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MARION v. LaFARGUE

United States District Court, S.D. New York


June 15, 2005.

ROBERT LEE MARION, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT T. LaFARGUE, M.D., personally, ROBERT NADRICH, M.D., personally, and THE NEW YORK CITY HEALTH AND HOSPITALS CORPORATION, Defendants.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: DOUGLAS EATON, Magistrate Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

This case involved an involuntary commitment to Bellevue Hospital. The case was assigned to me for all purposes on August 20, 2003. At the first trial, in November 2003, the jury returned a verdict of $1,000,001 in compensatory damages. I upheld the verdict as to liability; I ordered a second trial on damages unless plaintiff accepted a reduced award of $180,001. Marion v. LaFargue, 2004 WL 330239, *13 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 23, 2004).

On March 23, 2004, plaintiff elected to have a new trial on damages. In a Memorandum and Order dated November 23, 2004, at ΒΆ 10, I noted that "I will eventually enter judgment for the $1 that the first jury awarded for the 19 oral medications." The second trial, after two adjournments, commenced on January 31, 2005. On February 2, 2005, the second jury gave the following verdict (see Tr. 436-37):

1. How much do you award to compensate Mr. Marion for the wrongful injection of medication on December 23, 1998? $5,000.
2. How much do you award to compensate Mr. Marion for the six days of wrongful commitment to Bellevue Hospital? $110,000.
3. Has Mr. Marion proven that the injection and/or the commitment caused any any injury to him after his release on December 29, 1998? No. I then told the attorneys (at Tr. 440):
. . . I have again denied the [motion for a directed] verdict, and I will figure out exactly how to phrase the judgment. I think I can do this by myself. I think that Dr. LaFargue will be liable for the $5,000 and for 20 percent of the $110,000. And Dr. Nadrich will be liable for the remainder. And the corporation will be liable for the entire $115,000.
This was in the context of what I had written a year earlier:
It is obvious that Dr. Nadrich bears no liability for the injection of medication, or for the oral medications, or for the first 27 hours of confinement. I find that Dr. LaFargue's liability should be limited to those three categories of damage. . . .
Dr. LaFargue had the responsibility to make a decision concerning emergency admission. Dr. Nadrich had much more time to make a decision on whether to confirm or release. Accordingly, I find that Dr. Nadrich is liable for all of the other damage.
Marion, 2004 WL 330239, *13. At Tr. 440, when I said "20 percent," I should have said 16.66 percent, because the $110,000 item covered six days.

  Accordingly, I am today entering judgment as follows:

  Against Dr. LaFargue and The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (jointly and severally): 16.66 percent of $110,000, i.e. $18,333 for the first 27 hours of wrongful commitment, plus $5,000 for the wrongful injection of medication, plus $1 for the coerced oral medications; for a total of $23,334.

  Against Dr. Nadrich and The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (jointly and severally): 83.33 percent of $110,000, i.e. $91,667 for the nearly five days of confinement that followed Dr. Nadrich's confirming determination of dangerousness.

  The judgment has been delayed because the attorneys were negotiating a settlement of plaintiff's request for a sealing of New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation's records pertaining to treatment of plaintiff for mental illness. I am today signing the stipulation of settlement; for clarity, I am changing its title to read "Stipulation and Order as to Non-Monetary Relief."

  At Tr. 441, I told the attorneys: "There's one other matter, which is an application for attorney's fees. Perhaps that, by agreement, should wait until after the Second Circuit rules." The parties have so agreed. I hereby order that any application for costs under Rule 54(d) (1) or for attorneys' fees and related non-taxable expenses under Rule 54 (d) (2) may be made within 14 days after the issuance of the mandate of the Court of Appeals.

20050615

© 1992-2005 VersusLaw Inc.



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