Aging News Alert

(NEGLIGENCE) Victim Awarded $2.77 Million in Nursing Home Negligence Case

 

An arbitration panel has found in favor of the estate of Mrs. Voncil Sherrod, whose March 24, 2005 death from gangrene resulted during her residency at High Pointe Health and Rehabilitation, a Mariner Health Care nursing home in Tennessee.  The decision results in a $2.77 million award for Sherrod's estate.

The causes of action included claims for ordinary negligence, violation of the Tennessee Adult Protection Act (TAPA), and medical malpractice.

"It is outrageous that Mrs. Sherrod was treated so horrifically," Kenneth Connor, one of the attorneys who represented Sherrod, told Aging News Alert. "She wasn't turned and repositioned and developed terrible pressure ulcers.  She wasn't kept clean and developed infections.  In addition, she suffered the indignity of languishing in her own waste for long periods of time."

Is there a lesson in this for other nursing home operators? Connor, a Leesburg, VA, resident with the law firm of Marks Balette & Giessel, believes there is: "We can only hope that other nursing homes take heed and reconsider the way in which they operate their facilities," he says. "It is particularly satisfying to have unanimous decisions when you seek justice for a negligence victim's family."

How the Arbitration Panel Worked

The arbitration panel, was comprised of two former trial and appellate judges and a lawyer who had represented Mariner. The parties each selected an arbitrator and those two arbitrators picked a third arbitrator who presided over the proceeding.  The panel rendered its award, finding unanimously for the plaintiff on the ordinary negligence, medical malpractice and TAPA survival claims. The damage awards were determined by a majority of the panel. 

The amounts awarded, totaling $2,773,396.32 were as follows:

  • TAPA violations: $250,000
  • Attorneys fees for intentional, malicious or fraudulent misconduct resulting in a TAPA violation: $400,000
  • Medical malpractice: $626,396.32
  • Punitive damages: $1,500,000

Info: A copy of the Arbitration Panel's findings can be accessed at http://tinyurl.com/l3rm99

Kenneth Connor, 703/669-3377

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