Health Alliance Slammed With $801,000 Jury Verdict in Negligence Case

An Ulster County jury found Health Alliance negligent in a brutal assault committed on the hospital’s Mary’s Avenue Campus in Kingston, New York. The jury verdict awarded compensation for the female plaintiff in excess of $800,000.00.

The plaintiff, a 69 year-old Ulster County woman, was represented by attorney John A. DeGasperis, who practices law in association with Kingston-based law firm Basch & Keegan, LLP. DeGasperis took the matter to trial because Health Alliance, a subsidiary of WMCHealth Network, refused to accept any responsibility for an attack that left the victim with permanent physical and emotional injuries.

According to DeGasperis, his client, an attorney with Mental Hygiene Legal Services, had visited the Mental Health Unit at Health Alliance Hospital Mary’s Avenue Campus on July 31, 2013.  Her purpose was to represent a mental health patient in a legal proceeding against the hospital. Upon arrival to the unit, the woman had made both her presence and purpose known to the mental health staff. Unfortunately, the hospital’s staff failed to warn the plaintiff that her client presented a danger to himself and others.

The hospital’s staff then proceeded to allow the plaintiff to meet alone with her patient in a locked room without any supervision. After fifteen minutes, the patient got up from a table and brutally assaulted his attorney without provocation or warning. The victim suffered injuries to her head, face, and arms. She had extensive bruising throughout her head and upper body. She had a torn retina that required emergency laser eye surgery, and she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

During the week-long trial, DeGasperis presented evidence that the assault occurred due to a systemic failure within the hospital’s Mental Health Unit. “This brutal attack could have been avoided had the hospital’s administration exercised reasonable care in operating the Acute Mental Health Unit,” said DeGasperis. “The administration failed to implement adequate policies to protect people who visited the unit, and, on the flip side, the hospital failed to enforce those policies that it had previously implemented.”

The six member jury delivered its verdict late in the afternoon on Monday, May 21, 2018.

Basch and Keegan, LLP is a Kingston, NY personal injury law firm that represents only accident and injury victims and their families.