Askew et al v. United States
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Judgment shall be entered in favor of Plaintiffs and against Defendant in the total amount as follows: Plaintiff Dirk Askew: $6,778,667.00, Plaintiff Beulah Askew: $1,525,000, Total: $8,303,667. Signed by District Judge Henry E. Autrey on 11/18/2013. (CLK)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
DIRK ASKEW and BEULAH
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
No. 4:12CV152 HEA
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiffs bring the instant medical malpractice action against the United
States pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2671 et seq. Plaintiff
Dirk is a married 48–year–old male. His claims in the instant case arise from the
treatment he received at VA Hospital operated by Department of Veterans Affairs.
Plaintiff alleges that the treatment he received was negligent in a number of
The case was tried to the Court sitting without a jury. The Court having
considered the pleadings, the testimony of the witnesses, the documents in
evidence, and the stipulations of the parties, and being fully advised in the
premises, hereby makes the following findings of relevant fact and conclusions of
law, in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a).
Defendant does not contest Plaintiffs’ stated facts which give rise to this
matter. The Court adopts, therefore, the facts as detailed by Plaintiffs in their
Complaint and the stipulations of the parties . The issue before the Court,
therefore, is the amount of damages to be awarded to Plaintiffs which have
resulted by virtue of Defendant’s agents’ actions.
Requirements of Missouri Law
Section 538.215.1 R.S.Mo. requires the trier of fact in a medical malpractice
action to itemize damages according to the following categories, the terms of
which are defined in § 538.205:
(1) “Economic damages”, damages arising from pecuniary harm
including, without limitation, medical damages, and those damages
arising from lost wages and lost earning capacity;
(3) “Future damages”, damages that the trier of fact finds will accrue
after the damages findings are made;
(6) “Medical damages”, damages arising from reasonable expenses
for necessary drugs, therapy, and medical, surgical, nursing, x-ray,
dental, custodial and other health and rehabilitative services;
(7) “Noneconomic damages”, damages arising from nonpecuniary
harm including, without limitation, pain, suffering, mental anguish,
inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of capacity
to enjoy life, and loss of consortium but shall not include punitive
(8) “Past damages”, damages that have accrued when the damages
findings are made;
Based on the evidence presented on the record, the Court concludes that Plaintiff’s
damages are as follows:
Plaintiff Dirk Askew:
past economic: $253, 667,
past non-economic $525,000,
future economic $4,000,000
future non-economic: $2,000,000
Plaintiff Beulah Askew: Loss of consortium: $1,525,000
Total Damages: $8,303,667.
Defendant argues that the court should permit it to provide the plaintiff's
damages award for future medical costs in a reversionary trust. The plaintiffs
object to a reversionary trust.
In determining whether a reversionary trust is appropriate, the court gives
significant weight to whether the plaintiff objects to use of a reversionary trust.
Hull by Hull v. United States, 971 F.2d 1499, 1504 (10th Cir.1992). The burden is
on the requesting party to show that a reversionary trust is in the best interest of
the injured party. Hill v. United States, 81 F.3d 118, 121 (10th Cir.1996). Courts
have routinely rejected requests for reversionary trusts where the injured party
objects to the trust and the defendant offers no evidence of the benefit to the
injured party. Id.; Wyatt v. United States, 944 F.Supp. 803, 804 (E.D.Mo.1996)
(rejecting motion for reversionary trust when the competent adult plaintiff
objected and the defendant offered no reason why a trust would benefit him).
Because the plaintiffs oppose the imposition of a reversionary trust, the defendant
has presented no persuasive evidence in support of its request and the defendant
has not demonstrated that a trust is in the best interest of the plaintiff, the Court
denies the request for a reversionary trust. Hill, 81 F.3d at 121; Hull, 971 F.2d at
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Judgment shall be entered in favor of
Plaintiffs and against Defendant in the total amount as follows:
Plaintiff Dirk Askew: $6,778,667.00,
Plaintiff Beulah Askew: $1,525,000,
Dated this 18th day of November 2013.
HENRY EDWARD AUTREY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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