Dr. Alonna Norberg wasted little time once her husband, Dr. Jon Norberg, was acquitted of criminal charges brought after he administered the powerful sedative/anesthetic propofol to her before having sex with her. A medical malpractice lawsuit which she served on him back in August, was filed in court on Friday, 2 days after the verdict.
Norberg claims her husband did not obtain her consent prior to administering the drug. He is expected to mount the same defense he did in the criminal trial: He discussed propofol with his wife and she consented to its use and to having sex under its influence.
While guilt in a criminal case must be ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ liability in a civil case like medical malpractice is ‘by a preponderance of the evidence’ which is a much lower standard. A well known example is OJ Simpson, found not guilty of murder in his criminal trial, but guilty in his wrongful death civil trial.
From the Jamestown Sun:
The lawsuit claims that Jon Norberg’s administration of propofol and other dangerous drugs caused Alonna Norberg to suffer memory loss, confusion, inability to remain conscious, organ failure and “other physical and emotional harm.”
Alonna Norberg is seeking more than $50,000 to compensate her for economic damages, including loss of income and employment, as well as damages for mental anguish, emotional distress and pain and suffering.
Also named as defendants are the Plastic Surgery Institute where Jon Norberg worked — and obtained the propofol for home use — and the PSI Surgical Center of which he was a member. Kay Abdullah, one of the surgery institute’s owners, and Melody Shawchuck, a nurse who works at the institute and testified as a defense witness in Jon Norberg’s trial, also are named as defendants.
The 17-page complaint and demand for jury trial claims the defendants “did, could, or should have foreseen the risk of the potential harm caused by the unsupervised or unmonitored release of propofol and other dangerous drugs requiring a doctor’s prescription for use.”
Alonna Norberg is represented by attorneys Ronald Galstad and Brian Balstad of East Grand Forks, Minn., and James Koby of La Crosse, Wis. Galstad did not return a phone message Tuesday. Galstad and Balstad belong to the same law firm as Patti Jensen, Alonna Norberg’s original lawyer in her divorce case against her husband, which is set for trial on Jan. 14. Jensen served the summons for the malpractice case on the defendants on Aug. 24. Galstad and Balstad substituted for Jensen in the case after the North Dakota Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Board suspended her for professional misconduct for the month of November.
Jon Norberg said his malpractice insurance provider will appoint an attorney to represent him in the case.
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