A Pulaski County jury on Friday awarded $350,000 to a Van Buren man and $50,000 to his wife after finding a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences urologist negligent for surgery that scarred the 68-year-old man.
The 10-2 decision by jurors finding Dr. John Robert Delk II, 61, negligent in his treatment of Robert Everett Zolliecoffer ended a four-day trial before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Cathi Compton.
By the same 10-2 margin, jurors awarded Zolliecoffer $105,000 for the injury to his penis from surgery, $35,000 for medical treatment costs, $105,000 for pain and suffering, and $105,000 for disfigurement. The award to Malona Zolliecoffer, 57, was for loss of companionship caused by the injuries to her husband.
The plaintiffs, represented by Fort Smith attorneys Phil Votaw and Powell Sanders, had to convince a nine-member majority of the 12-member jury for a winning verdict.
Delk, who resides in California, is a professor of urology and specializes in urologic prostheses for the correction of incontinence in men and women and erectile dysfunction. He was represented by Ken Cook and Megan Hargraves of the Mitchell Williams law firm.
To reach their decision, jurors had to decide that the preponderance of evidence showed that Delk was negligent in his treatment of Robert Zolliecoffer, that Delk's negligence was the cause of Zolliecoffer's injuries, and that Malona Zolliecoffer's relationship with her husband was damaged by Delk's flawed treatment of her husband.
Pending an appeal, Friday's verdict ends four years of medical-malpractice litigation against Delk over the April 2008 penile-implant surgery he performed at the medical center on Robert Zolliecoffer, who contended that Delk negligently punctured the membrane separating his colon from the implant, court filings show.
His penis was disfigured as a result of Delk's treatment, and he suffers regular pain from the surgery, according to the lawsuit.
Metro on 05/30/2015