Posted: Oct 10, 2020 / 1:38 pm EDT
Updated: October 10, 2020 / 1:40 p.m. EDT
CLARKSBURG, WV (WBOY) – The families of six military veterans who died under suspicious circumstances at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg have made preliminary arrangements with the government, according to their attorneys.
The handling of clients of attorney Tony O’Dell from Tiano O’Dell PLLC includes:
- George Nelson Shaw Jr.'s Family ($ 975,000)
- The John W. Hallman Family ($ 950,000)
- The Felix McDermott Family ($ 775,000)
- Robert Kozul's Family ($ 775,000)
- Russell Ross Posey Sr.'s Family ($ 700,000)
Archie Edgell's family has also reached a preliminary settlement for $ 700,000, according to Colombo Law attorney Dino Colombo.
West Virginia Medical Misconduct Act limits the non-economic harm in such cases. The $ 700,000 settlement is the maximum the Edgell can get, Colombo said. Some of the other settlements involved higher amounts based on the economic damage those families could demonstrate through life expectancy estimates combined with pensions and retirement benefits, O’Dell said.
Another lawsuit was filed on the death of the World War II veteran at Clarksburg VAMC
"It is unfortunate that there is a cap on what a family can recover. It's just not fair. (With the Medical Misconduct Act) lobbyists and lawmakers, without ever hearing the merits of a case, have ruled that the damage will limit will no matter how egregious the misconduct. It's completely unfair. It's about giving the insurance company more money, "said Colombo.
"If these veterans had been killed in a different state like Kentucky, which doesn't have arbitrary caps, their lives would have been worth more." It is a violation of Amendment 14 that someone’s life is worth less if they simply live in West Virginia. It is time that West Virginia lawmakers were held accountable for these violations of our constitutional rights, ”said O & # 39; Dell.
Second civil action for unjustified death in case of suspected death of veterans
The families are glad the government came to them and paid for what was available under West Virginia law, and glad they don't have to relive these facts of the cases over and over, said O & # 39; Dell.
However, there was no accountability in the hospital, the VA Inspectorate General's report has not yet been released, no changes have been made in the management of the hospital, and no changes have been made in the procedures or oversight that resulted in the deaths of the veterans, O & # said 39; Dell.
Closing the civil portion of the case with the proposed settlement, as well as the impending conviction of Reta Mays, who pleaded guilty on eight death charges in July, is a good cause for the Edgell family and enables the closure, Colombo said.
“No amount of money can give back to the Edgell family what they have lost. It wasn't about money for the family, they just wanted justice to be done, ”said Colombo.
VA Hospital murders are far from over; Congress also to weigh up
The Edgell family are delighted with how the criminal part of the Mays case has been handled by the law firm of US attorney William Powell, according to Colombo.
While all families are happy that Mays will likely spend the rest of their lives in jail, some families, like the Hallmans, whose death of the family member was not part of the criminal case against Mays, still feel a bit left out on O & # 39; Dell.
Mays will be back on trial later in October.
US District Judge Thomas Kleeh must approve the settlements during hearings scheduled for November 20.
According to O’Dell, his office is investigating 12 more cases after filing a lawsuit against the government in one of 12 death-related cases in 2017. "A lot of families still don't have answers," said O'Dell. As part of the settlement, the government has agreed to hand over May's work plan to O’Dell, which could help clarify these 12 cases, O’Dell said. "It's not over yet," he said.
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