LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (CN) – The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday refused to throw out a $122.5 million judgment against a former doctor convicted of bombing the state medical board’s chairman.
In a 5-2 ruling, justices upheld a 2013 summary judgment awarding Dr. Trent Pierce and his wife $122.5 million from former doctor Randeep Mann.
Prosecutors said Mann had sought vengeance after the Arkansas State Medical Board disciplined him following complaints that 10 of his patients overdosed and died on prescription medication.
Shortly afterward, a spare tire rigged with a grenade leaning against Pierce’s car exploded in the board chair’s West Memphis, Ark., driveway when he moved it.
Pierce survived the 2009 bombing, but it left him disfigured and partially blinded.
He sued Mann and three John Does in state court for assault and battery, civil conspiracy and punitive damages.
In the meantime, a jury found Mann guilty in 2010 of using a weapon of mass destruction and for firearms offenses. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Although no direct evidence linked Mann to the crime, investigators found 98 buried grenades near his house, and eventually seized 18 firearms and a grenade launcher at Mann’s residence.
On Thursday, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that Mann’s criminal conviction bars him from relitigating his civil liability for Pierce’s injuries under the legal doctrine of collateral estoppel, or issue preclusion.
“The doctrine is applicable to preclude relitigation of issues in state court that were previously decided in federal court,” Justice Robin F. Wynne wrote for the high court’s majority.
In a dissenting opinion, two justices argued that, while Mann was conviction of using a weapon of mass destruction, the civil judgment required Pierce to show that Mann was liable for assault and battery.
“Put simply, Mann was not charged with assault or battery in federal criminal court,” Justice Josephine Linker Hart wrote. Justice Karen Baker joined Hart in the dissent.
Mann remains incarcerated at the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Institution in Indiana.
A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed as frivolous two lawsuits filed by Mann alleging inadequate medical care while he was a pretrial detainee in the custody of Pulaski County and the U.S. Marshalls.