A jury recently awarded a Florida man more than $1.1 billion in damages for the alleged negligence his mother had experienced in a local nursing home.
The lawsuit claimed that the man’s 69 year old mother was a resident at the Auburndale Oaks Healthcare Center nursing home from 2004 until her death in 2007, and that during this time, she fell some 17 times due to improper supervision.
One of the plaintiff’s attorneys in the case told a news agency that the case was about “corporate fraud, corporate greed.” Plaintiffs argued that the corporate defendant took over a nursing home and deliberately short staffed it, failed to fund it adequately, and as a result the home’s residents suffered.
It took the jury just a little over one hour to decide that the man was entitled to $110 million in compensatory damages, and $1 billion in punitive damages. A default judgment was entered against the defendants in 2011; thus the jurors sole responsibility was to determine damages. The judge in the case has rejected requests from the defendants to set aside the default judgments.
Another jury in the same county awarded a $114 million verdict against the same defendants in 2010 for a different nursing home abuse case.
While the underlying facts in this case were not reported, it seems clear that any individual needing to live in a nursing home would likely suffer injury as a result of falling not one or two, but 17 times within a three year period. The standard for determining negligence in nursing home cases is whether the caregivers failed to act in a way that a reasonable caregiver would act. It seems obvious that failing to ensure patient safety to such a great extent would likely rise to that standard. However, the fact that this case resulted in a default judgment means that the merits of the accusations were not tried, but rather assumed to be true.
In Maryland, nursing homes are monitored by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Nursing homes are governed by the Code of Maryland Regulations, a set of strict regulations that all of the licensed nursing homes in the state must abide by. One of the requirements of the Code is that all nursing homes within the state are to have set of policies and procedures in place that will prevent abuse and neglect of its residents. A failure to have these policies in place can serve as grounds for a lawsuit against the nursing home.
If you suspect that an elderly friend or relative living in a nursing home or assisted living facility within the Maryland or the Washington D.C. areas might be suffering from nursing home neglect or abuse, contact the experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC immediately. Our law firm has many years of experience advocating on behalf of victims who have suffered as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect within nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Contact us today in order to schedule your complimentary and confidential initial consultation. You can reach us by calling (800) 654-1949 or contact us through our website.
More Blog Posts:
21 Nursing Home Employees Face Charges for Allegedly Abusing Alzheimer’s Patients, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published July 19, 2013
Attorney General Raises Concerns Regarding Nursing Home Abuse, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published July 12, 2013