Iowa Paid $6.6 Million in Settlements and Judgments in FY2010

Iowa State government paid nearly $6.6 million to settle claims and judgments, with the majority of the funds going towards medical malpractice claims against the state. The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports:

State records indicated the 47 judgments paid last fiscal year included claims brought for medical negligence, personal injuries, discrimination based on age, race, sex and disability, harassment and retaliation, excessive force and a vehicle search by public safety officers, a wrongful death allegation, attorney fees, and a $75,000 repayment of misused funds in the CIETC scandal involving the payment of excessive salaries to leaders of a job-training program.

The $3.3 million settlement involved a child born with cerebral palsy whose parents alleged his condition was the result of negligence on the part of UI Hospital staff during labor – specifically the failure to perform a Caesarian section earlier in the labor process, according to state records.

In a separate medical negligence case, state officials agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a claim brought by the family of a woman who contracted Legionnaires’ disease at University Hospitals and died, according to state records. The family of Sandra Shank, 57, who died Sept. 3, 2006, at the Iowa City hospital, filed a lawsuit in 2008 alleging she died of Legionella pneumonia after she was exposed to Legionella bacteria as a patient at the hospital. The state denied liability in the 2006 death.

In another case involving University Hospitals, the state paid $250,000 to settle a claim brought by a Davenport couple that alleged negligence in the 1997 treatment of their daughter by surgeons in the process of repairing congenital heart defects. Brian and Beth Atkins alleged their daughter sustained severe multi-system injuries due to complications that arose when surgeons removed pacing wires from their daughter Alison’s heart.

The amount paid out for settlements is down significantly from FY2008, which the amount paid by the State spiked to $23,530,913, due mostly to suits involving the Iowa Legislature's decision to end the Iowa Lottery's TouchPlay video lottery system. Brady Preston Gronlund settled one such case for $1,572,585.