Sarasota County Judge Dismisses Allegations of Juror Misconduct, Upholding $261 Million Damages Award to Kowalski Family Against All Children’s Hospital

Sarasota County, Florida – A judge in Sarasota County has dismissed allegations of juror misconduct in a civil case against Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. The hospital claimed that the misconduct was grounds for a new trial after a $261 million damages award was issued. Judge Hunter Carroll made the ruling after questioning jury foreman Paul Lengyel. The hospital’s attorneys had accused Lengyel of multiple instances of misconduct, including bias against their client and conducting his own research into the case.

Lengyel was part of a six-person jury that found All Children’s Hospital guilty of falsely imprisoning and battering Maya Kowalski, a 10-year-old girl. The jury also determined that the hospital inflicted emotional distress on Maya and her family and contributed to her mother’s suicide. The case received international attention, in part due to its portrayal in a Netflix documentary.

During the hearing, Carroll questioned Lengyel about potential bias stemming from a previous court case involving the custody of his children. Lengyel affirmed that the Florida Department of Children and Families, the agency responsible for placing Maya in the hospital, was not involved in his case. After the interview, Carroll stated that there was no evidence of juror misconduct.

Following the ruling, hospital attorney Ethen Shapiro announced that the hospital would continue to pursue an appeal. Shapiro argued that the trial was tainted by ethical, procedural, and legal violations, leading to an unjust verdict. However, Carroll has yet to approve a final judgment in the case, as other post-verdict motions are still pending.

The Kowalski family sued All Children’s Hospital in 2018, alleging mistreatment during Maya’s stay in the hospital following an emergency room visit. The tragic case resulted in Maya’s mother taking her own life. Carroll is expected to address all outstanding motions by January 22. Once a final judgment is entered, the hospital will be required to pay interest on the damages unless the award is overturned on appeal. The current daily interest would amount to approximately $59,000, based on a draft court filing.

In conclusion, a judge in Sarasota County has dismissed allegations of juror misconduct in a lawsuit against Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. The hospital will continue to pursue an appeal as it seeks to overturn the $261 million damages award. Further motions and a final judgment are yet to be addressed in the case.