HomeEntertainmentFamily of the Late Bill Paxton Allowed to Seek Punitive Damages Against Hospital for Actor’s 2017 Death

Family of the Late Bill Paxton Allowed to Seek Punitive Damages Against Hospital for Actor’s 2017 Death

by Courtney Blackann
(Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Critics' Choice Television Awards)

Bill Paxton tragically died in 2017 following heart surgery. Now, his family is suing the hospital which allowed the surgery to happen, reports say.

According to Deadline, a judge recently denied a motion filed by the defense team for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The motion would have allowed them to dismiss a punitive damages claim filed by Paxton’s family. But Judge Steven J. Kleifield turned down the motion.

The family is seeking damages for the disposition of Paxton’s body, according to the report. His widow, Louise Paxton, and their children James and Lydia, brought the claim forward in 2018.

Paxton’s family claims that Dr. Ali Khoynezhad intentionally interfered with a request for an autopsy in order to cover up Paxton’s cause of death. Further, the actor’s family says they didn’t know an autopsy wouldn’t take place at the hospital. They had him cremated. Had they known better, they would have made other arrangements to ensure an autopsy took place.

“Defendants made such a promise with no intention to perform an autopsy on William Paxton so they could conceal their role in causing the death of Mr. Paxton,” the suit states.

According to Paxton’s death certificate, he died of a stroke on February 25, 2017 after undergoing surgery to replace a heart valve and fix aorta damage. However, the family is learning that the surgery may have been too aggressive and unnecessary.

“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.”

The judge on the case stated that “Cedars submits no evidence as to who made the misrepresentation to plaintiffs, who was involved in making the misrepresentation or who was involved in the decision to not perform the autopsy.”

Hospital Attorneys Dispute Family’s Claim in Bill Paxton Death

But attorneys for Cedars-Sinai claimed that they had, “no advanced knowledge of the unfitness of any employees related to the disposition of bodies.”

Further, Khoynezhad had a reputation for practicing “cowboy medicine.” Despite this, the hospital never investigated any wrongful acts by its staff or doctors following the death.

“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.

While the doctor is no longer practicing medicine at Cedars-Sinai, the trial will move forward this September. The trial was originally happening this March but it will now happen on September 19.

At the time of Paxton’s death, he was 61 years old. The lovable actor starred in roles including “Titanic,” “Twister,” “Frailty” and a long-running starring role in “Big Love.”