Will The Huge Nursing Home Verdicts Effectively Tighten The Screws On The Nursing Home Industry?

Lots and lots of discussion about the $677 million verdict against Skilled Healthcare Group for not supplying that mandatory staffing levels that the State of California mandates.  Some argue that the verdict is a prime example of a jury system that’s out of control, while others claiming that the large verdict is simply what the company deserves given its staffing obligations under the law.

Like many legal developments, once the smoke clears after the initial explosion we can see that there is a lot more to the verdict than we initially thought.

impact of the settlement on the nursing home industryDespite the initial ‘sticker shock’ of the verdict, the actual amount Skilled will pay the plaintiffs is substantially less.  In fact, the parties have agreed to settle the case — to avoid bankruptcy proceedings and likely appellate hurdles– for $50 million– a sizable, yet substantially smaller amount than the initial verdict.

In addition to the monetary payment, the settlement also calls for a third-party to monitor the staffing levels at all Skilled Healthcare facilities for the next two years to make sure they are in compliance with their obligations under California law.

What is the impact of the settlement on the nursing home industry?

I think its still too early to say with certainty what impact this settlement will have on the nursing home industry in general.  However, as a nursing home lawyer who represents many people who have suffered abuse or severe neglect due to inadequate and poorly trained staff, I feel that the more attention that gets focused on the industry, the better off patients will be when it comes to the type of care they deserve.

To an industry that tends to eek out profits by boosting capacity and cutting costs, I hope that– at the very least– the Skilled Healthcare verdict will cause them to pause and reflect on the way that they do business given the real chance of severe repercussions.  Time will only tell.

Click on the links for information on nursing homes in San Diego , Los Angeles and San Francisco


Nursing Home Operator: Settlement Stems Tumult, Orange County Business Journal, September 19, 2010

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

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

Big Verdicts Against Nursing Homes

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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
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