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$500 Million In Punitive Damages Awarded In Hepatitis C Case

LAS VEGAS (AP) A Nevada jury has ordered the state’s largest health management organization to pay $500 million in punitive damages to three plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit stemming from a Las Vegas hepatitis outbreak.

The decision on Tuesday comes after a jury last week found the companies liable for $24 million in compensatory damages.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys had asked Health Plan of Nevada and Sierra Health Services to pay almost $2.5 billion in the negligence lawsuit, saying it would warn health corporations against putting profits ahead of patient safety.

They argued the HMO knew a doctor operating an outpatient endoscopy clinic was dangerous but sent patients there anyway.

Attorneys for the two companies argued that a large punitive award would be unreasonable.

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