But Judge John P. Sook disagreed, and his ruling also allows McMahon to seek punitive damages. McMahon, 85, filed suit in July and is seeking an unspecified amount for injuries he sustained after a fall last March at a Los Angeles socialite's home. According to his lawsuit, doctors at Cedars-Sinai failed to perform an X-ray and determine that he had a broken neck when he was brought into the emergency room. The suit also claims that a doctor at the hospital's spinal-care center improperly performed two surgeries. "The court's ruling rejected the contention by Cedars-Sinai that it could not be responsible for the botched surgeries," said McMahon's attorney, William Stoner. "It was a very important day for Ed McMahon." A phone message for an attorney representing Cedars-Sinai left after business hours Monday was not returned.
Cedars-Sinai was given 20 days to reply further to the lawsuit. Stoner said McMahon's injuries contributed to his money woes, which include falling behind on mortgage payments and being sued for unpaid loans and by a New York attorney who represented his daughter in her divorce and claims he has not been paid. "He was making a good living, and he was very active in the business," Stoner said. McMahon is seeking a jury trial; a date has not yet been set.