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Joplin law firm earns accolades for $34M verdict involving CoxHealth

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The Joplin law firm of Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci LLC was recognized by legal trade publication Missouri Lawyers Weekly for a 2021 verdict involving Springfield-based CoxHealth.

Missouri Lawyers Weekly officials say the roughly $34 million verdict was the largest medical malpractice award in the state last year, according to a news release.

Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci represented the mother of the infant in the case that was tried last March. The case dates back to 2014, when Katie Chittenden was in labor with her child, Brody Kendrick, at CoxHealth in Springfield. Chittenden was given increasing doses of labor induction drug Pitocin, causing her contractions to become frequent and resulting in Kendrick being deprived of oxygen, officials with the law firm say. Roger Johnson and Scott Vorhees handled the case, which found malpractice occurred in the event that led to brain damage and other medical issues for Kendrick, according to the release.

“We took on the case knowing that a victory for Brody would not only cover some of the costs associated with his elevated needs but could also ensure that CoxHealth and surrounding hospitals improve their standard of care, so that no other family will have to endure the same heartache that Brody’s family has lived through," Johnson said in the release. "While nothing can give Brody back the quality of life he deserves, the verdict will help support the care he needs, and, hopefully, change hospital protocols to prevent this from occurring again.”

A CoxHealth spokesperson could not be reached immediately for comment by deadline. In a statement to KY3, CoxHealth officials said "we are deeply sorry any time an incident like this occurs, but we stand behind our teams and the care we provided in this case. Even though we disagree with the jury’s verdict, we respect the judicial process.”

Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci’s website also lists a Springfield office at 811 N. Boonville Ave.

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