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Jury awards $500 million in hepatitis C case

Jury awards $500 million in hepatitis C case

By Don Guevara. CREATED Apr 9, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- It is a historic verdict for Nevada. A Las Vegas jury has awarded $500 million in punitive damages to three people affected by the Las Vegas hepatitis outbreak.

The award, which is the largest in Nevada history, goes against two health insurance companies that included Dr. Depak Desai in their networks.

The three people who filed the civil lawsuit against the insurance companies included two women who were infected by Hep C and the husband of one of the women.

Health Plan of Nevada was ordered to pay $270 million and Sierra Health Services must pay $230 million.

Last week, a jury ordered the two companies to pay $24 million in compensatory damages.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs had asked for $2.5 billion in the negligence lawsuit. They argued that the two companies knew that Dr. Desai was dangerous but sent patients there anyways.

Helen Myer, 76, says she is mentally exhausted from the weeks-long trial.

Myer and Bonnie Brunson contracted Hep C back in 2008 and have been battling it ever since.

It happened after they both got endoscopic procedures at Dr. Desai's clinic. A Clark County jury indicted Desai on 28 criminal counts related to the outbreak in 2010. The health department believes patients became infected when nurses reused syringes.

Health Plan of Nevada says that they plan to appeal the ruling but attorneys for the plaintiffs in this case say they have other infected patients and they expect the same outcome.

Don Guevara

Don Guevara

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Don Guevara anchors the weekend evening editions of Action News.