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Todd A. Smith Receives Award for the Highest Reported Illinois Award for Psychiatric Malpractice

Todd SmithOn October 17th, 2012, Todd Smith, founding partner of Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P., received the award for the Highest Reported Illinois Award for Psychiatric Malpractice. Mr. Smith was recognized at the 2012 Jury Verdict Reporter Trial Lawyer Excellence Awards which took place at the InterContinental Chicago Hotel.

Mr. Smith was honored for having obtained a $10.6 million settlement in a psychiatric malpractice case involving a Chicago area woman and her family.

The case involved a 29-year-old mother who checked into the psychiatric unit at Rush-Presbyte-rian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, one of Chicago’s most prestigious hospitals. For six years, she was under the care of Dr. Bennett G. Braun, a nationally recognized authority on multiple personality disorder (MPD), a mental illness in which the sufferer veers between two or more distinct personalities. Braun believed that MPD was the result of repeated childhood trauma, often sexual abuse.

Before her treatment was over, Mr. Smith’s client would develop 300 personalities, attempt suicide twice, cut ties with her family in Iowa, and go to court to regain custody of her children. Mr. Smith’s client spent more than two years in the hospital. Her children spent nearly three years in a hospital. After all of her hospitalization with Braun, her insurance company paid nearly $3 million for her treatment regimen.

Mr. Smith was quoted in the Chicago Magazine saying, “Psychiatric malpractice cases are extremely difficult because you can’t see the injury–a jury won’t be able to watch the plaintiff come into the courtroom in a wheelchair. I felt a professional responsibility to take this case. What happened to these folks seemed so egregious.”

Mr. Smith worked up the case using six experts and reviewing nearly 10,000 pages of medical records and deposition transcripts. Eventually, Mr. Smith was ready to present the case that Braun had misdiagnosed his client’s illness and that his experimental treatment regimen had not only violated the standard of care but also caused her severe emotional harm. “Everything about it was fringe therapy–the excessive hypnosis, the excessive levels of medication that weren’t FDA approved, and the lengthy hospitalization,” Mr. Smith said of the experimental treatment which his client received.

Eventually, Mr. Smith obtained a U.S. record $10.6 million settlement.