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Man's $5 Million Claim of Penis Injury During Neck Surgery Doesn't Persuade Cobb Jury

Cobb jury unconvinced that alleged mistake in neck surgery ruined man's sex life

, Daily Report

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Henry Green Jr. at the Georgia Supreme Court.
Henry Green Jr. at the Georgia Supreme Court.

WellStar Health System Inc. has won a defense verdict in a case where the plaintiffs' attorneys asked the jury to award $5 million to a man who they said sustained permanent nerve damage to his penis from a catheter injury during surgery to repair an injured vertebrae.

"We were shocked," said Matthew Flournoy of Flournoy Law, who tried the case with Jason Manton of the Manton Law Firm for the plaintiffs, Russel Baker, now 41, and his wife, Beth Baker. "A person goes to the hospital for neck surgery and he comes out with a penis injury. That is not right."

Manton said he had to give credit to his opposition, Henry Green and Daniel Moriarty of Green & Sapp, who represented WellStar.

"I thought Henry and Daniel did an excellent job presenting the defense side of the case," Manton said. That included noting that catheter injuries are a known risk of surgery listed in the informed consent documents.

The jury deliberated for 90 minutes after a six-day trial before State Court Judge Toby Prodgers in Cobb County and returned with a defense verdict on Dec. 9. The bottom line, based on post-trial interviews with the jurors, was that most simply did not believe the plaintiffs' side, according to Flournoy and Manton.

Green, whose firm represents WellStar, said the jury thought the plaintiff was going "overboard" on his claimed injury.

"It was a typical Cobb County jury," Manton said. "Conservative, educated, five men, seven women. The two alternates were both women. The youngest was 22. Most of the others were 35 and up."

The jurors told the plaintiffs' lawyers after the trial that their first vote was 8-4 in favor of WellStar. All five men were on the hospital's side from the start. The next vote was 10-2. The third was 11-1. The lone holdout, a woman, finally gave in to the others.

Flournoy said he had a two-hour interview with the holdout.

"She was overwhelmed at the end," he said.

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