The family of William Martinez has been awarded $3 million after a medical malpractice suit. Martinez died from a heart attack which occurred while having extramarital affairs with a woman (not his wife) and another man.
After complaining of chest pains that radiated to his arm, his attending cardiologist, Dr. Sreenivasulu Gangasani, scheduled a stress test for eight days later, but failed to inform Martinez to discontinue all physical activity.
Lawyers for the plaintiff argued that Gangasani did not take proper medical history and failed to inform Martinez to cease all physical activity until the stress test was completed.
Last week, the jury awarded the family of Martinez $3 million in damages. Originally, the estate sued for $5 million, but after determining Martinez was forty percent liable for his death, it decreased to $3 million.
But should all that information be presented to the jury? Does the fact that it was an extramarital affair with not one, but two people potentially sway the verdict?
This is an interesting legal question that many Judge’s and lawyers would struggle with. Obviously for many, having an extra marital affair of this nature is morally reprehensible. However, is it relevant to the question of whether the doctor failed to inform the plaintiff to discontinue all physical activity. If the plaintiff would have had a heart attack whether he was doing what he was doing or having sex with his wife, is it legally relevant that he was having sex with another not his wife?
While many would argue that the information goes to his state of mind and his lack of concern for his own safety, others would argue that such information is so highly inflammatory and prejudicial that it would turn a potential jury against the plaintiff for all the wrong reasons. Others would say that jurors are capable of acknowledging the reprehensibility of the plaintiff’s conduct but would still be able to set that aside and judge the case based on the sole issue of whether it was negligence for the doctor to fail to advise the plaintiff to cease all physical activity. What do you think?
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