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Bill Paxton's family reaches $1 million settlement with medical group in lawsuit over actor's death

The settlement was struck between Paxton's family and General Anesthesia Specialists Partnership, court records say.
Bill Paxton arrives at the premiere of Disney's "The Finest Hours" on Jan. 25, 2016, in Hollywood, Calif.
Bill Paxton arrives at the premiere of Disney's "The Finest Hours" in Hollywood, Calif., on Jan. 25, 2016.Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic

The family of actor Bill Paxton has reached a $1 million settlement with an anesthesiologist medical group in connection with his death in 2017 shortly after heart surgery, according to a new court filing.

Attorneys for the defendants, General Anesthesia Specialists Partnership, filed papers Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking approval of the settlement. The group was involved with the heart surgery Paxton underwent less than two weeks before he died on Feb. 25, 2017.

The anesthesia group denied responsibility, according to court records, saying it "contends that its personnel complied with the standard of care insofar as their involvement in the care and treatment of ... Paxton, and nothing their personnel did or didn’t do caused or contributed to his death.”

The filing says the settlement is contingent on the court’s finding it was made in good faith.

Robert Reback, an attorney for General Anesthesia Specialists Partnership and Dr. Moody Makar, an anesthesiologist named as a defendant, said Thursday the settlement entails dismissing Makar from the lawsuit without payment.

He said the settlement by the General Anesthesia group was a "business decision."

Paxton’s death certificate says he died from a stroke 11 days after surgery to replace a heart valve and repair aorta damage. He was 61.

General Anesthesia Specialists Partnership was added to a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit Paxton's family first brought in 2018.

Paxton’s widow, Louise Paxton, and children, James and Lydia Paxton, are plaintiffs in the suit, initially filed against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The suit alleged that the performing surgeon used a “high risk and unconventional surgical approach” that was unnecessary and that he lacked the experience to perform, and that he downplayed the procedure’s risks.

The treatment caused Paxton to suffer excessive bleeding, cardiogenic shock and a compromised coronary artery, the suit alleged.

An attorney representing the Paxtons did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Paxton was known for his work in blockbusters such as “Twister” and “Apollo 13.”

He first got a start in the 1970s playing minor roles. As a journeyman actor, he played notable characters in “The Terminator,” “Weird Science” and “Aliens” in the 1980s, and he grew to have a larger profile in the 1990s in films such as “Tombstone” and “Titanic.”

Paxton also drew acclaim for roles on the small screen. He led the cast of the popular HBO series “Big Love” and was nominated for an Emmy for his starring role on the History Channel miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys.”

A trial date is scheduled for September involving other defendants named in the suit, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the surgeon who operated on Paxton, court records showed.

Representatives for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday.