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Arizona jury awards $8 million to doctor wrongfully blamed for death

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PHOENIX – A jury verdict of $8 million, believed to be the highest in Mohave County history, was awarded to an Arizona doctor who had been wrongfully accused of causing a patient’s death.

A Superior Court jury in Kingman on Wednesday awarded $6,232,000 in compensatory damages and $1,768,000 in punitive damages to the plaintiff, Dr. Arnaldo Trabucco, according to court records.

Trabucco had sued Jeffrey A. Cogan, his law firm and the family of the patient who died, Gerald Scharf. The jury assessed the damages against Cogan and his law firm, but not against the family.

Phoenix law firm Wilenchik & Bartness, which represented Trabucco, said it searched records and couldn’t find a higher verdict in Mohave County. The next highest award found was for $1.25 million in a 2010 medical malpractice case.

Cogan, who is based in Las Vegas, had previously sued Trabucco for causing Scharf’s death. A federal jury found that Scharf died of natural causes, Trubucco’s lawyers said.

Trabucco then sued Cogan and the Scharf family, seeking damages for harm to his reputation, loss of earnings, emotional distress and defense costs.

Trabucco’s lawyers said the board-certified urologist had never committed malpractice over his 28-year career. They said even Scharf’s wife, who had hired Cogan, didn’t think the doctor was responsible.

Jack Wilenchik of Wilenchik & Bartness said he wouldn’t be surprised if the ruling is appealed.

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