Jury rules against Johns Hopkins in case made famous by Netflix

A jury ruled that St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital must pay a family $211 million in a case made famous by a Netflix documentary, the Tampa Bay Times reported Nov. 9.

The family of 17-year-old Maya Kowalski had sued the hospital after it reported her mother, Beata, for suspected child abuse in 2016 after she requested ketamine to treat her daughter for chronic pain. The girl was removed by the state and sheltered at the hospital for three months, a time during which Beata Kowalski died by suicide. The Netflix documentary "Take Care of Maya," released in June, was viewed nearly 14 million times in the first two weeks.

On the third day of deliberation following an eight-week trial, the six jurors ruled with the family on all the questions it was asked to address, including that the hospital falsely imprisoned the girl when it didn't allow her to leave with her family, according to the Times. The jury also awarded damages for a hospital social worker photographing the girl without the family or a court's permission and kissing, hugging and having her sit on her lap.

"It was a totally dysfunctional organization, and the Kowalskis paid the price," the plaintiffs' attorney, Greg Anderson, said during closing statements Nov. 7, according to the newspaper.

The hospital will likely end up paying more than the $211 million because it was also ordered to pay punitive damages for false imprisonment and battery, the news outlet reported. An attorney for the hospital said it planned to appeal the verdict.

"The facts and the law remain on our side, and we will continue to defend the lifesaving and compassionate care provided to Maya Kowalski by the physicians, nurses and staff of Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital and the responsibility of all mandatory reporters in Florida to speak up if they suspect child abuse," the attorney, Howard Hunter, said in a statement to Becker's.

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