The death of Joan Rivers may trigger a medical malpractice lawsuit that could be worth millions because of her considerable ongoing income.
September 6, 2014 This article was originally posted by Barbara Ross on the nydailynews.com website Since Joan Rivers was still earning a substantial income from her books, TV gigs and stand-up, there could be a lot of money at stake. To win a suit, the family would need to prove negligence by the Yorkville Endoscopy Center, where the 81-year-old went into cardiac arrest during a procedure Aug. 28. Joan Rivers’ family could have big bucks coming their way if they file a lawsuit and can prove negligence in the death of the 81-year-old comedian. The last legal laugh in the shocking death of Joan Rivers could go to the comedian’s family. A veteran negligence attorney said millions of dollars would be at stake if daughter Melissa Rivers opts to file a negligence suit in her mother’s tragic passing. Rivers — unlike most women her age — was still earning a substantial income from her stand-up, books and television gigs. “Normally an 81-year-old widow with grown children is not expected to be working,” said lawyer Edward Steinberg. “However, she was still a very big earner and in otherwise good health. There could be millions at stake.” To win a suit, Rivers’ family first would need to prove negligence by the Yorkville Endoscopy Center. Rivers went into cardiac arrest there during an unspecified Aug. 28 procedure on her throat. Millions could be at stake since, unlike most women her age, Joan Rivers was still earning significant money when she passed away. The family’s attorney will closely examine the findings of the city medical examiner’s office. Results were inconclusive, although the coroner’s office said Friday that additional testing was planned. Former Chief Medical Examiner Michael Baden said the coroner has already seen Rivers’ heart and probably knows if she had coronary artery disease that could have caused her heart to stop. Additional microscopic studies will help provide an answer to that question. Toxicology studies could tell pathologists if her heart stopped because of drugs administered by an anesthesiologist, he said. Baden said a microscopic exam of Rivers’ organs will determine how long her brain was deprived of oxygen before doctors restarted her heart. That could give the medical examiner — and family lawyers — insight into how fast clinic staff reacted to her emergency.