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Prescription Error | New Jersey Medical Malpractice Blog

Wal-mart Pharmacist May Be Liable for Punitive Damages, Court Rules

By Attorney Michael B. Zerres on April 21, 2010

The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey has denied a request from Wal-mart pharmacist, and Wal-mart itself to dismiss a plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages in a lawsuit filed by the plaintiff alleging that the pharmacist filled a prescription in error. In Horn v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113867. Wal-mart’s request for Partial Summary Judgment in their favor and against the plaintiff on the plaintiff’s request for punitive damages was denied. In so doing, the Court acknowledged that punitive damages are available to plaintiffs when the defendant acts with a “wanton and willful disregard” for the rights of a plaintiff, that is, with a reckless indifference to the consequences of his actions.

Here, Mr. Horn went to Wal-mart to have a prescription for Coumadin, a blood-thinner, filled. However, the pharmacist attached a label to the bottle of medication which instructed the plaintiff to take the medication in a dosage three times greater than was prescribed, which he did – resulting in the patient suffering a stroke with permanent consequences. Read the rest »

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