Settlement reached in negligence case against St. Mary's

HUNTINGTON – An Ohio couple have settled their lawsuit against St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington that said the hospital’s employees were to blame for husband Matthew Watts passing out and hitting his head.

Matthew and Arminda filed their lawsuit Aug. 29, 2011, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Huntington. In their complaint, they say Matthew went to St. Mary’s after hitting his head on the bottom of a pool on Sept. 6, 2009.

While there, Watts complained that he felt like he was going to pass out while x-rays and CT scans were performed, the complaint says. He was kept in a standing position for the tests until he passed out and struck his head, it adds.

“SMMC negligently rendered health care services to Plaintiff Matthew Watts, proximately causing significant personal injuries and damages by, among other things, failing to prevent Matthew Watts from falling and by failing to provide a safe environment,” the complaint says.

After 17 fairly litigious months – 173 entries are on the case’s docket – U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers entered an order dismissing the case on Jan. 18.

On Dec. 19, the two sides filed a motion for compromise and settlement.

Though the settlement terms were confidential, the Watts had planned to request several million dollars, according to a motion to continue filed in November by St. Mary’s.

“To support Mr. Watts’ allegation of permanent injury, he underwent a battery of pre-suit neurological and neuropsychological testing procedures from litigation experts,” the motion says. “As the court is aware, Plaintiffs will allege multiple millions of dollars’ worth of economic damages alone.”

The Watts were represented by Larry Bailey of Huntington’s Greene, Ketchum, Bailey, Walker, Farrell & Tweel. A trial was scheduled for Jan. 8.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at

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