LOS ANGELES (CBS) —  The lawyer for a man who allegedly developed life-threatening conditions after he was given the wrong prescription at a Rite Aid in Inglewood says his client deserves more than $1.7 million.

Lieutenant Taylor, who says he is illiterate and signs his name “John Doe,” sued the drug store chain in November 2009 in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging he was given drugs at an Inglewood Rite Aid in December 2008 meant for a Lennette Taylor.

“When you’re in his situation, you look up to the person who is the pharmacist,” attorney Alvin L. Pittman said on behalf of Taylor during final arguments in the trial of his client’s malpractice case.

He also said Taylor needs a kidney transplant and the estimated cost is $450,000.

But Rite-Aid attorney Kevin T. Dunbar said Taylor has not proven any wrongdoing by the pharmacist.

When Taylor picked up the prescriptions in December 2008, Dunbar said, the pharmacist repeatedly asked if he was picking up drugs for Lennette Taylor, and Lieutenant Taylor said yes.

“People come in and pick up other people’s medication all the time,” Dunbar said.

In a sworn declaration, Taylor describes himself as “an illiterate male who stopped school at age 18 while still in the eighth grade.” He says he handed over a prescription for two drugs on one day and was told by a pharmacist that his doctor should have ordered him to take additional pills.

He said he returned the next day and was given his two prescriptions and unwittingly also was given four meant for the other customer. He says he immediately began taking all six drugs.

“When I started feeling sick and weak, I stopped taking them for a while,” Taylor stated. “Then, I would start up again.”

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (12)
  1. vally blazer says:

    Really? In the eighth grade I knew my own name and knew how to look at a prescription bottle before taking the pills insdie. This guy is just looking for a payoff and his lawyer is just trying to retire early.

    1. CAN says:

      I agree with you. Pharmacists repeatedly ask for verification although don’t they also ask for birthdate? I think a little of the responsibility should be on Rite Aid for that reason, but nowhere near what they are being sued for.

      1. Zoe Park says:

        I was one of the jurors on the case and no… this time Rite Aid didn’t as for any additional info such as birthdate. They promised to change their policy from now on. The thing is, the plaintiff now has only 3 years to live. He claimed that the meds were the factor that caused harm to his organs but there wasn’t any sufficient proof to back that up.

    2. Leigh says:

      agreed. and who is 18 in the 8th grade?? also, not being able to READ doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t have noticed that he dropped off TWO ‘scrips and got SIX back! i had an uncle who was illiterate all his life, he couldn’t read but he wasn’t a helpless imbecile!

  2. Alan Hart says:

    I agree with the lawyer. he should be given 1 million dollars. He can pick it up as soon as he finishes college and pays all his welfare money back.

  3. James says:

    Well, if he’s that illiterate, Rite-Aid should give him a suitcase full of one-dollar bills and tell him that they’re 100’s. Problem solved.

  4. zuuumie says:

    The man deserves a considerably higher tax free “Settlement”amount considering the severity of this negligence and it’s results on his life, that even with the necessary transpalnt, @ a great expense, that hwill forever effect the quality and length of his lhis life.

    By time the attorney deducts his fee, the amount is insufficient given the damages, current trauma, and certain future harm that cannot be reversed.

    There have been.cases where even doctors and other health care professionals have had their own lives adversely effected due to the human error of negligence and/or malpractice. Errors happen in and out of the hospital or doctors office. And each time it happens, it is an avoidable, no-excuse event.

    1. Mufon says:


      I disagree on two counts. He doesn’t necessarily deserve a higher settlement, the lawyer deserves less. Of course, that’s not going to happen.

      “And each time it happens, it is an avoidable, no-excuse event.” Even science is not infallible, human error figures into all aspects of life. Things happen, remedies are in place to hopeflly rectify them, and lessons are learned.

      Good post, though.

    2. Zoe Park says:

      The plaintiff was offered $75.000 prior to the case. He didn’t take it. He wanted to go to trial.

  5. swhitS says:

    Who’s responsibility is it to learn how to read and even if you cannot read surely you can tell if the writing is the same on the bottles? Too many galring outpoints in this story anyone would realize that pharmacies require addresses/ contact info and Lieutenant Taylor would have given them one. Once they realized they had given him the wrong meds they would have contacted him. The guy signs his name as John Doe? Asking for trouble.
    The lawyer needs to get a life as well as this so called illiterate. People should not penalize people who are doing good in life and then reward those who cannot take the time to survive.

    1. Zoe Park says:

      Actually, that was an error that the reporter made regarding the plaintiff signing his name is John Doe. He only signed and recognizes his own name. Now, the plaintiff was saying that the pharmacist never mentioned the name for the second set of meds which was meant for someone else. The pharmacist claims that it is standard procedure to mention the name.

      The pharmacist had a heavy accent. The man was illiterate. One can clearly see that there might have been an error in communication.

      Another thing… they never called him to tell him that he had received the wrong meds. The lawyer should have brought that up but he didn’t.

      Either way, the man has only 3 years to live… which is really sad.

  6. luis g says:

    thats the american way

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