WARREN - Attorney Martin White says he and Haley Cobb's family have patiently waited for 11 months for the $9.7 million they're owed from winning a medical malpractice case the largest jury award in Trumbull County's history.
But while White and attorneys for Dr. Tara Shipman continue court arguments over pre-judgment interest, which could tack on millions more dollars to the amount the jury awarded last fall, White has taken the offensive by obtaining a writ of execution against the doctor.
A representative of the Trumbull County Sheriff's Office went to Shipman's $485,000 home on Fairway Drive on Walnut Run Golf Course Wednesday armed with the writ, ready to take possession of Shipman's 2010 Land Rover and other personal property in an effort to recoup winnings from the court decision.
Messages were left there for the doctor and at her Associates in Female Health office at 2652 Elm Road, Cortland.
In the meantime, Shipman was served on Labor Day with a court order to appear before Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay at a debtor's examination Sept. 27, when she will be asked for an accounting of her personal worth. The paperwork asks the doctor to bring with her income tax returns, tax records, bank account information, deeds contracts and investments, all leading to what could be a garnishment of her wages.
The attempt at collecting from the doctor could have been on hold if Shipman's malpractice insurance carrier would have posted a $10.5 million supersedeas bond with the court to gain a stay in the case, while attorneys continue to haggle over the pre-judgment interest, post-judgment discovery issues and other potential appellate issues.
''The law says if we win a judgment, we're entitled to collect on that judgment,'' said White, who earlier in the summer and after winning the trial filed a supplemental complaint to collect the malpractice policy limits of $2 million from ProAssurance, Shipman's insurance company. That money has never been paid.
McKay originally set the bond at $14.5 million. That was appealed by Shipman's attorneys and the 11th District Court of Appeals reduced the bond to $10.5 million but made it clear that a bond was still needed for a stay in the proceedings.
Shipman also has the options of not posting the bond and paying on the verdict or filing for bankruptcy.
The issue over the bond also prompted Shipman's attorneys to file a notice of appeal Tuesday with the Ohio Supreme Court to try and overturn the 11th District Court of Appeals' decision.
Shipman's attorneys say the case is ''of great public and general interest because the 11th District Court of Appeals has redefined the legal requirements for the posting of a supersedeas bond in interlocutory appeals.''
''The (appellate court) effectively awarded (Haley Cobb and family) a financial windfall by ordering a supersedeas bond which is not reflective of what (Cobb) could ever realistically recover on the jury verdict,'' Shipman's attorneys wrote in their filing with the Supreme Court.
A message left for one of Shipman's attorneys was not returned Friday.
The original $13.9 million the jury awarded the Cobbs was reduced to $9.7 million by virtue of a set off for $2.4 million that plaintiffs received for settling with co-defendants.
In the original case, the Cobb family alleged that Dr. Tara Shipman's decision not to perform a Caesarean section led to Haley not receiving sufficient oxygen while in the womb, causing brain injury and ultimately her cerebral palsy. The girl is now 11 years old.
The family settled for $6.5 million before the trial with another doctor, who has since died, and Trumbull Memorial Hospital.