Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Welfare Cheating can be Expensive

To the tune of $750,000. That’s the amount Amy Schmidt is about to lose, now that the Court of Appeals has weighed in. From the Beacon Journal:

“AKRON - A $750,000 malpractice judgment against a Stow urgent care clinic has been overturned on appeal and sent back to the Summit County Common Pleas Court for a new trial.

Amy Schmidt, of Stow, sued B.E.S. Clinic of Ohio, claiming that an improperly trained technician caused incurable nerve damage (known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy) during a blood draw in 2001. A Summit County jury agreed in October 2005, awarding her $750,000.

However, the Ninth District Court of Appeals ruled today that the trial court made a key error that requires a new trial.

The appeals court ruled that the trial court erred when it refused to let the clinic's attorneys question Schmidt about a prior criminal conviction for receiving welfare money `by deception.'

Excluding that evidence did not allow the jury to assess
Schmidt's credibility, a decision that was `unduly prejudicial' to the clinic, the appeals court ruled, especially since much of the case hinged on Schmidt's version of events.”

Key Takeaway: I have no knowledge of the actual facts of Ms. Schmidt’s case / injury, but It’s going to be tough to win a case that turns on your credibility once the defense can point out that you’ve got a prior for “receiving welfare money by deception”. It may not matter much if you are telling the truth this time.