According to court records, Yasbeck sued and received more than $14 million from the hospital and eight doctors for her husband’s wrongful death, which she said could have been prevented if doctors knew about her husband’s heart condition.
Yasbeck is now going after Lotysch and Lee, seeking $67 million in damages that lawyers for Yasbeck argued she should be entitled to, given her husband’s lost earnings from “8 Simple Rules,”for which Ritter earned $75,000 per show and was in negotiations to increase his weekly income to $350,000, according to court documents.
The intricacies of the trial were not on the docket Friday, but details about jury selection, opening statements and evidence were.
The process of picking jurors will begin Tuesday and should take at least two days while opening statements could begin the following Monday.
At the pretrial hearing Friday, Matz considered what effect Ritter’s celebrity has already had on the potential jury pool.
“I’m concerned that people read articles and make up their minds,” she said. “It makes it difficult to find an impartial panel.”
Lawyers for both sides said they expect to call medical expert witnesses from around the country — including doctors from Yale, Michigan and Boston.
The trial is also expected to include celebrities, including Henry Winkler, who was with Ritter on the set of “8 Simple Rules” the night he died.
Both sides expect to spend a total of 20 trial days on witness testimony that could include more than 100 hours of time on the stand, Yasbeck’s lawyer Moses Lebovits said.
Matz said both sides must agree on what evidence they want to introduce before opening statements to avoid future trial complications.
“No document that hasn’t been admitted can be used in opening statements,” she said. “But I don’t have a problem with timelines. If you agree it’s admissible, fine, but I don’t want to un-ring a bell.”
Including the opening and closing statements, which could take five days, the trial is expected to last until mid-March, Lebovits said.
JEREMY OBERSTEIN covers City Hall and public safety. He may be reached at (818) 637-3242 or by e-mail at jeremy.oberstein@ latimes.com.