Dean v. Wexford Health Sources


Willkie Farr & Gallagher assisted William Kent Dean in a civil rights lawsuit against Wexford Health Sources.

Court denied defendants’ motion for judgment as a matter of law and motion for a new trial and instead upheld the jury’s verdict including compensatory damages of $1 million, remitting punitive damages to $7M from $10M; Plaintiff’s motion for attorneys’ fees and costs granted in part. Court entered final judgment in favor of plaintiff in excess of $8M.

In December 2019, a team led by Mr. Martin tried the case before a jury and secured a $1 million compensatory damages award and a $10 million punitive damages award against Wexford Health Sources, a private corporation that contracts with Illinois to provide healthcare services to state prisoners, and punitive damages against two of its physicians. Following the trial, Mr. Dean was released early from prison. The defendants then moved for judgment in their favor or a new trial, or for a reduction in the damages.

On September 28, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois denied defendants’ motion for a new trial and upheld the jury’s verdict, remitting the punitive damages to $7 million. Plaintiff’s motion for attorneys’ fees and costs was granted in part.

Mr. Dean has Stage 4 kidney cancer. While he was incarcerated at the Taylorville Correctional Center, Wexford ignored Mr. Dean’s obvious signs of serious illness and delayed necessary diagnostic tests and care?prioritizing saving money over diagnosing and treating Mr. Dean’s illness through a cost control procedure referred to as “collegial review,” which allows off-site, corporate physicians to deny healthcare to prisoners based on its cost. Mr. Dean brought suit against Wexford under Section 1983, claiming Wexford’s collegial review policy was deliberately indifferent to Mr. Dean’s serious medical need. Mr. Dean also brought respondeat superior and institutional negligence claims under Illinois state law.

The Chicago-based Willkie team was led by partner Craig C. Martin (Picture) and included associate Chloe Holt.

Involved fees earner: Chloe Holt – Willkie Farr & Gallagher; Craig Martin – Willkie Farr & Gallagher;

Law Firms: Willkie Farr & Gallagher;

Clients: Dean William Kent;

Author: Ambrogio Visconti