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Jury returns verdict against clinic, hospital, awards $23.2 to family of handicapped child

WILLMAR -- A Kandiyohi County jury has awarded $23.2 million to a Paynesville family whose daughter is severely handicapped due to complications during her birth in June 2007 at Rice Memorial Hospital.

The verdict was returned Tuesday evening in Kandiyohi County District Court and found Dr. Gabrielle Vencel Olson, a family practice physician for Affiliated Community Medical Center, and Rice Memorial Hospital negligent in the June 6, 2007, birth of Kylie Rodgers, daughter of Elise Rodgers and Matthew Larson of Paynesville.

The girl has multiple health problems including spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, cortical impairment, neurological difficulties, and seizures, according to court files and her Web site at

The jury attributed 80 percent of the negligence to ACMC and 20 percent to the hospital.

The jury award includes $1.7 million for past healthcare expenses, $10 million for future healthcare expenses, $10 million for past and future pain, disability and emotional distress and $1.5 million for loss of earning capacity.

The trial began on Jan. 25, with the jury receiving the case Tuesday afternoon. Judge Donald M. Spilseth presided.