Despite Admission Of Nurse He Assaulted Nursing Home Resident; Civil Case Against Nursing Home Remains Up For Grabs

Although Steven Laroche, a certified nursing assistant at a Massachusetts nursing home, admitted to committing an indecent assault on a 93-year-old resident at the facility where he works, the outcome of the civil lawsuit against the nursing home remains uncertain.

The daughter of the unidentified nursing home resident, filed a civil lawsuit against St. Joseph’s Manor six months after the criminal assault occurred.  The lawsuit against the nursing home is based on breach of contract and malpractice for the acts committed by Laroche on her father.  The elderly man suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

Civil Case Against Nursing HomeIn the criminal case, Laroche was sentenced to two years in jail.  But Judge Carol Ball suspended the sentence and ordered him to serve just two years probation. During that time, Laroche must wear a GPS monitoring bracelet and he must also register as a sex offender.

Anne Teri, the administrator of the 118-bed non-profit nursing home and rehabilitation center, said normal procedure calls for CORI checks and more when hiring. That was done with Laroche and nothing raised any concerns, she said.

Nonetheless, the nursing home was also fined by Massachusetts authorities for not reporting the assault or notifying a doctor, social worker the victim’s family after the incident. Another certified nursing assistant notified the state and subsequently lost her job at the nursing home. Teri said those issues have been addressed and internal processes are now in place.

At issue is the responsibility of the nursing home in acts of its employees. The nursing home claims it is not responsible for anything that deviates from normal care and likely not responsible for the criminal acts of their employee.

This is a common problem facing nursing home residents and their families that have suffered from nursing home abuse committed by a nursing home employee.  A successful case against the nursing home hinges upon the ability to demonstrate the facility knew or should have known of the employee’s abusive or violent tendencies.  In many cases involving an abusive nursing home employee, the nursing home fails to conduct a thorough background check or verify references that should have alerted them to the employees dangerous propensities prior to hiring them.

For additional information view our Massachusetts nursing home law page.

Related story:

Civil case still pending in Brockton nursing home assault February 4, 2009

Related blog posts:

Ohio nurse sentenced to 12 and 1/2 years for sexually assaulting 100 residents

Hazing type abuse in Mississippi nursing home

Three New York nursing home employees charges with abusing elderly



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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
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