August 18, 2011

Florida Court: Abortionist Ordered to Pay Survivor $36 Million in Damages

by Karla Dial: A Florida judge on Monday denied a new malpractice trial to an abortionist previously ordered to pay a victim $36 million.

As a result, James Pendergraft — who owns five abortion clinics in Florida and one near Washington, D.C. — will likely see his businesses close, since he does not carry medical malpractice insurance.

The money will go to Carol Howard for the life-long care of her severely disabled 10-year-old daughter. Howard sought a chemical abortion from Pendergraft in 2001, when she was 20 years old and 22 weeks pregnant. Instead of delivering a stillborn child into a toilet, however, she delivered a live child weighing just over 1 pound at a nearby hospital. Her daughter suffers from cerebral palsy, strokes, brain and lung damage, chronic lung disease, seizure disorders, and has no function on the left side of her body.

“She’s never going to get any better,” Howard’s lawyer, Jennifer Gentry Fernandez, told the Orlando Sentinel after the ruling. “It was a tragically unbelievable situation. Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer until we can get recovery for (Howard).”

If a sonogram had been performed, Fernandez said, Howard would most likely have realized abortion was no longer an option.

In court, Pendergraft’s attorney said if Howard had stayed at the clinic instead of leaving 12 hours after the drugs were administered, the outcome would have been different. Gentry told the jury that when Howard asked clinic staff why the abortion was taking so long, she was told to “change her attitude or get the h— out of the clinic.

Since opening his first Florida clinic in the mid-1990s, Pendergraft has served time in federal prison for extortion and perjury. The Florida Department of Health has suspended his license four times, but at press time, his clinics remained open with other abortionists at the helm.

Howard won her civil case against him in July, when a judge ordered him to pay $18,255,000 in punitive damages, $18 million in compensatory damages to be placed in a trust for her daughter’s care, and more than $400,000 in court costs. Eleven jurors found him guilty, and one declared him “absolutely guilty!”
[H/T ARRA News Service]

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