A court decided Thursday that relatives of late actor Bill Paxton, who sued Cedars-Sinai Medical Center over his death in 2017, can pursue punitive damages at trial.
Bill Paxton Punitive Damages Case
On Wednesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven J. Kleifield refused a defense petition to dismiss the actor’s widow, Louise Paxton, and the couple’s children, James and Lydia Paxton, from a case filed in February 2018 over the actor’s corpse disposal.
Family members claim Cedars-Sinai and Dr. Ali Khoynezhad obstructed and delayed their request for an autopsy in order to conceal Bill Paxton’s death.
“Defendants made such a promise with no intention to perform an autopsy on William Paxton so they could conceal their role in causing the death of Mr. Paxton,”
Bill Paxton’s relatives claim that if they had known the autopsy would not take place at Cedars, they would have made other arrangements to guarantee that the actor’s autopsy took place before his cremation.
The court ruled that “Cedars submits no evidence as to who made the misrepresentation to plaintiffs, who was involved in making the misrepresentation or who was involved in the decision to not perform the autopsy,”
Cedars-attorneys Sinai’s claimed in court documents that the hospital had “no advanced knowledge of the unfitness of any employees related to the disposition of bodies.”
According to case documents filed by the hospital’s attorneys, the hospital never allowed or validated any claimed improper behavior relating to Paxton’s corpse disposal.
Bill Paxton’s death
On Feb. 25, 2017, 11 days after surgery to replace a heart valve and repair aorta damage, the actor died of a stroke, according to his death certificate. He had been 61 years old for some time.
According to the lawsuit, “The heart surgery recommended to Bill Paxton was not indicated. Mr. Paxton did not meet even Khoynezhad’s own criteria for such a surgery.”
Khoynezhad was a Cedars-Sinai cardiothoracic surgeon who was known prior to Bill Paxton’s death to practice “cowboy medicine,” as the hospital personnel testified.
“In Khoynezhad’s quest to generate more surgeries and higher numbers, he continued to push the envelope and pushed to do surgeries on cases that were marginal at best,”
Khoynezhad was also known among the personnel as “AK-47,” the name of an assault rifle.
The complaint further claims that Khoynezhad was known among the personnel as “AK-47,” the name of an assault rifle.
Khoynezhad has left Cedars-Sinai.
The trial was being moved from March to September 19.
Paxton appeared in films including Twister, Apollo 13, Titanic, Near Dark, and Aliens, as well as television shows like Big Love and Hatfields & McCoys.