May 24, 2010
Las Vegas attorney Robert Eglet, '88, won a record-setting punitive damages award on May 7, 2010, for a victim of a hepatitis C outbreak that occurred two years ago in Clark County, Nevada.
A jury ordered Teva Parenteral Medicines, Inc. and Baxter Healthcare to pay $500 million to a Las Vegas couple, in addition to an earlier $5.1 million compensatory damages verdict. Eglet, a senior partner with Mainor Eglet Cottle, was lead counsel for the four-week trial.
The award is the largest in Nevada history. It's also believed to be the largest single event products liability damages award in American history and the largest punitive damages verdict against a drug manufacturer in American history. Both companies vow to appeal.
Eglet's client, Henry Chanin, contracted the disease following a routine colonoscopy exam. The award is the first in hundreds of civil cases stemming from the hepatitis C outbreak. Exposure to HIV and two hepatitis strains occurred when the Southern Nevada Endoscopy Center improperly administered single-dose vials of an anesthesia medication on multiple patients. The drug companies were found liable for providing the large vials to the ambulatory center. Eglet represents 40 more infected people with new trials scheduled to begin in October.
With the victory, Eglet, the 2005 Trial Lawyer of the Year in Nevada, ran his civil trial verdict record to an astounding 97-3. He has been named one of the top 100 trial lawyers for the past three years by the American Trial Lawyers Association.