Bell v. Redjal, No. ED 106320

CourtMissouri Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtROBERT M. CLAYTON III, Judge
Citation569 S.W.3d 70
Docket NumberNo. ED 106320
Decision Date26 February 2019
Parties Benny L. BELL, Respondent, v. Hamid R. REDJAL, M.D., Defendant, and Orthopaedic Associates of Southeast Missouri, P.C. d/b/a Advanced Orthopedic Specialists, Appellant.

569 S.W.3d 70

Benny L. BELL, Respondent,
v.
Hamid R. REDJAL, M.D., Defendant,
and
Orthopaedic Associates of Southeast Missouri, P.C. d/b/a Advanced Orthopedic Specialists, Appellant.

No. ED 106320

Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, DIVISION ONE.

Filed: February 26, 2019


FOR APPELLANT: James L. Smith, Ryan Gavin, Mary L. Taylor, John W. Grimm, 222 South Central Avenue, Suite 1100, St. Louis, MO 63105.

FOR RESPONDENT: Martin L. Perron, Maria V. Perron, 1714 Deer Tracks Trial, Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63131.

ATTORNEY FOR RECEIVER: Robert E. Eggmann III, Thomas H. Riske, Tyler C. Schaeffer, 120 South Central Ave., Ste. 1800, St. Louis, MO 63105.

ATTORNEY FOR INTERVENOR: Steven P. Kuenzel, 200 West Main Street, P.O. Box 228, Washington, MO 63090.

ROBERT M. CLAYTON III, Judge

Orthopaedic Associates of Southeast Missouri, P.C. d/b/a Advanced Orthopedic Specialists ("Defendant" or "Defendant AOS") appeals the judgment entered upon a jury verdict awarding Benny L. Bell ("Plaintiff") $4,451,875 in compensatory

569 S.W.3d 78

damages and $5,000,000 in punitive damages on Plaintiff’s claims for medical malpractice arising out of medical care provided to Plaintiff by Defendant’s employee, Hamid R. Redjal, M.D. ("the underlying defendant Dr. Redjal" or "Dr. Redjal").1 We affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Facts Giving Rise to this Appeal

Plaintiff is a middle-aged man who enjoyed success in his career as a dancer. He grew up in the small town of Caruthersville, Missouri but eventually moved to Europe to further his career as a performer, choreographer, and dance instructor. At around the age of fifty, Plaintiff began experiencing pain and other symptoms of arthritis in his hip. In 2009, Plaintiff underwent a right hip resurfacing surgery, in which metal components were installed in his right hip. In 2012, Plaintiff’s right hip pain recurred. Also around that time, Plaintiff was notified the metal components installed during his 2009 surgery had been recalled and that he would have to undergo another surgery to revise the prior one. Plaintiff then returned to Missouri for a right hip replacement surgery, which was performed by Dr. Ryan Nunley at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri in January 2013. During this surgery, Smith & Nephew, Inc. ("Smith & Nephew") hip replacement components were installed into Plaintiff’s right hip.

A few months after the January 2013 surgery, Plaintiff started to experience pain in his left groin area. Plaintiff reported to Dr. Patrick Knight, an orthopedic surgeon and one of the owners of Defendant AOS, who then referred Plaintiff to the care of Defendant AOS’s new surgeon, Dr. Redjal. Dr. Redjal performed a successful total hip replacement surgery on Plaintiff’s left hip in November 2013. Plaintiff felt great immediately after this surgery, he participated in physical therapy while he was still in the hospital, and he was able to walk on crutches at the time he was discharged from the hospital. On his way to a postoperative follow-up appointment with Dr. Redjal on November 21, 2013, Plaintiff stopped at a McDonald’s restaurant where he slipped on a wet floor and fell against a wall. Thereafter, Dr. Redjal referred Plaintiff to Dr. Jimmy Bowen, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician who worked for Defendant AOS.

Dr. Bowen diagnosed Plaintiff with osteitis pubis, a condition causing groin pain that can be treated successfully without surgery. By March 2014, Plaintiff was doing well on the right hip but was still suffering from persistent but improving groin pain on the right side. Dr. Bowen referred Plaintiff back to Dr. Redjal to explore whether there was a problem with the right hip implant.

