HUNTINGTON – St. Mary's Medical Center filed a motion to dismiss a woman's punitive damages claim in a lawsuit alleging the hospital caused irreparable damages to a newborn baby.
St. Mary's claims the plaintiff's amended complaint is devoid of any factual allegations which would support a claim for punitive damages under West Virginia law, according to the Dec. 22 motion to dismiss.
"In this case, the plaintiffs allege that SMMC nursing staff failed to recognize fetal changes on the electronic fetal heart monitor, they failed to carefully monitor the administration of Pitocin in light of such changes and they failed to properly monitor, assess and treat the uterine and placental ruptures experienced by plaintiff ... during labor and delivery," the motion states.
SMMC vehemently disputes the plaintiff's allegations. Nonetheless, assuming that her allegations were true, they sound in simple medical negligence and punitive damages are not recoverable, according to the motion.
The hospital also claims that the plaintiff does not possess a viable claim for punitive damages under the West Virginia Medical Professional Liability Act.
Tanise Jackson filed the lawsuit against St. Mary's on April 21, claiming that the hospital caused her infant son, Marvelle Mayo, injuries.
Jackson claims she went to the defendant under the care of Dr. Aaron Scaife on Dec. 9, 2012, for the labor and delivery of Mayo. The suit alleges the Pitocin given to Jackson to induce the delivery caused well known signs and symptoms of distress in the baby and symptoms of a uterine rupture in Jackson.
Scaife decided to deliver Marvelle by caesarian section too late, resulting in Marvelle suffering life altering damages, including cerebral palsy and blindness.
Jackson is compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented David A. Sims of Law Offices of David A. Sims PLLC.
St. Mary's is represented by Robert M. Sellards, Marvin Capehart II and Sarah Massey of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP.
Southern District of West Virginia Court case number: 3:14-cv-15086