State Farm clobbered after refusing to pay for pain management
The Court of Appeals recently affirmed a $2.5 million dollar verdict in favor of Sheri Anderson against State Farm Mutual. Anderson suffered from facial pain and headaches after striking the car window in a motor vehicle collision. Already suffering from multiple sclerosis, Anderson received pain treatment from anesthesiologist Maurice Converse, an M.D. who graduated from Ohio State's medical school. His treatment included facial injections of steroids, anesthetic and Sarapin. State Farm covered the treatments for about three years before rejecting payment. Converse continued to treat Anderson without payment, and she filed suit for Personal Injury Protection benefits.
State Farm argued to the jury that the treatments were unnecessary, inappropriate, and valuable to Anderson because of her underlying MS, rather than the motor vehicle injuries. It also argued that Anderson was malingering. Both sides presented expert testimony to support their claims. The jury rejected State Farm's defense and awarded Anderson and Converse the full amount owed, including punitive interest.
The unanimous Court of Appeals panel noted that State Farm was cherry-picking the evidence on appeal, and that the trial court had properly limited some of State Farm's evidence in response to State Farm's failure to properly comply with discovery requirements of the Court. It concluded that the jury verdict was an appropriate outcome under the circumstances of the evidence presented.