Back to All Articles

Author: John Anselmo

Last Updated March 4, 2024

Jury Awards a Record-Breaking $120 Million in New York Medical Malpractice Case


On November 30, 2023, a jury in Westchester County, New York awarded plaintiff $120 million in a verdict against Westchester Medical Center in the case of William R. Lee et al. v. Westchester County Health Care Corporation et al. This is the largest medical malpractice verdict in the history of Westchester County.



In 2018, plaintiff, Mr. Lee, collapsed and began to convulse in his bathroom. Mr. Lee’s wife found him and called 911.  Mr. Lee was transported to Westchester Medical Center. He arrived at the hospital at approximately 3:40 a.m. Upon his arrival, the staff suspected Mr. Lee was suffering from a stroke and performed a CT scan. However, at the time of his arrival, no board-certified radiologists were available. The physicians present at the time, plaintiff alleged, were not experienced enough to interpret the results of the CT scan. Upon their review, the doctors concluded the CT scan failed to show an occlusion or blood clot.

Three hours after Mr. Lee’s arrival at the hospital, the attending radiologist arrived. Upon the radiologist’s review of the records, it was determined that Mr. Lee had sustained a basilar artery occlusion, otherwise known as a stroke. A thrombectomy was performed to remove the blood clot, but by that time, Mr. Lee had sustained serious brain damage exacerbated by a delayed diagnosis of an autoimmune disorder which causes blood clots.

Mr. Lee was a commercial real estate broker. However, due to the extensive brain damage he sustained, his judgment was severely impaired, along with his short-term memory. As a result of his injuries, Mr. Lee now resides in a residential brain center and requires lifelong, around-the-clock care. Mr. Lee filed a case for medical malpractice and his wife filed a derivative claim for loss of services.

Prior to trial, the defendants moved for summary judgment. The court initially found defendants “met their initial burden of demonstrating their entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting expert affirmations establishing that the hospital defendants properly monitored the plaintiff’s condition, that the decision to delay the aortic repair surgery was appropriate and within prevailing standards of practice considering that the plaintiff was hemodynamically stable and the mortality risk of performing immediate repair surgery, and that the alleged malpractice did not proximately cause the plaintiff’s injuries.” However, the court denied the motion, finding plaintiff “raised issues of fact as to whether the hospital defendants failed to properly monitor the plaintiff’s condition in the hospital and, thus, failed to timely realize he was no longer hemodynamically stable, whether the defendants deviated from the standard of care in delaying the aortic repair surgery in light of the plaintiff’s deteriorating condition, and whether that delay proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries.”



This verdict is evidence of the continuing trend of runaway, nuclear verdicts in New York State outside of the five boroughs. Even plaintiff’s counsel, Ben Rubinowitz, was struck by the enormity of the verdict: “I’ve been a lawyer for 40 years now and I’ve never heard of a malpractice verdict like this.” While it is not clear what defense may have argued in court, it appears jurors were angry – angry enough to award a strikingly large verdict. In any case that has the potential to go nuclear, the defense needs to act early and start using the Nuclear Verdicts® defense methods from the very beginning of trial to defuse juror anger.