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Punitive Damages Secured In “Utter Medical Neglect” Case In Polk County

“There has never been a case more fit for a resounding punitive damages award. Nothing will prevent the jury from considering every sickening detail of Corizon’s neglect and every profit-driven decision that resulted in Evan Kennard’s agonizing death now that we have secured punitive damages on behalf of Evan’s wife and 9-year-old daughter.”

– Justin Shapiro and Leesfield & Partners

Evan Kennard (age 29) was admitted to Polk County Jail with a life-threatening heart infection and symptoms so alarming that any competent healthcare professional would have immediately rushed him to an emergency room. Instead, the jail’s private healthcare contractor, Corizon, ignored Evan’s worsening symptoms and deprived him of life-saving treatment for seven days as he deteriorated into a corpse. Corizon neglected Evan at every turn and only sent him to the emergency room after he became unresponsive, brain-dead, severely septic, 40 pounds lighter, with pressure ulcers, soaked in his urine, with no chance of survival. Corizon’s own Medical Director, Margie Gomez, MD, admitted in deposition that her medical staff committed “egregious violations of protocols” in Evan’s care and treatment throughout his limited time in the jail.  In fact, every single Corizon doctor and nurse deposed in this matter admitted to numerous protocol violations, and they blamed each other for Corizon’s grossly indifferent lack of humanity to this dying husband and father.

Correctional Medicine Expert, Grady Bazzel, MD, summed up Corizon’s conduct via his amended sworn affidavit:

The level of indifference and apathy toward this actively dying patient is shocking. The utter disregard for Mr. Kennard’s well-being is an affront to medicine and is simply embarrassing to me as a physician. There no words to describe my revulsion toward how this poor man was treated by fellow health care professionals.

Attorneys with the firm and Justin Shapiro established beyond doubt that Corizon grossly understaffed the Polk County Jail. Corizon’s medical staff admitted in deposition that they were unable to provide adequate care because they were always understaffed and spread too thin for the patient population. Multiple nurses responsible for Evan’s care complained that they were almost always too overwhelmed. They testified that they complained to Corizon’s directors about the unmanageable patient loads, but their complaints fell on deaf ears. Corizon made no effort to address these complaints and allowed its substandard care to threaten the life and safety of its patients.

Click here to read the Court’s ruling on Plaintiffs’ Motion to add Punitive Damages.


About Justin Shapiro

Justin Shapiro is a partner at the Miami-based personal injury law firm of Leesfield & Partners  He focuses his practice on complex civil litigation involving severe personal injury and wrongful death. Mr. Shapiro has actively litigated hundreds of cases for the firm’s statewide practice. He has obtained substantial recoveries for his clients in cases involving automobile negligence, premise liability, negligent security, cruise ship accidents, and sexual assault. He recently obtained a $36,000,000 jury verdict in a wrongful death automobile collision case, which was reported by as the largest pedestrian accident verdict in all of Florida in 2017.

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