ending Camden-Clark's appeals in the case of Ray Boggs v. Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital Corporation.
In March 2006, a Wood County jury found Camden-Clark liable for wrongful death, fraudulent concealment and punitive damages for causing the death of 51-year old Hilda Boggs, a Mineral Wells schoolteacher and then attempting to cover it up.
The jury's verdict of $6,545,000 was upheld by Wood County Chief Circuit Judge Robert Waters after Camden-Clark moved to set it aside. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia denied Camden-Clark's Petitions for appeal from the verdict last fall, prompting the hospital's appeal to U.S. Supreme Court.
Mr. Boggs was represented on appeal by Christopher Regan and Geoffrey Brown of Bordas & Bordas in Wheeling and Christopher Rinehart of Rinehart Legal Services, Columbus, Ohio. Thomas Goodwin and Johnny Knisley of Goodwin and Goodwin in Charleston represented Camden-Clark in the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Camden-Clark has wasted years now in its fruitless attempts to vindicate its corporate leadership and their diabolical cover-up of what happened to Mrs. Boggs," Regan said in a press release. "One has to wonder when the corporation will acknowledge fault and begin working on making sure incidents like this are permanently stopped.
"Camden-Clark's desperate appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States reflects its firm corporate policy of deny, deny, deny. Even now, Camden-Clark has never apologized for its terrible conduct towards Mr. Boggs and his family, nor admitted to its extensively proven misconduct before the courts.
"While resignations continue at WVU as leaders take responsibility for what happened there last year, Camden-Clark continues to behave as though it has done nothing wrong and as though the investigation into its conduct never occurred."
After the 2006 trial, Waters issued a $1,359,241.02 sanction against Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital Corporation for egregious litigation misconduct, concealment of documents from the court, false testimony and false statements to the court, as well as a variety of misdeeds by the hospital's attorney, Richard Hayhurst.
Regan said the sanction is believed to be one of the largest ever levied in West Virginia. The state Supreme Court also declined to reverse the award of sanctions when Camden-Clark appealed to it early this year.
Hilda Boggs died when an overdose of anesthesia stopped her heart on the operating table. The stoppage went undetected for several minutes because the audible heartbeat alarms had been turned off by hospital personnel. It was later learned that turning off the alarms was a routine practice at Camden-Clark.
Hospital CEO, Tom Corder testified in a deposition in the case that Camden-Clark did not change its policy on this even after Boggs' death.
The verdict included $3,000,000 in punitive damages against Camden-Clark for its intentional wrongdoing.