For Immediate Release

$14 Million Verdict for Plaintiffs Against Illinois’ Largest Medical Insurance Carrier ISMIE Mutual Insurance Ordered to Pay Punitive Damages
The parents of a young girl, who died in 2007 after a case of medical malpractice, won a verdict of more than $14 million dollars against the insurance company representing some of the doctors involved in her care. A Cook County jury last week returned the judgment against the ISMIE Mutual Insurance Company, awarding the family $1.35 million in compensatory damages and $13 million in punitive damages. The parents had argued that ISMIE had negotiated in bad faith during the underlying medical malpractice case by rejecting their demand to settle the matter within the policy limits and by failing to tell the doctors how much insurance coverage was available to compensate the family for their injuries. The family was represented by Wise Law Offices. The background of the current case dates to 2004 when Alizabeth and Elvin Hana’s daughter, Mary, was born with a brain injury caused by deprivation of oxygen. The child died in 2007. The family brought medical malpractice claims against obstetricians Dr. Albert Chams and Dr. Joyce Chams of Chams Women’s Health Care, who treated Alizabeth during her pregnancy. In May 2009 a jury found in favor of the Hana family, awarding them $6.2 million. The doctors, however, were insured by ISMIE with a policy limit that — when combined with settlements from other doctors in the case — left the Hanas without $1.35 million of their verdict. The doctors in the case assigned their claim of bad faith against ISMIE to the Hanas. Among other claims, the Hanas alleged that ISMIE should have known that the doctors were likely to be found liable, that the liability was likely to be greater than the policy limits and that ISMIE should have engaged in settlement negotiations. Further, ISMIE failed to adequately convey the amount of coverage that was available to the insured. ISMIE also rejected numerous opportunities to settle the case within the policy limits, which would have protected the doctors from the verdict that exceeded those limits. "After losing their daughter to medical malpractice, the Hana family was harmed again by ISMIE’s failure to negotiate in good faith. Every insurance company must live up to its obligations." A Nov. 18, 2015, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin article titled "Bad-faith case vs. ISMIE gets $14M verdict" quoted extensively.

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