Law firm on how Asante criminal case affects civil lawsuits

MEDFORD, Ore. – While the criminal case regarding a former Asante nurse allegedly diverting drugs is ongoing, lawyers are representing alleged victims and their families in civil lawsuits.

Nbc5 News caught up with one of those law firms, who said they’re still confident in their cases. David deVilleneuve, from Schlesinger and deVilleneuve said Dani Marie Schofield, the former Asante nurse charged with second degree assault would be held to a different burden of proof in a criminal trial, than a civil trial.

deVilleuve said he and his team have been conducting their own investigations for months. He said he’s grateful to see the criminal trial move forward, but he was initially surprised to see no manslaughter charges, but instead 44 counts of assault.

He said many of his clients are family members of patients who passed away in the ICU that may have been victims of the alleged drug diversion. However, he suspects this is the case, because of the higher burden of proof in criminal cases. deVilleneuve said,

In a criminal case, the burden of proof is very substantial, as it should be. When you’re going to take someone’s freedom away and put them in jail, you have the burden of beyond a reasonable doubt that they in fact committed the crime and the crime resulted in some harm or death.

deVillenueve said a civil lawsuit’s burden of proof is lower, called the ‘preponderance of evidence.’ Because of this standard, he feels confident they will prevail in their cases, which were filed on behalf of victims and family members of those who have passed away. That is regardless of the criminal trial outcome.

At this point, deVilleneuve only hopes the DA’s office will release the police findings for the potential victims and their attorneys, to help them in their cases.

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Maximus Osburn is a reporter for NBC5 News. He studied at California State University-Northridge, graduating with a degree in Broadcasting. Maximus is an avid martial arts enthusiast and combat sports fan. He even traveled to Thailand to train with martial arts experts. Maximus loves movies, nature, and doing things outside his comfort zone, like swimming in sub-freezing lakes in the winter.
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