California Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits

Our elderly population deserves respect and dignity. Sadly, many of them are abused in an environment where they should expect the most protection and comfort: nursing homes. Time and again, we see victims of California nursing home abuse because of the actions of facility staff or other residents.

They are physically, mentally, sexually, and even financially abused in some circumstances.

To help you understand the problems that they are facing in these kinds of institutions, review the following case summaries involving alleged abusive care at California nursing facilities and call our offices if you have any questions.

$600,000 SETTLEMENT:

Sonoma, California nursing home abuse case.

This nursing home case actually started out as a dispute between two residents. A man and his domestic partner were having difficulty getting along. In fact, they were getting into physical altercations. The nursing home came in and petitioned the county to obtain a conservatorship over them for their protection.

Sonoma County granted this request. After receiving that status, they separated both men into different nursing facilities and moved all of their stuff accordingly. However, one of those two men objected to the transfer and argued that the nursing facility exceeded its authority as conservator.

In the complaint he filed in court, he claimed the defendant home falsely imprisoned him and inflicted emotional distress as well as significant property damage.

The defendant disagreed but offered $600,000 as a compromise to settle the matter. The plaintiff agreed.

Here are a few things that the plaintiff had going for him:

  • By statute, the nursing home exceeded the bounds of its status as a conservator by moving his person and property.
  • The plaintiff would have claimed at court that the separation was motivated by his sexual orientation which would have created a lot of negative attention for the defendant nursing home.

$850,000 SETTLEMENT:

Orange County, California nursing home abuse case.

This case ended as tragically as it began. An elderly woman in her early eighties was admitted to a nursing home to live with care and dignity after experiencing severe health problems. However, what she got was neglect and abuse.

She was not properly hydrated, medicated, or nourished. Due to these errors, she suffered dehydration, renal failure, sepsis, and ischemic colitis.

Unfortunately, as much as she battled back once she got the care that she needed, she ended up dying. Lawyers for the woman’s estate argued that the nursing home was responsible and should pay over $1,000,000 in damages.

The defendant denied all responsibility for the death and injuries; yet, both sides were able to work out a settlement to end the matter prior to trial for $850,000.

Here is why the defendant nursing home may have been motivated to settle:

  • The defendant facility clearly breached statute in their neglect to provide the decedent with appropriate medications which may have been used to show proximate cause of her death.
  • The state of California investigated the matter and cited the facility for failure to supervise, nourish, and otherwise care for her. This definitely would have been persuasive at court for the plaintiff’s argument.

$347,000 SETTLEMENT:

Los Angeles County, California nursing home abuse case.

This legal dispute started when a nursing home resident in her late eighties suffered a broken hip after another resident hit her and knocked her to the floor. The doctors had to perform an open reduction as well as fixation procedures on her. As a result, she was permanently disabled. After the affair and medical treatments had transpired, she sought legal recourse through the

California court system to obtain compensation for the personal injuries, medical expenses, disability, and pain and suffering that came with the accident. Specifically, she sued the nursing home on the theory that they should have done more to protect her from the other, aggressive resident including train their staff better, monitor their residents better, and take further action to prevent this from happening.

Also, her complaint alleged that the defendant facility had ample knowledge of the other woman’s aggressive tendencies through prior acts and words.

The defendant denied all of these claims and said there was nothing more that they could have done. An arbitrator disagreed.

He awarded the plaintiff $347,000 for the following damages:

  • $156,000 for pain and suffering.
  • $16,000 for medical bills.
  • $175,000 for compensatory damages.

$1,338,163 VERDICT:

San Diego, California nursing home abuse case.

This case was so striking because so much happened in so little amount of time. Prior to entering the nursing home, the resident involved was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and deemed a high risk for falls.

Therefore, her family made sure that they found a facility to account for that prior to admitting her. In fact, the nursing home even promised they would take appropriate measures to prevent that from happening.

However, in just a few months, not only did she fall on multiple occasions but she also endured substantial mental abuse. Apparently, the staff did not use appropriate beds or chairs to keep her from falling. The damage was severe: mental distress, broken ribs, and pierced lungs.

The woman and her lawyers brought suit against the nursing home for the injuries that she sustained while living there. They alleged a variety of statutory claims.

The jury found in her favor and awarded her $1,338,163 in damages for medical bills, compensatory injuries, punitive harms, and attorneys’ fees.

Here are a few reasons that might explain the relatively exorbitant verdict:

  • You usually find higher awards from juries than settlements especially with a blameless and abused plaintiff.
  • The victim suffered taunting and neglect from staff and other residents.
  • The plaintiff could point to specific, statutory provisions that afforded her relief for the circumstances she experienced.
  • The plaintiff sustained extraordinary medical bills and costs due to the events described in the lawsuit.

$1,480,000 VERDICT:

Los Angeles, California nursing home abuse case.

The victims of this incident did all that they could to keep it from occurring but it still happened despite their best efforts. The family of an 89-year-old man approached a nursing home to ask if it could care for him sufficiently.

He was suffering from Alzheimer’s and need round-the-clock care. Representatives of the nursing home assured them that they could so he was admitted to live there.

However, quite obviously and quite early into his stay at the facility, they failed on that promise. Staff allowed him to smoke which was prohibited by his doctors’ instructions and they let him wander off the property. He was completely neglected and abuse.

On one trip outside the walls of the nursing home, he got hit by a truck. At the time of the accident, he was almost five miles away from the facility. Though he got quick emergency care, he still died from injuries sustained in the accident.

The family of the man sued the nursing home and a jury awarded them $1,480,000 in damages for the following things:

  • Funeral, burial, and medical bills.
  • Lost support and companionship.
  • Pain and suffering that the man experienced prior to passing away.


Recent news and reports are exposing the abuse that nursing home residents face on a constant basis and it’s atrocious. After reviewing the cases that we summarized above, please remember the following points if you or someone you know have been abused by a nursing facility.

  1. Many nursing homes will try and say that the abuse never happened or is exaggerated so you have to clearly prove your case with investigation, records, and other materials.
  2. A lot of nursing homes will attempt to claim that the employee responsible acted outside of his scope of employment when he or she abused the resident. To combat this defense, scrutinize the company’s employee hiring, training, screening, and supervision procedures and implementation.
  3. Many nursing homes are insured but that policy may not apply to acts of intentional abuse by its employees.


Nursing Home Law News represents victims of nursing home abuse. We fight to make sure that these large corporations pay for the damage that they cause.

If you contact our offices, we can review your incident and file a case on your behalf so that you get what you should under California law. Call us now. We can get to work immediately.

If you are looking for information on the laws and regulations that apply to nursing homes in California, look here.

For information on nursing facilities in specific California cities and for local attorneys, look at pages below:

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