The family of late actor Bill Paxton has reached something of a settlement in the lawsuit they filed after his untimely death in 2017. Paxton’s family filed a lawsuit against General Anesthesia Specialists Partnership a year after his passing, claiming wrongful death and that the attending Dr. Ali Khoynezhad had allegedly used “high-risk and unconventional” techniques. Now, the medical group has agreed to pay Paxton’s wife and children a $1 million dollar settlement, while also denying liability for the actor’s death. It is actually quite common for settlements to occur without any party acknowledging guilt or culpability, but apparently General Anesthesia Specialists Partnership has done so in part to not spend more money and time in litigation.
In February of 2017, Bill Paxton underwent an open heart surgery to repair a valve that had been weakened by a childhood bout of rheumatic fever, as well as correct an aneurysm. The next day, he had to go in for a second, emergency surgery. Ten days later of deteriorating health, he had a stroke and died at the relatively young age of 21. Paxton’s family’s lawsuit claimed that the surgeon Dr. Ali Khoynezhad had not been in the operating room when he suffered complications, and that the doctor’s alleged “cowboy” style of medical practice had taken unnecessary risks. While the $1 million settlement has been agreed to, a Los Angeles judge has also ruled that the Paxton family can continue to pursue punitive damages against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for attempting to cover-up wrongful death. Their lawsuit includes the allegation that the hospital willfully did not perform an autopsy on Paxton, and misled the cremation service as part of an attempt to disguise the nature of his death.
Bill Paxton had a long and storied film career, often playing a buffoonish or overconfident figure. Some of his earliest major roles were as an unpleasant jock of an older brother who gets transformed into a hideous monster in John Hughes’ Weird Science, and as Hollywood’s idea of a teen punk who gets killed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the original Terminator. That was the beginning of a long partnership with director James Cameron, who would cast Paxton in Aliens, True Lies and Titanic. In addition, the actor appeared in Near Dark, the directorial debut of Cameron’s spouse at the time, Kathryn Bigelow. Paxton also had the notable distinction of being the only actor to have been killed by three of the most iconic villains of science fiction cinema, being offed in Terminator, Aliens and Predator 2. As if all of that didn’t distinguish the actor enough, he was also present as a child in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, as later confirmed by photos of him on his father’s shoulders in the crowd.
While this partial settlement in the lawsuit concerning Bill Paxton’s death seems to be complete, the lawsuit against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has still not begun. It is set to go to court in September of 2022. We’ll keep you updated. RIP Bill Paxton.