Plaintiffs awarded $24M in hepatitis C civil trial - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Plaintiffs awarded $24M in hepatitis C civil trial

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Attorney Robert Eglet hugs the plaintiffs following the verdict on Thursday. Attorney Robert Eglet hugs the plaintiffs following the verdict on Thursday.
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

A jury found a Nevada HMO negligent in a civil trial linked to the biggest hepatitis C outbreak in U.S. history.

A spokesperson for the plaintiffs said Health Plan of Nevada was found negligent on all counts.

Two people who contracted the virus sued Health Plan of Nevada, claiming it failed to protect its insured members. The jury awarded plaintiff Bonnie Brunson $12 million in compensatory damages. Plaintiff Carl Brunson was awarded $3 million in compensatory damages, and Helen Meyer was awarded $9 million.

Following the verdict, Meyer told reporters, "I'm very happy."

"It is the responsibility of the insurance company. They knew it was dangerous. They didn't care because they were able to get him (Dr. Dipak Desai) to work for such a cheap rate," said Robert Eglet, attorney for the plaintiffs.  

The trial spanned several weeks, with jury selection beginning Jan. 28 and opening statements Feb. 20.

Health Plan of Nevada sent a release to FOX5, which reads:

"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." 

The jury will deliberate over punitive damages on Friday. Eglet said he will ask the jury for up to a billion dollars.

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