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Payout reduced in negligence case 

Charles Blevins, who was awarded more than half a million dollars in a negligence lawsuit against Coastal Surgical Institute, will receive less than half that amount due to legal restrictions on such cases.

Blevins had sued Coastal Surgical Institute in Pismo Beach for negligence after suffering a bacterial infection following knee surgery. Three other patients also were infected with pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, though they haven’t come forward.

However, the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 places a $250,000 cap on medical malpractice cases, limiting the amount that can be legally awarded to Blevins.

On Jan. 29, San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Martin Tangeman approved his earlier tentative motion, which awards Blevins compensation for damages, but limits that compensation to the legal limit. In all, Blevins is entitled to receive $250,000 of the $543,034 awarded by the jury.

Coastal Surgical Institute’s David Hillings argued that the amount should be further reduced, but he was overruled on every motion. When Blevins’ attorney Jeffrey Stulberg was asked to respond to the motions, he told Tangeman simply, “It’s too preposterous to respond.”

After more than three years in court, Blevins said he was “euphoric” after the jury’s verdict, but as the case drags on he finds it “very frustrating to be faced with motion after motion to further stall the settlement, which doesn’t seem right.”

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