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Case of the Month

West's® Jury Verdicts - Nevada Reports

Professional Golfer Committed Suicide Following Personal Relationship with Prescribing Physician

Blasberg, individually and as an heir and as administrator of Blasberg, Estate of v. Hess, M.D.

Type of Case:
Medical Malpractice - Patient Relations Issues
Medical Malpractice - Medication

Specific Liability:
Suicide following personal telationship with prescribing physician

General Injury:

State: Nevada
Court: District Court of Nevada, Clark County.

Related Court Documents:
Pretrial memorandum: 2014 WL 2803887
Defendant's trial brief: 2014 WL 2803888
Verdict form: 2014 WL 2803915
Judgment: 2014 WL 2812822

Case Name:
Blasberg, individually and as an heir and as administrator of Blasberg, Estate of v. Hess, M.D.

Docket/File Number:

Result Amount:
Defense Verdict, $0

Result Date:
May 13, 2014

Joanna S. Kishner

Plaintiff: Terry A. Coffing, Marquis Aurbach Coffing, Las Vegas, NV
Plaintiff: Nick Crosby, Marquis Aurbach Coffing, Las Vegas, NV
Defendant: Kim Irene Mandelbaum, Mandelbaum, Ellerton & Kelly, Las Vegas, NV
Defendant: Marie Ellerton, Mandelbaum, Ellerton & Kelly, Las Vegas, NV

Result Type:
Jury Trial

Plaintiff: Family Practitioner: Chambers, Ned, M.D., San Diego, CA
Defendant: Psychiatrist: LaRusch, Kahmien, M.D., Las Vegas, NV
Defendant: Family Practitioner: Creager, Robert, M.D., Scottsdale, AZ

Breakdown of Award:
Defense Verdict, $0

Summary of Facts:
This wrongful death lawsuit was brought when Erica Blasberg, a professional golfer, committed suicide after allegedly being treated by defendant Thomas J. Hess, M.D., a fellow golf club member, who allegedly prescribed various medications to the decedent including codeine, Levaquin, Temazepam, fluticasone, Methylpred, hydrocodone and Tramadol after she visited his office and complained of upper respiratory problems; the decedent allegedly committed suicide after she and the defendant began a personal relationship, and the defendant visited her home while she was intoxicated. The defendant allegedly found the decedent dead the next morning and removed a suicide note and a blister pack of Xanax and hid them in his car. The plaintiff estate contended the defendant failed to provide the appropriate standard of care. The defendant contended he and the decedent had a friendly and competitive relationship related to golfing and contended his care of the decedent complied with the appropriate standard of care; he claimed the decedent's suicide was not foreseeable based upon his alleged conduct and claimed he had no prior knowledge of the decedent's prior mental and emotional issues and prior suicide attempt.

Westlaw Citation:
2014 WL 3830874

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