On April 16, 2014, Dr. Redjal performed what he testified was an "exploratory" surgery on Plaintiff’s right hip at Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. However, Dr. Redjal said prior to the surgery he actually intended to replace the polyethylene liner from Plaintiff’s acetabular component. During surgery, Dr. Redjal employed a power corkscrew device to remove the polyethylene liner from the acetabular cup, which was not the recommended technique to perform this task. After the liner was removed, Dr. Redjal could not get a new one to lock into the cup. Therefore, Dr. Redjal was forced to remove the entire acetabular component from Plaintiff’s right hip and install a new one. During this process, Dr. Redjal removed a substantial amount of

569 S.W.3d 79

attached pelvic bone and fractured Plaintiff’s pelvis.

Plaintiff was not informed of the pelvic fracture prior to his discharge from the hospital. In the months following his surgery, Plaintiff was ordered to bear weight on his right leg and to undergo physical therapy with Dr. Bowen. Plaintiff had significant difficulty with his postoperative instructions because he was experiencing pain, clicking, and loosening of the right hip implant while standing or walking. Finally, on October 23, 2014, Plaintiff made Dr. Redjal feel the hip implant move inside his body; thereafter, Dr. Redjal ordered a CT scan. This scan revealed Plaintiff’s acetabular component was dislocated.

Dr. Redjal was subsequently discharged from his employment with Defendant AOS. Plaintiff had an appointment with Dr. Knight on December 23, 2014 during which Dr. Knight informed Plaintiff there was a problem with his April 16, 2014 surgery and Plaintiff’s right leg was not attached. Dr. Knight then referred Plaintiff to the care of Dr. Douglas McDonald, who saw Plaintiff on February 11, 2015. At that time, Dr. McDonald determined Plaintiff’s acetabular component was malpositioned and not fixed in bone. Dr. McDonald performed a subsequent surgery to repair Plaintiff’s right hip, but it was unsuccessful. As of the time of trial in September 2017, Plaintiff’s right hip implant was unattached to his pelvis, Plaintiff could not voluntarily move his right leg, he could not walk without crutches, and he experienced significant limitations in his day-to-day activities.

B. Relevant Procedural Posture

Plaintiff subsequently filed his first amended petition ("petition") alleging six claims against four defendants: Smith & Nephew, Rich House Inc. d/b/a McDonald’s ("McDonald’s"), Defendant AOS, and the underlying defendant Dr. Redjal. Specifically, Plaintiff asserted one claim of products liability against Smith & Nephew ("Count I") related to the allegedly defective implants installed in Plaintiff’s right hip during the January 2013 surgery performed by Dr. Nunley. Plaintiff also alleged one claim of premises liability against McDonald’s ("Count II") based on McDonald’s failure to discover, warn, or remove an allegedly unsafe condition, which caused Plaintiff to fall on November 21, 2013. Plaintiff’s petition set forth three claims of medical malpractice against Defendant AOS and the underlying defendant Dr. Redjal ("Counts III, IV, and V") arising from Dr. Redjal’s negligent treatment of Plaintiff as discussed above. Finally, Plaintiff asserted one claim of negligent supervision, retention, and referral against Defendant AOS ("Count VI"). Plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages based on his claims.

Prior to trial, Plaintiff settled his claims against Smith & Nephew and McDonald’s. Therefore, he proceeded to try his case on Counts III, IV, and V against Defendant AOS and Dr. Redjal as well as Count VI against Defendant AOS. In support of his claims, Plaintiff testified and presented the testimony of: his retained expert orthopedic surgeon Dr. David King; Defendant AOS owners and employees Dr. August Ritter, Dr. Knight, Dr. Brian Schafer, and Dr. Bowen; Dr. McDonald, who was also designated as an expert; Smith & Nephew representative Michael Swailes; and Plaintiff’s retained expert life care planner Nurse Jan Klosterman.

