Court’s ruling reinforces the right to a jury trial in Texas
AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Houston woman whose husband died as a result of a doctor’s misdiagnosis, concluding that the jury had ample evidence to support its multimillion-dollar verdict.
A Harris County jury had awarded Tracy Windrum and her children $4.2 million, finding neurosurgeon Dr. Victor Kareh was negligent in the care of her husband, Lance Windrum, at North Cypress Medical Center. Mr. Windrum died in 2010, at age 46, from complications of spinal fluid in the brain, a treatable condition that the doctor failed to correctly diagnose and treat.
The First Court of Appeals in Houston overturned the jury’s verdict altogether, rejecting the opinions of a highly qualified expert witness in the case that Mr. Windrum’s doctor was negligent.
On Jan. 25, 2019, the Texas Supreme Court found the appeals court in error, ruling that the jury was entitled to rely upon the expert’s opinion and that “we should not substitute our own judgment for the jury’s.” The ruling carries wider implications for expert testimony, and the legal news outlet Law360 featured the case as an important one to watch.
“We are pleased with this ruling for Mrs. Windrum and her three children who are still awaiting a resolution more than eight years after Mr. Windrum died,” said Stephen Loftin, attorney with Hicks Thomas LLP who tried the case to verdict and represented the family on appeal.
“This is an important case recognizing that the opinions of an eminently qualified expert, supported by the evidence and his experience treating other patients, may properly be considered and weighed by a jury,” said Hicks Thomas appellate specialist J. Stephen Barrick. “A reviewing court cannot change the result simply because it does not agree with the outcome.”
Mr. Barrick represented the family on appeal along with Warren Harris of Bracewell LLP. The case is Windrum v. Kareh, case number 17-0328, in the Supreme Court of Texas.
Founded in 1997, Texas-based Hicks Thomas LLP is a premier litigation firm representing plaintiffs and defendants across the nation with offices in Houston, Austin, Beaumont and Amarillo, Texas, and Sacramento, California. The firm provides in-depth experience in cases involving oil and gas, environmental, complex commercial, toxic tort, construction, products liability, corporate governance, securities, banking, insurance coverage, transportation, trade secrets and business litigation. Visit the firm at http://www.hicks-thomas.com.