Nursing Home Operator To Pay $43.5M in Wrongful Death Lawsuit—And Faces Federal Fraud Charges

Our Washington D.C. nursing home injury attorneys have been following the recent news that the former operator of a nursing home was found responsible for the wrongful death of an elderly resident by a Georgia jury—who set the damages at $43 million.

According to the wrongful death lawsuit, Morris Ellison, a former resident at a nursing facility in Rome, was admitted to the facility in 2006, and experienced nursing home falls multiple times—in once case breaking his hip. The home reportedly failed to alert either Ellison’s doctors or his family after he experienced the injuries. When Ellison died the following April at the age of 80, Ellison’s daughter, Loretta Terhune, accused the nursing home of failing to provide her father with proper nursing home care.

The former nursing home operator, George D. Houser, 62, reportedly oversaw Forum Group, the company that operated the Moran Lake Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, and according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is also facing federal charges for stealing $30 million from the Medicaid and Medicare program funding—payments that were to provide proper care and treatment for the nursing residents at three of Houser’s homes. Federal prosecutors are reportedly accusing Houser and his wife, who is also facing federal charges, of fraud, for using the money to purchase luxury items and real estate.

During the three-day nursing home trial, Terhune’s attorneys alleged that her father was treated with extreme nursing home negligence when he died, suffering from severe dehydration and malnutrition. Terhune’s attorneys claimed that this severe neglect happened because Houser drained the nursing homes’ money and resources, causing a shortage of water, food, and necessary medical supplies. A former director of the nursing home also reportedly testified that the facility did not have the necessary funds to compensate its staff, pay bills, and even do laundry to care for the residents.

Many inspections of the facility were reportedly conducted over the years, performed by the Office of Regulatory Services for the Georgia Department of Human Resources, and after an inspection in May of 2007, the agency ended all federal funding and shut the home’s doors, after finding that the nursing home was violating federal and state regulations, Georgia state health regulations, nursing home regulations and other national safety and health standards.

The jury’s award is to go to the family of Ellison, and is believed to be the largest award against a nursing home operator in Georgia’s history.

If a Washington D.C. resident becomes injured or dies because the nursing home neglected to protect the health and safety of the resident, the nursing home could be held liable for Washington D.C. nursing home negligence or wrongful death. Our attorneys at Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC represent victims and their families who wish to recover personal injury compensation from nursing home negligence and harm. Contact us today.

Jury Awards $43.5M for Nursing-Home Death, UPI News, September 4, 2010
Nursing Home Operator Ordered to Pay $43.5 Million in Wrongful Death Lawsuit, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 3, 2010

Related Web Resources:

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel

Washington DC Slip and Fall Accidents Can Cause Hip Injuries, Broken Bones, a Strained Back, and Other Painful Injuries, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, February 23, 2010

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