A Clark County jury awarded more than $5 million to the family of a Las Vegas chef who died after taking methadone prescribed by his doctor.
After a two-and-a-half week trial, the jury decided against the doctor, Gauthum Reddy, in the malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit, but also found Chris Davis partly responsible for his own death.
The jury’s total award of $9.5 million, delivered late Wednesday night after more than 10 hours of deliberation, accounted for 47 percent negligence on the part of Davis and 53 percent negligence on the part of Reddy.
The case drew media attention after the doctor’s lawyer, Jacob Hafter, leveled claims of anti-Semitism and racism against the judge because she declined to have the trial postponed during a Jewish holiday.
Davis, who was married with three children, died Aug. 13, 2010, just four days after he started taking methadone, a pain reliever often used to treat drug addiction. He had a history of prescription drug and alcohol abuse, lawyers said.
Attorneys for the Davis family said the doctor was only allowed to prescribe methadone for pain, not addiction.
Hafter argued that Davis was overweight and had an enlarged heart, as well as a scar on his heart that was indicative of a heart attack.
Davis had worked as executive chef of Diablo’s Cantina at Monte Carlo, and he was the corporate chef of casual dining for The Light Group at the time of his death.
Just before the trial started, two other defendants — Target and a pharmacist — settled with the Davis family.
Hafter filed a motion to “go dark” for two days during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, saying his religion prohibited him from working during that time.
District Judge Valorie Vega denied the motion, and Hafter resorted to social media, calling her a “racist judge” and accusing her of “anti-Semitism.”
At trial during the holiday, Hafter had two associates who appeared in court on his behalf.
Contact reporter David Ferrara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @randompoker.