Anesthesia firm agrees to $1M settlement in Paxton death

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Relatives of the late actor Bill Paxton have reached a partial settlement of a wrongful death/negligence lawsuit brought against  Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and two physicians, with an anesthesiologist medical group agreeing to pay $1 million, new court papers show.

What You Need To Know

  • Attorneys for Dr. Moody Makar and General Anesthesia Specialists Partnership filed court papers on Wednesday with LA Superior Court Judge Steven J. Kleifield seeking approval of the accord between the Paxton family members and the company
  • Trial of the remainder of the case against the hospital and Dr. Ali Khoynezhad is scheduled for Sept. 19, more than four years after the suit was brought in February 2018 by the actor’s widow, Louise Paxton
  • The actor’s death certificate states he died of a stroke at age 61, 11 days after he had surgery to replace a heart valve and repair aorta damage
  • Khoynezhad was a cardiothoracic surgeon employed by Cedars-Sinai who was known prior to the Paxton death to practice what has been testified to by the hospital staff as “cowboy medicine,” according to the suit.

Attorneys for Dr. Moody Makar and General Anesthesia Specialists Partnership filed court papers on Wednesday, with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven J. Kleifield seeking approval of the accord between the Paxton family members and the company. Makar works at the firm and was the anesthesiologist during heart surgery Paxton had less than two weeks before his Feb. 25, 2017, death.

“Defendant General Anesthesia Specialists Partnership denies liability in this matter,” the company’s attorneys state in their court papers. “It contends that its personnel complied with the standard of care insofar as their involvement in the care and treatment of (Bill) Paxton, and nothing their personnel did or didn’t do caused or contributed to his death.”

The intent of the settlement is to reach an agreement that would “reasonably compensate plaintiffs and avoid exposing defendant to an expensive and time consuming litigation,” the company’s lawyers state in their court papers.

The trial of the remainder of the case against the hospital and Dr. Ali Khoynezhad is scheduled for Sept. 19, more than four years after the suit was brought in February 2018 by the actor’s widow, Louise Paxton, and the couple’s children, James and Lydia Paxton.

The actor’s death certificate states he died of a stroke at age 61, 11 days after he had surgery to replace a heart valve and repair aorta damage.

“The heart surgery recommended to Bill Paxton was not indicated,” the suit states. “Mr. Paxton did not meet even Khoynezhad’s own criteria for such a surgery.”

Khoynezhad was a cardiothoracic surgeon employed by Cedars-Sinai who was known prior to the Paxton death to practice what has been testified to by the hospital staff as “cowboy medicine,” according to the suit.

“In Khoynezhad’s quest to generate more surgeries and higher numbers, he continued to push the envelope and pushed to do surgeries on cases that were marginal at best, the suit states.

In addition, Khoynezhad was commonly referred to among the staff as “AK-47,” the name of an assault weapon, the suit states.

Paxton had supporting roles in the films “Apollo 13,” “Titanic” and “Aliens.”