Russ Skelton & Anne Holmgren obtain unanimous defense verdict in wrongful death case


In May 2022, Jones, Skelton & Hochuli partners Russ Skelton and Anne Holmgren obtained a defense verdict in Keller v. Brownsberger, et al. – a wrongful death lawsuit. The decedent was a chronic pain patient who was referred by his primary care physician to the defendant pain management facility where he established care with the defendant doctor. Decedent had been treating with the doctor for more than a year and a half when he was found dead in his home due to drug toxicity overdose. Decedent’s wife filed a wrongful death action in Holbrook, Arizona, against multiple providers alleging defendants’ medical negligence cause decedent’s death. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant doctor breached the standard of care by neglecting to assess the decedent’s medical history, improperly prescribing opioids, neglecting to follow office policies related to urine drug screens, and failing to properly wean decedent from opioids. Skelton and Holmgren represented the defendant doctor in this lawsuit. The parties called nine witnesses over the course of a two-week long trial, including multiple standard of care and causation experts. During the trial, the defense was able to educate the jury on the practice of pain management, the applicable standards of care, and why the defendants did not cause the decedent’s death. At the close, plaintiff requested the jury award $2,000,000 in damages. Following deliberations, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of the defendant doctor as to all of plaintiff’s claims. The defense sought and was awarded a total of $21,261.11 for costs with statutory interest accruing.

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