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Physician Collects $26 Million After Litigation Over Inadequate E.R. Staffing Finally Ends

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Dr. Raymond Brovont claimed he was fired by EmCare after complaining about E.R. staffing at Overland Park Regional Medical Center.

The original $29 million award was one of the biggest jury awards in Missouri in 2018.

An E.R. doctor who was awarded $29 million after claiming he was wrongfully terminated because he complained about staffing shortages in the emergency department of a local hospital has ended up collecting about $26 million.

The original jury award in favor of Dr. Raymond Brovont had been slashed in half by a Jackson County judge, but the Missouri Court of Appeals restored most of it last year.

The defendant, EmCare, one of the nation’s biggest hospital staffing companies, then sought review before the Missouri Supreme Court. But the high court recently refused to hear the case, leaving the award intact.

“So we just collected it,” said Brovont’s attorney, Michael Ketchmark. “It was a complete win.”

Brovont, who was employed by EmCare, sued two EmCare subsidiaries, saying he was fired after repeatedly raising concerns that a single physician was used at night to cover both the regular and pediatric emergency departments at Overland Park Regional Medical Center, where he worked. The staffing decisions were made by EmCare.

In 2018, a Jackson County jury awarded Brovont $29 million, one of the biggest jury awards in Missouri that year. The award included $20 million in punitive damages

But the trial judge halved the amount after applying Kansas law, which caps punitive damages. Both sides appealed, and the Missouri Court of appeals in October said the trial judge wrongly applied Kansas law against EmCare’s Missouri subsidiary.

But because the Kansas cap still applied to the other EmCare subsidiary, the award was reduced to $23 million. Post-judgment interest brought the final amount to around $26 million. And with the Missouri Supreme Court's refusal to review the case, Ketchmark recently filed “a complete and total satisfaction” of the judgment, bringing an end to the drawn out litigation.

Brovont could not be reached for comment.

EmCare, which was founded in Dallas in 1972, provides ER staffing for hundreds of hospitals across the United States. The company, which is owned by Envision Physician Services, did not respond to a request for comment.

As a reporter covering breaking news and legal affairs, I want to demystify often-complex legal issues in order to expose the visible and invisible ways they affect people’s lives. I cover issues of justice and equity, and seek to ensure that significant and often under-covered developments get the attention they deserve so that KCUR listeners and readers are equipped with the knowledge they need to act as better informed citizens. Email me at dan@kcur.org.
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