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Awards not yet determined in New York malpractice settlement

A recent court settlement of medical malpractice action against an orthopedic surgeon in Hopewell Junction, New York, requires the physician to pay a total of $140 million in damages. As a provision of the settlement, he will not admit to any medical wrongdoing.

The litigation has played out in multiple courtrooms over a span of 10 years at the most, but the settlement does not mark the end of the orthopedist's legal troubles as he also faces criminal charges involving identity theft and fraud. Court records indicate that he is at home on electronic monitoring awaiting trial, free on a $1 million bond. 

The allegations against the orthopedist include performing unnecessary surgeries on healthy patients and harming patients by botching surgeries. A total of 255 plaintiffs have filed against him, and the intention is to divide the $140 million settlement award among them. 

An attorney representing more than half of the plaintiffs stated that they have total vindication because of the settlement amount. At least one of the plaintiffs, however, has expressed dissatisfaction with the settlement, alleging that it does not really represent a punishment because the physician will not pay out of his own pocket. Rather, it will fall to his insurance carrier to pay out the settlement. 

Nevertheless, there are questions as to whether or not the insurance coverage will be sufficient to cover the awards for every plaintiff. Furthermore, it is not yet clear how much each plaintiff will receive, although individual awards may range from $15,000 to $3.8 million.

What is clear is that nothing can restore health or lost loved ones to those affected by surgical errors and other types of medical malpractice. However, it may be helpful for them to engage the services of an attorney. 

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