At the close of Plaintiff’s evidence, the trial court ruled there was insufficient evidence to support Plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages on Count VI. The trial court ultimately submitted Counts III, IV, and V to the jury. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff, awarding him $4,451,875

569 S.W.3d 80

in compensatory damages and $5,000,000 in punitive damages. Defendant AOS appeals.2

II. DISCUSSION

Defendant AOS raises six points on appeal. In Defendant’s first and second points on appeal, which we address together for ease of analysis, Defendant asserts the trial court erred in its rulings relating to evidence of the underlying defendant Dr. Redjal’s qualifications and treatment of other patients. In its third and fourth points on appeal, which we also address together, Defendant alleges instructional error as to the verdict directors. In its fifth point on appeal, Defendant contends the court erred in sua sponte limiting its cross-examination of Plaintiff about evidence from his Facebook page and in denying its offer of proof on the subject. And in Defendant’s sixth and final point on appeal, it alleges trial court error regarding its requested reduction under section 537.060 RSMo 2000.3

A. Whether the Trial Court Erred with Respect to Evidence of Dr. Redjal’s Qualifications...

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13 practice notes
  • Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson, No. ED 107476
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 23 Junio 2020
    ...abuse of discretion will not be found if reasonable minds could differ as to the propriety of the trial court's action." Bell v. Redjal , 569 S.W.3d 70, 81 (Mo. App. E.D. 2019) (citing Koon v. Walden , 539 S.W.3d 752, 761 (Mo. App. E.D. 2017) ). The fact courts across the country do not agr......
  • Brovont v. KS-I Med. Servs., P.A., WD 82544
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 13 Octubre 2020
    ...a single injury to a third person, and it is impossible to determine in what proportion each contributed to the injury." Bell v. Redjal, 569 S.W.3d 70, 100 (Mo. App. E.D. 2019) (quoting Sanders v. Ahmed , 364 S.W.3d 195, 212 (Mo. banc 2012) ). "In other words, joint tortfeasors are two or m......
  • Lowe v. Mercy Clinic E. Cmtys., No. ED 106447
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 1 Octubre 2019
    ...explained and thereby gave meaning to the language of the verdict director, the instruction is not a roving commission." Bell v. Redjal , 569 S.W.3d 70, 95 (Mo.App.E.D. 2019) (citing Klotz v. St. Anthony’s Med. Civ. , 311 S.W.3d 752, 767 (Mo.banc 2010) ); see also Williams v. Mercy Clinic S......
  • In re Interest of J.M., No. ED 107379
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 1 Octubre 2019
    ...ruling is correct, as the court has discretion to weigh the probative value of evidence against its prejudicial effect. Bell v. Redjal , 569 S.W.3d 70, 96 (Mo. App. E.D. 2019). "We review the trial court’s admission or exclusion of evidence for prejudice and not mere error, and will affirm ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
13 cases
  • Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson, No. ED 107476
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 23 Junio 2020
    ...of discretion will not be found if reasonable minds could differ as to the propriety of the trial court's action." Bell v. Redjal , 569 S.W.3d 70, 81 (Mo. App. E.D. 2019) (citing Koon v. Walden , 539 S.W.3d 752, 761 (Mo. App. E.D. 2017) ). The fact courts across the country do not agre......
  • Brovont v. KS-I Med. Servs., P.A., WD 82544
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 13 Octubre 2020
    ...injury to a third person, and it is impossible to determine in what proportion each contributed to the injury." Bell v. Redjal, 569 S.W.3d 70, 100 (Mo. App. E.D. 2019) (quoting Sanders v. Ahmed , 364 S.W.3d 195, 212 (Mo. banc 2012) ). "In other words, joint tortfeasors are two or ......
  • Lowe v. Mercy Clinic E. Cmtys., No. ED 106447
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 1 Octubre 2019
    ...and thereby gave meaning to the language of the verdict director, the instruction is not a roving commission." Bell v. Redjal , 569 S.W.3d 70, 95 (Mo.App.E.D. 2019) (citing Klotz v. St. Anthony’s Med. Civ. , 311 S.W.3d 752, 767 (Mo.banc 2010) ); see also Williams v. Mercy Clinic Spring......
  • Linton v. Carter, SC 98888
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 23 Noviembre 2021
    ...record firmly establishes Dr. Rhine's alternative causation testimony was only a minor portion of a very lengthy trial. Bell v. Redjal , 569 S.W.3d 70, 85 (Mo. App. 2019) (explaining expert testimony, including causation evidence, is not viewed in a vacuum).ConclusionFor the reasons set for......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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