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Jury weighing damages in $150 million stent suit

Justice SystemSt. Joseph Medical Center

Lawyers for Baltimore businessman Glenn Weinberg told a jury Friday he missed out on making millions of dollars from the Maryland Live casino when he retired early after being wrongly told he had severely blocked heart arteries.

But attorneys for former St. Joseph Medical Center cardiologist Mark Midei said Weinberg quit working at the Cordish Co. development firm because he didn't like his job and would not have been guaranteed a big payout from the Cordish-owned casino even if he had stayed.

The competing narratives came during closing arguments in the latest, nearly month-long civil lawsuit against Midei and the former owners of St. Joseph in Baltimore County Circuit Court. Jurors got the case late Friday afternoon and are expected to resume deliberations Monday.

The jury earlier found Midei had breached medical care standards by placing three stents in Weinberg's heart unnecessarily. The jury also found the hospital responsible for failing to provide any oversight.

In the second phase of the trial, jurors are being asked to consider damages. Weinberg is seeking $50 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages.

Weinberg's attorney Robert Weltchek told jurors his client would have had a stake in the popular casino as a longtime Cordish Co. partner if he had remained with the company. "Erase the malpractice, he would have gotten his 4 percent, end of story," he said.

Weltchek said Weinberg "wanted to adjust" his life after getting the stents — mesh tubes placed into blocked arteries to improve blood flow — and felt he needed to cut back at work, reduce his stress and improve his health.

After allegations against Midei and the hospital arose in 2009, Weinberg learned that his stents were not necessary, Weltchek said, and he tried but was unable to return to work at Cordish.

But Midei's attorney, J. Michael Sloneker, argued that the casino wasn't a viable Cordish project until years later when the General Assembly approved gambling legislation.

He also said that changes at the Cordish Co. meant Weinberg could not have counted on getting a stake in the casino, as he had in earlier projects. Instead, Sloneker said Weinberg used the stent procedure as an excuse to retire early from his role working on the company's strip mall properties.

"He didn't like what he was doing," Sloneker said.

Sloneker said neither Midei nor any other doctor advised Weinberg to leave his job after the stent procedure. "No reasonable person" would have made such a "life-altering decision" without first seeking medical guidance, he said.

Thomas Monahan, an attorney for the hospital's former owner, told the jury that Weinberg should not be allowed to "scapegoat" Midei and St. Joseph because of his decision to "choose happiness over working conditions he didn't particularly enjoy."

Midei has denied any wrongdoing. He was forced to leave the hospital after the allegations surfaced. His medical license was revoked in 2011.

At the time, Catholic Health Initiatives owned the hospital, which was later sold to the University of Maryland. Under the sale, Catholic Health is responsible for any liabilities from the lawsuits.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

scalvert@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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