LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Billions of dollars could be on the line with a Nevada jury deliberating whether the state's largest health management organization should pay punitive damages to three plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit stemming from a Las Vegas hepatitis outbreak.
Plaintiffs' attorneys have asked the jurors to order Health Plan of Nevada and Sierra Health Services to pay almost $2.5 billion to three plaintiffs in the negligence lawsuit.
They say that would show health corporations not to put profits ahead of patient safety.
They argue the HMO knew a doctor operating an outpatient endoscopy clinic was dangerous, but sent patients there anyway.
Attorneys for the two companies argue that a large punitive award would be unreasonable.
The jury last week found the companies liable for $24 million in compensatory damages.