After a five-day trial and less than 45 minutes of deliberation, Jodi Simopoulos and Chip Hancock obtained a defense verdict.
Plaintiff filed a $33 million lawsuit against Defendant mental health hospital alleging that it had failed to prevent her alleged rape by another patient. She sued for violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, general negligence, medical malpractice, and punitive damages.
The VCPA claim was dismissed on a motion for summary judgment two days before trial. Evidence regarding the remaining counts were presented over the course of a five day jury trial. On day three, the Court dismissed the general negligence and punitive damages claims on a motion to strike. The medical malpractice claim went to the jury.
The case involved patients in the military unit of the hospital. Plaintiff argued a failure to conduct 15 minute checks properly resulted in a fellow patient getting into her room and sexually assaulting her. Defendant argued that Plaintiff had formed a relationship with the patient and snuck him into her room. When she realized she had been caught, she was worried she would get into trouble with her husband and under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Therefore, she claimed she had been raped.
Jodi Simopoulos and Thomas “Chip” Hancock tried this case in Petersburg Circuit Court from July 25-29, 2016. After less than 45 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant.