Ripa's sister paid $15 million by surgeon
Published: Wednesday, February 4, 2004
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 23:07
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A jury has ordered a Philadelphia surgeon to pay $15 million to the sister of television talk-show host Kelly Ripa for failing to properly repair her broken ankle.
Linda Ripa, 30, was an aspiring model and actress when she was nearly killed in a 1999 car accident that fractured her pelvis, sternum and ankle and endangered her eight-month pregnancy.
She claimed in her lawsuit that a surgeon who operated on the ankle three days after the crash rushed her into surgery unnecessarily without telling her of the risks, then improperly set her broken bones.
Medical experts testifying for Ripa at trial said the operation left her foot permanently deformed, made it difficult to walk and caused nerve damage that gives her constant pain.
A lawyer for the hospital where the surgery was performed called the judgment excessive and said he planned to appeal. Ripa had offered to settle for $2.4 million, but was turned down by the doctor, who said her nerve damage was caused by the crash, not the efforts to heal her.
The jury announced its verdict on Friday.
''I'm going to hazard a guess that the plaintiff, and the plaintiff's lawyers, in their wildest dreams, did not anticipate this case bringing in $15 million,'' said David Corujo, a lawyer for Frankford Hospital.
Ripa's lawyer, Roberta D. Pichini, said the jury's verdict was just. She said Ripa lost her ability to work as an actress, and, because of her pain, could not accept a $150,000-per-year job to work as her sister's personal assistant.
Kelly Ripa, co-host of ''Live With Regis & Kelly'' and an actress in the ABC comedy ''Hope & Faith,'' testified by videotape at the two-week trial in Philadelphia's Common Pleas Court.