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Justus v. Rosner timeline

June 2000: Pamela Jane Hall Justus visits Dr. Michael J. Rosner, a neurosurgeon who had been performing surgery at Park Ridge Hospital (now AdventHealth) since 1999. In a procedure that he promises will end her severe chronic pain, Dr. Michael Rosner performs laminectomy surgery to decompress her spinal cord.

December 2000: In a followup visit, Justus tells Rosner that she is doing “horribly” and experiencing severe neck pain.

February 2001: On Rosner’s advice, Justus agrees to undergo a C1 laminectomy and suboccipital craniectomy.

March 21, 2001: Justus makes her last visit to Rosner’s office.

May 29, 2001: Justus calls Rosner’s office complaining of severe neck pain and an inability to hold her head up. When Rosner’s physician’s assistant advised her to come in for an MRI, Justus refused, saying that she was “afraid” to come back to the office.

June 12, 2003: Trial lawyer Wade Byrd of Fayetteville files lawsuit against Rosner on behalf of Pam Justus and her husband, Billy Bruce Justus Jr.

Sept. 20, 2012: Pam Justus dies at the Elizabeth House at age 58.

July 28-Sept. 25, 2014: Byrd, former Gov. Michael Easley and other attorneys for the Justuses battle medical malpractice defense specialist Scott Stevenson, of Charlotte, and attorneys for Park Ridge Hospital  in a six-week trial. After deliberating for one day, the jury found Rosner negligent, found no wrongdoing by Park Ridge. It awarded $512,162 in damages but reduced it to $1 because it found that Pam Justus “unreasonably failed to mitigate her damages” because she failed to seek follow-up treatment from Rosner and because she was a smoker.

March 2015: After a hearing on the plaintiff’s motion to revisit the jury’s award on damages, Judge Guice restored the award to the full amount, $512,162. “Given the uncontested evidence that Mrs. Justus promptly and persistently made diligent efforts to obtain treatment from other physicians after she terminated her relationship with Dr. Rosner,” Guice wrote, “no reasonable person could conclude that she failed to exercise reasonable care to mitigate her damages.”

June 20, 2017: N.C. Court of Appeals rules that Judge Guice overstepped his authority when he tossed out the jury’s award of $1 and restored it to the original amount before the jury’s mitigation. The trial court judge did have the authority to strike the award and order a new trial on damages alone, the court said, which is what the  appellate judges orders. 

Dec. 21, 2018: The N.C. Supreme Court upholds the appeals court ruling and orders the new trial on damages alone.

May 11, 2022: A Henderson County Superior Court jury awards $2 million to the Justus family in the name of Adam Justus, the administrator of the estate after the death of his father, Billy Justus.

June 24, 2022: Based on the judge’s order starting the clock for the damages on the date Pam Justus originally filed the lawsuit, and at 8 percent interest a year, the award amount stands at $5,047,452 and is increasing by $438.36 per day.

June 27, 2022: In an interview with the Lightning, former Gov. Easley confirms that the defense team led by Stevenson had agreed to settle for $5 million, the limit of Rosner’s insurance. “They sent us a check and it cleared,” he says.