Following an appeal by a nursing home operator based on an excessive verdict, an Appellate Court has ordered a re-trial of the punitive damage aspect of a nursing home negligence case. The case was originally tried in Warren County Circuit court and a jury awarded $4.1 M in compensatory damages and $29.8 M in punitive damages.
The nursing home negligence lawsuit was brought by the daughters of Cheatum Myers, an 88-year-old man who allegedly died prematurely while he was a resident at a nursing home owned by National Healthcare Corporation, a Murfreesboro-based nursing home operator. The family’s lawsuit involved separate counts for negligence, medical malpractice and wrongful death.
National Healthcare Corporation has 60 days from the entry of the Appellate Court’s decision to file a motion to reconsider with the Tennessee Supreme Court. National Healthcare Corporation is the 11th largest nursing home operator in the United States and currently houses over 9,000 elderly residents. Read more about this nursing home negligence lawsuit here.
Punitive damages are damages not awarded in order to compensate the plaintiff, but in order to punish or deter the defendant and similar persons from similar behavior that harmed the plaintiff (injured party). In most jurisdictions, plaintiffs must get permission from the court to pursue a claim for punitive damages. There is no set limit or absolutely impermissible ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages, though punitive damages with outrageously high ratios have been reversed by appellate courts.
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