September 29, 2009

$8.5 Million In Punitive Damages for Erectile Dysfunction

I swear I'm not making this up. According to this story on Law.com, a Georgia jury has awarded $750,000 in compensatory damages and $8.5 million in punitive damages to a man who allegedly suffered permanent damage to his penis as a result of a botched treatment for erectile dysfunction.

The plaintiff responded to an ad by the Boston Medical Group promising "sex for life." The company's clinic gave him its "secret formula" to inject into his penis. After he gave himself the first injection, he experienced "the best erection he's ever had in his life." Unfortunately, it proved to be a little too good. Two days later, he still had the erection. He went back to the clinic for treatment, but the clinic couldn't help him and he ended up in a hospital emergency room. Ultimately, he suffered permanent damage to his penis and is now unable to have an erection without the use of Viagra or Cyalis.

It certainly sounds like an unpleasant experience (especially the part about the plaintiff sticking a needle into his penis), but if the guy already had an erectile problem when he visited the clinic, isn't he now in exactly the same position he was in before he went there? Does that really merit an $8.5 million punitive damages award, on top of $750,000 in compensatory damages? Something tells me this verdict is not going to withstand review.

I can't wait to hear what Lowering the Bar has to say about this one.