Motions in coma case seek to add defendants, exclude man's children as beneficiaries

Jan 11 2011 - 11:09pm

OGDEN -- Final motions filed for a comatose man's lawsuit against McKay-Dee Hospital deal with possibly adding defendants and excluding his children as beneficiaries.

Jorge Godinez has been comatose since July 10, 2005, after police sent him to McKay-Dee Hospital for treatment of injuries incurred when jumping through a window in a paranoid, methamphetamine-addled state.

He and his wife, Camelia, are the listed plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in April 2006 that claims rough handling by four McKay-Dee security guards in tying him to a gurney that night landed Godinez in a coma.

McKay-Dee has footed the bill ever since for Godinez's care, estimated to cost $1,000 a day.

Late last month, Godinez's Ogden lawyers, James Hasenyager and Peter Summerill, filed a motion to block motions from Intermountain Healthcare, McKay-Dee's owner, seeking to list Ogden police and paramedics, and even Godinez's wife, as third-party defendants.

The trial is set for three weeks in April before 2nd District Judge Michael DiReda.

A final pretrial conference is set for March 8 to iron out the pending issues.

Godinez's motion reads that the court should be "shocked at the defendants' attempt in this case to blame nearly every individual who came in contact with Jorge Godinez prior to the point in time at which they smothered him and left him in a permanent vegetative state."

Intermountain Healthcare's prior motions have called for adding Godinez's wife and other family members to the verdict list because they took no action to prevent Godinez's meth use and may have served as his suppliers.

But Intermountain Healthcare lead counsel George Naegle said Tuesday the defense team would "probably not" be naming any additional defendants in the case, and definitely not any Godinez family members.

He said those accusations were filed in motions several years ago as is routinely done in such lawsuits.

"You have to make the allegations in order to preserve the right to talk about them if they materialize," Naegle said. "There is no factual evidence as to the family supplying the drugs."

But Naegle said the defense is pressing a motion to drop any of Godinez's children from the suit as recipients of any potential damage award from the jury.

Only his wife is entitled, he said. "That's a matter of law."

On the night of July 10, 2005, Ogden police twice encountered Godinez in homes not his own. He told police he was fleeing "men with guns."

In the second encounter, officers sent him to the hospital after they found him with a leg injury from jumping though a window in his delusional state, which the defense claims was the result of a methamphetamine overdose.

At the hospital, the 240-pound Godinez scuffled with security guards, who restrained him in a prone position, according to the suit, which alleges the guards' behavior caused the coma.

Four security guards and an emergency room doctor are named in the suit, along with the hospital and Intermountain Healthcare. In his years on life support, Godinez's weight has dropped by more than 80 pounds.

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