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Family of Las Vegas man denied cancer treatment awarded  $200M verdict in insurance bad faith lawsuit

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Attorneys hope historical verdict spurs change in insurance industry

Las Vegas, NV (April 26, 2022)A jury awarded $40 million in compensatory damages and $160 million in punitive damages to the family of a Las Vegas man who died after being wrongfully denied a specific type of cancer treatment. Sierra Health and Life, a UnitedHealthCare Company, denied Bill Eskew’s claim for proton beam therapy (PBT). Sandy Eskew, the widow and on behalf of Bill Eskew’ estate, brought a lawsuit against Sierra Health and Life. After a 13-day trial, the jury found Sierra Health and Life had breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing also known as “insurance bad faith.” 

Following a 2015 diagnosis with lung cancer, Bill Eskew went to the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. A physician at MD Anderson recommended PBT because she believed PBT would reduce the risk of serious side effects of radiation. In a letter denying the treatment, Sierra Health and Life stated, “This type of therapy is considered unproven and not medically necessary for treating lung cancer.” PBT is a widely accepted cancer treatment. 

The treatment Sierra Health and Life approved, called Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), caused a serious injury to Mr. Eskew’s esophagitis, a side effect his physician wanted to avoid by using PBT. During the remaining year of his life, Bill Eskew suffered unnecessarily from significant pain and emotional distress. Bill Eskew died in March 2017.

“This was a case about an insurance company who operated as though it was above the law. Sierra denied Bill’s claim without fairly considering the insurance policy it sold him and without a good faith investigation,” said Matthew L. Sharp of Reno, Nev., one of the Eskew family’s attorneys. “We believe the jury, through its verdict, found that Sierra’s rigged system of handling claims is wrong and needs to be changed,” said Eskew family attorney Douglas A. Terry of Doug Terry Law in Edmond, Okla.

The case is Sandra L. Eskew, as Special Administrator of the Estate of William George Eskew vs. Sierra Health and Life Insurance Company, Inc., a subsidiary of UnitedHealthCare, No. A-19–788630-C, in the Eighth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada in and for the County of Clark. 

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READER COMMENTS

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Exactly the same for me I thought of interest people they don’t wanna be out I’ll see you talk to 20 million actually supposed to share it and then you have the AIG that is about five policies of 1,000,000×10 people to 10 million per each policy is 50 million and we’re Swainsboro Georgia shield insurance health insurance I said you’re gonna die and because medically necessary for the policy pays 50 I wanna give you something they don’t they won’t even tell you that’s what she’s OK to go ahead and they told Eon dental clinic they would cause her being biased as it was even worse than 560 billion

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