University Settles Wrongful Death Case For $1 Million

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Ohio University has reached a $1 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit involving the 2010 death of an OU student.

Andrea Robinson died from bacterial meningitis and a lawsuit filed by her father, Joseph Robinson of Cleveland Heights, was set to go to trial Nov. 17 in the Ohio Court of Claims. He sued not only as an individual, but also as the administrator of her estate.

A court document filed Friday by attorneys from both sides of the case states that the case has been resolved pending approval of Cuyahoga County Probate Court.

University spokeswoman Stephanie Filson said the settlement amount is $1 million, and it is estimated that it will cost the university, which is insured, about $100,000.

Attorneys involved in the case could not be reached for comment late Friday afternoon.

A judge in the case had scheduled a mediation session for Oct. 30 and specifically ordered the university’s insurance adjuster to be present, according to the Court of Claims online docket.

The lawsuit asserted that the university failed to adequately warn students that there was a strain of bacterial meningitis on campus that was not covered by a vaccine, and that Andrea Robinson relied on inadequate advice from OU’s Hudson Health Center that caused her to delay going to a hospital.

The university had a motion for summary judgment pending in which it argued that the medical negligence and wrongful death claims against the university should be denied because Andrea Robinson did not directly seek assistance from OU’s Hudson Health Center prior to her death, and therefore a patient-doctor relationship had not been established. Attorneys for Robinson disputed that, and argued that Andrea’s boyfriend called the health center, with Andrea present, and that cell phone records indicated she might also have called.

Her boyfriend had called Hudson Health Center and was told to have her take Tylenol and get some rest. When her condition worsened she was taken by ambulance to O’Bleness Memorial Hospital, then transferred to a Columbus hospital where she died, court documents indicate.

Joseph Robinson had also filed a $3 million lawsuit in Franklin County Common Pleas Court against O’Bleness Memorial Hospital, but a jury ruled in favor of O’Bleness and an emergency room physician.