Nursing Home Chain Hit With Landmark Verdict In Under-Staffing Class Action Lawsuit


I guess there’s probably a lot a screaming and yelling going on at the Skilled Healthcare Group (SKH) headquarters in California.  Perhaps the anger derives from the miserable looking financial chart for the company showing a whopping 75% decline in price per share in one day!

Another portion of the companies anger is probably being misdirected at the lawyers who defended the company in a class action lawsuit brought against Skilled Healthcare based on systematic under-staffing at 22 nursing homes owned by the corporate giant.  Really, the only people to blame are the managers in the company who intentionally chose to limit that staffing at their facilities.

After hearing months of evidence regarding staffing levels at the nursing homes operated by Skilled Healthcare, the jury awarded the maximum amount permissible under the California Health and Safety Code— a whopping $671 million to the members of the class.

The massive jury award is hardly an arbitrary number.  Rather, the compensatory damages were awarded based on a statutory violation of $500 per-patient per-day at the 22 subject facilities for not providing that state minimum staffing of 3.2 hours for each patient living at the nursing homes on a daily basis.

In addition to the compensatory damages, the lawsuit also seeks punitive damages against Skilled Healthcare.  Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer for their acts.  The punitive aspect of the lawsuit will move forward in the coming weeks.

I’m sure that it will take some time before any of the plaintiffs involved in this case receive any portion of the recovery, this verdict will likely force nursing home operators to re-evaluate the way they operate and the decisions they make with respect to staffing levels at their facilities.

Sadly, when facilities are short staffed, nursing home patients suffer.  Under-staffing in nursing homes continually contributes to incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect.

Dare I say that this verdict may improve the quality of life– not just for patients at Skilled Healthcare facilities– but countless other who suffer from systematic under-staffing at other facilities across the country?

For laws related to California nursing homes, look here.
Click on the links for information on nursing homes in San Diego , Los Angeles and San Francisco


Class Action Lawsuit Against Skilled Healthcare Seeks Damages For Chronic Under-staffing Of Nursing Homes

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A Recipe For Danger: Nursing Shortage Could Reach 1M By 2020

Minimum Nurse Staffing Ratios


0 responses to “Nursing Home Chain Hit With Landmark Verdict In Under-Staffing Class Action Lawsuit”

  1. Jonathan,
    Hopefully, this verdict will bring some needed attention to the problem of under-staffing that threatens elderly patients. A few years ago, we had a case here in Huntsville where the staffing and services at a local facility were so lacking, that the elderly patients were actually being attacked by swarms of fire ants in their beds at night.
    I have enjoyed reading your blog. It certainly provides excellent information into these important issues.

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Client Reviews

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
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric