Gavel, new dark

COLES COUNTY, Ill. (WAND) - A 19-year-old disabled teen and her parents were awarded $40 million by a Coles County jury Thursday for birth injuries suffered during childbirth. 

This is the highest reported medical malpractice verdict in the state outside of Cook County and the highest verdict ever in Coles County history.

The trial lasted three weeks.

The victim, Kiera Campbell, and her parents, Todd and Jaime Campbell, took the stand to testify.

Kiera’s parents testified that their daughter suffered severe and permanent brain injuries that have impacted the family all of their lives.

The jury took less than three hours to find that Kiera's injuries were preventable if hospital staff and a nurse at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon had not delayed calling the doctor to perform an emergency C-section.

The plaintiffs were represented by Spiros Law, P.C., and Levin & Perconti.

The complaint was first filed 15 years ago when Kiera was four years old. P

Before the case went to trial earlier this month, the defense had offered $3 million to Kiera and her family to settle the case.

During the trial, their lawyers asked the jury to award them between $35 and $37 million. The jury increased the amount to $40 million.

“The verdict shows that people in this country, whether in urban or rural or large or small communities, will not tolerate poor healthcare. The jury returned a verdict that was greater than the amount we asked for in our closing argument,” said Mike Bonamarte, managing partner at Levin & Perconti. “We prosecuted this case for 15 years and persisted in rejecting the defense argument that Kiera wasn’t injured to the extent we said. On the outside, Kiera looks like a normal 19-year-old but the damage to her brain has limited her potential. Physically, Kiera is high functioning. Cognitively, her executive functioning is significantly impaired. The verdict is just and reflective of the complete compensation that Kiera deserves for the harm that was done to her by the conduct of the defendants.”

In May of 2003 Kiera’s mother Jaime was 40 weeks pregnant with her when she began bleeding and suffering abdominal pain and cramping.

When she arrived at the hospital, it was discovered she had a placental abruption. However, the Campbell's legal team said the doctor was not called to the hospital until the situation was extremely serious.

They said that, as a result of the delayed delivery, Kiera suffered from a seizure disorder, mild cerebral palsy and speech and developmental delays.

Through intensive physical, occupational and speech therapy, she has made advances. However, they said Kiera still has numerous cognitive and intellectual disabilities including a significant executive function disorder and memory deficits.

“Thanks to the tireless work of Kiera’s parents and her own hard work and perseverance, she has accomplished so much more than was expected. She graduated from high school and has a part time job. The jurors could only imagine the life Kiera could have had without these severe disabilities given her work ethic and supportive family," said Miranda L. Soucie, partner at Spiros Law, P.C. “In addition to damages, this jury also understood the great emotional distress Kiera and her family have suffered and will continue to suffer due to her birth injuries which were preventable. The jury ruled accordingly."

“This verdict is a great relief for our family. We would like to thank our legal team for telling our story, the judge for allowing our story to be told and the jury for their attention and time in hearing our story,” said Kiera’s father, Todd Campbell. “We will never get what most people call normal, but we can finally put this behind us and move forward in securing our daughter’s future. We no longer have to worry about Kiera being taken care of if something ever happened to us.” 

The jury's verdict includes $20,000,000 for future disability, $5,000,000 for past disability, $4,750,000 for future emotional distress, $750,000 for past emotional distress, $500,000 for past pain and suffering, $5,000,000 for future caretaking expenses, and $4,000,000 for future lost earnings.

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