Defendant’s attorneys defended the case by conceding that defendant was negligent in his treatment of plaintiff, but denied that he, in any way, injured her. The defense claimed that plaintiff was so psychologically disturbed before she saw defendant, evidenced by multiple long-term hospitalizations, chaotic relationships and a very sporadic employment history, that she was no different after seeing defendant than she was before.
Because of the long time of treatment, defendant was insured by several malpractice insurance companies. One of those companies settled with plaintiff for $600,000 before the trial. The other insurance company failed to offer plaintiff any money whatsoever. Thus, with no offer, plaintiff was forced to go to trial.
Law offices of Winer, Burritt & Scott, LLP, tried the case to a $7,130,000 verdict, believed to be the largest compensatory damage verdict for therapist abuse in the United States at the time. Defendant lost his license and spent nine months in jail.
The litigation of this case and the verdict received national media attention. It was listed as one of the hundred most significant verdicts in the country by the National Law Journal and John D. Winer was featured in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal (legal newspapers) under its “Featured Legal Profile” section. The case was also on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle.
RESULT: $7,130,000 verdict in favor of plaintiff (in addition to $600,000 prior settlement)