Published on:

Nursing Home Negligence Verdict To Stand

Nursing Home Negligence Verdict To StandA nursing home facility in Kanawha County West Virginia recently lost its appeal to reconsider a sizable verdict awarded in a case that went to trial two years earlier. The lawsuit investigates whether the limits established for medical malpractice apply to nursing homes. It borders on whether the defendant, HCR Manor Care, looked to garner more profits by withholding staff to cut costs.

The Charges against HCR Manor Care

In 2009, a facility owned by HCR Manor Car, LLC took charge for an 87- year old woman. Just 19 days after admittance, the elderly lady died of dehydration. The lawsuit filed by her son claims that there were a number of abuses on his mother during her short stay at the nursing home

The investigation shows not only did the woman fail to receive proper food and water, the general care was lacking, as well. Her body showed sign of head trauma due to several falls. Her mouth had sores that required surgical removal, as well. It was the lack of proper nutrition, however, that contributed to her death.

The Nursing Home Lawsuit

The initial findings by the Kanawha County Circuit judge were in favor of the plaintiff. The elderly victim’s family received an award for 91.5 million dollars. The judgment included 80 million punitive and 11.5 million dollars compensatory payment.

HCR Manor Care appealed the initial verdict claiming that the high judgment against them violated West Virginia’s malpractice caps. If true, the restriction would lower the payout by the company to just 500,000 dollars. The plaintiff’s attorneys countered that medical malpractice caps were designed for physicians, not a broad blanket rule for all medical services.

Court Upholds the Findings

At first, the judgment was sent back to the residing court for review. The reigning judge ruled against the cap motion stating that the nursing home did not fall into the purview of the state law covering health care providers. At the time, the court reviewed the company’s ability to pay such a large judgment, as well. Financial records show the establishment made just 75 million dollars in 2009. In addition, as of 2011, they no longer qualified for Medicare and Medicaid funding because of care violations.
Further review by the West Virginia Supreme Court supported the initial finding by the county judge. Next, the case was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which found that the lower judges failed to consider other restrictions such as the Federal Arbitration Act. This sent the case back to West Virginia. After taking another look, the lower court decided the nursing home was not covered by the FAA framework either.

The Advantage of these Rulings

This nursing home lawsuit, though not yet fully decided, does offer some promising implications. With just 500,000 at stake, there is little to keep these institutions honest. A nursing home lawsuit that can cost them millions means they are more likely to follow proper healthcare standards and improve the quality of life for elderly individuals in their care.

Client Reviews

  • Having worked in the medical field, I appreciated the way that Mr. Rosenfeld and his staff approached my family’s situation. The combination of medical knowledge and legal expertise was indeed the winning combination for our case.
    ★★★★★
  • While nothing can change the way our mother was treated at a nursing facility, I do feel a sense of vindication that the facility was forced to pay for their treatment. I am certain that they would never have done had my attorneys not held their feet to the fire.
    ★★★★★
  • I was very nervous about initiating a claim against my mother’s nursing facility, but Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers took care of everything from getting the medical records to going to court. I felt like I had real advocates on my side. That meant a lot to me.
    ★★★★★
  • After a horrific episode at a nursing home, my sister and I spoke to a number of law firms. No one took the time to answer our questions and explain the legal process like Mr. Rosenfeld. He did a tremendous job on our case and I can see why he’s earned the praise he has from clients and peers.
    ★★★★★
  • I liked the fact that I could call the office and ask questions about the legal process at anytime. I could tell that my case was in good hands. I think that this was reflected in my father’s settlement was more than I anticipated the case ever being worth.
    ★★★★★