LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A jury has awarded a $200 million verdict against Sierra Health and Life Insurance Co., Inc. after a treatment was denied to a Las Vegas man who was diagnosed with lung cancer and died.
Bill Eskew was diagnosed in 2015, according to a lawsuit that was filed in early 2019.
Eskew’s family — his wife Sandy and two sons — were awarded $40 million. An additional $160 million was awarded as punitive damages against Sierra Health.
Bill Eskew was treated in Nevada before traveling to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Doctors at MD Anderson recommended radiation therapy of a specific nature — proton beam therapy — that Sierra Health rejected “without any reasonable basis and without an objective and fair investigation and evaluation,” according to the lawsuit.
“When SHL denied the request for coverage, SHL knew or proceeded in conscious disregard for the fact Bill would not receive the treatment that gave him the best chance to survive and/or extend his life,” the lawsuit stated.
Eskew died on March 12, 2017.
The lawsuit argued the less-precise method of radiation treatment Eskew received caused physical injury, physical pain, mental suffering, emotional distress and anxiety. The lawsuit also cites distress and anxiety related to the decision that denied the proton beam therapy.
Attorneys for the Eskew family claimed Sierra Health breached their contract with Eskew when they denied treatment. They also allege the company acted in bad faith and breached the Nevada Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act.