DaVita Suffers $383.5M Loss in Federal Court

Dialysis provider plans to appeal 'unjust' jury verdict on negligence, fraud claims

A federal jury delivered verdicts against DaVita in cases challenging the dialysis company's use of a recalled product in its treatments. / MICHAEL RIVERA

A group of lawsuits against Denver’s dialysis giant culminated in a nine-figure verdict late last month.

A federal jury hit dialysis provider DaVita with a $383.5 million verdict in a case involving the deaths of three patients. On top of their compensatory damages, the estates of Irma Menchaca, Gary Saldana and Deborah Hardin were each awarded $125 million in punitive damages for their claims of negligence and fraud by concealment. DaVita plans to appeal the verdict.

The claims originated from Da-Vita’s previous use of a product in its dialysis treatments called GranuFlo, which the Food and Drug Administration recalled, citing an increase of cardiac arrests in dialysis patients. The plaintiffs alleged that the kidney care company knew the clinical risks associated with using GranuFlo, but it avoided telling the physicians at its clinics that they would be using it and about the potential negative side effects it presented to patients.

After the Colorado federal district court jury returned its verdict June 27 in favor of the plaintiffs, DaVita issued a statement saying it “strongly disagreed.”

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the July 9, 2018 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.