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Kenney v. Liston

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
760 S.E.2d 434 (W.V. 2014)


Facts

Samuel Liston (plaintiff) was seriously injured when a vehicle driven by an intoxicated John Kenney (defendant) slammed into Liston’s car. As a result of his injuries, Liston incurred medical bills in excess of $70,000. Subsequently, Kenney admitted liability. Thus, the only issue to be determined at trial was the measure of damages. Kenney’s counsel filed a pre-trial motion in limine, claiming that only a portion of Liston’s bills had been paid by Liston as a co-payment or deductible or by Liston’s health-insurance carrier, Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BCBS). Additionally, Kenney argued that under an agreement between Liston’s hospital and its physicians and BCBS, many of Liston’s medical bills had been discounted or reduced, and the remaining unpaid balances had been written off by the medical providers. Kenney claimed that Liston’s damages should be limited to the amounts actually paid by Liston or BCBS. The trial court denied Kenney’s motion, reasoning that under the collateral-source rule, Liston was entitled to recover damages for the value of any reasonable and necessary medical services he received, regardless of whether the services were subsequently discounted, were reduced, or were rendered gratuitously by another. After a trial, the jury held for Liston and awarded him over $325,000 in compensatory damages, which included over $74,000 for past medical expenses. Kenney appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Ketchum, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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Dissent (Loughery, J.)

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