Verdicts and Settlements Relating to Elder Abuse

This section provides information regarding verdicts and settlements that have been published by various media and reporting sources.

Stinson v. Little Palm

General Verdict – $588,000.00 ($88,000.00 in medical specials/$500,000.00 in general damages)

Phase II (Punitive Damages) – $750,000.00

Total – $1,338,000.00

Attorneys’ Fees, Costs, & Expert Fees – TBD at a later date

Facts:

82 year old resident was admitted into an RCFE with a diagnoses of Alzheimer’s Disease and general weakness.  Her primary care physician had documented that she was both a fall and wander risk.

Resident suffered three falls at the RCFE within a one week period.  The first two were minor and did not result in any injuries.  The last fall resulted in a head contusion, three fractured ribs and a punctured lung.  Resident’s  family and physician were not called.  Resident was placed in bed where her 92 year old husband found her the next day in distress.

According to the plaintiff’s attorneys, the facility was only licensed to provide care to seniors with “mild dementia” and not Alzheimer’s Disease or Moderate to Severe Dementia.  No reappraisals or assessments were performed for our client.  According to the plaintiff, the defendant claimed that resident’s entire file with this information had been sent to the DSS and lost.

The Jury found for plaintiff on (1) Negligence; and (2) Statutory Elder Abuse.  All of the requisite findings for enhanced remedies and punitive damages were met.

To read more about this verdict, click here

Davies vs. Elson

Synopsis: ARBITRATION — Elderly patient’s death allegedly caused by negligence, fraud

Case Type: Medical Malpractice-Facility; Hospital; Medical Malpractice-Physicians & Health Professionals; Physician; Elder & Vulnerable Adult; Medical Abuse & Neglect; Elder & Vulnerable Adult; Financial Abuse & Neglect; Wrongful Death; Adult

DOCKET NUMBER: CGC07464141

STATE: California

COUNTY: San Francisco

Verdict/Judgment Date: January 13, 2009

JUDGE: Peter J. Busch

ATTORNEYS:

Plaintiff: Thomas Quick, Law Offices of Thomas Quick, Oakland.

Defendant: Richard J. Conti, Craddick, Candland & Conti, Danville; Jessica P. Lamiero, Craddick, Candland & Conti, Danville.

SUMMARY:

Verdict/Judgment: Arbitration

Verdict/Judgment Amount: Defense

Range: $0

Trial Type: Arbitration

EXPERTS:

Plaintiff: Not reported.

Defendant: Not reported.

According to court records: Decedent Albert Davies, over the age of 65, sought medical care from defendants Joseph F. Elson, M.D., Thomas Earl Addison, M.D., Christine Stevenson O’Brien, M.D., Curtis Alan Kiest, M.D., Linh My Lam, M.D., Allison Margaret Cooke McClain, M.D., Leigh Hisako Miyamoto, M.D., Kenny Yeukhon Mok, M.D., Jaime Cintado, M.D., Heena Deepak Mehta, P.A., Zachary Maisel Haas, D.P.M., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and The Permanente Medical Group Inc. from November 1, 2005 through his death on September 16, 2006.

Plaintiff Chris Davies, decedent’s brother, alleged that decedent had a cancerous cyst on his chest, dyspnea, anemia, failure to thrive, cachexia, multiple myeloma, fatigue, immobility, and pain and that defendants neglected, ignored, dismissed, failed to diagnose, failed to evaluate, failed to treat, and failed to timely refer for proper medical care until it was too late to prevent his death from multiple myeloma.

Plaintiff further alleged that on August 29, 2006 defendants ordered decedent discharged to a skilled nursing facility but then changed the order to a boarding facility, even though decedent met the Medicare criteria for skilled nursing care. He alleged that defendants misinformed decedent about his options and coverage for care at a skilled nursing facility, coerced decedent to believe that skilled nursing care was too expensive and that he should accept placement in a boarding facility and pay for it himself, even though he was eligible for, entitled to receive, and needed skilled nursing care, with such nursing care paid by insurance, and reversed prior orders and discharge plans of three different physicians to discharge decedent to a skilled nursing facility, and, instead, sent decedent to a residential care facility. These actions constituted financial elder abuse under California Welfare and Institutions Code. In addition, being sent to a boarding facility deprived decedent of the goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering. Because the boarding facility could not adequately care for decedent’s needs, decedent had to be transferred to a skilled nursing facility, the costs of which decedent was required to pay himself because he had not been admitted directly from the hospital.

Plaintiff further alleged fraud, based on defendants’ misleading ‘Thrive‘ ad campaign, when, in fact, decedent received substandard care at defendants’ facility.

CLAIMED INJURIES

According to court records: Death.

CLAIMED DAMAGES

According to court records: Compensatory and punitive damages.

The complaint was filed on June 11, 2007.

San Francisco County Superior Court

25 Trials Digest 12th 17 (Cal.Superior), 2009 WL 1587812

$7.75 million awarded in abuse case

Elderly victim a patient at Fillmore facility

By Stephanie Hoops

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Ventura County jury Friday awarded $7.75 million to the family of a 71-year-old stroke victim who filed an elder abuse lawsuit against the Fillmore Convalescent Center.

The trial, which featured a secret videotape of the woman being abused, lasted 22 days. The jury deliberated for two days before announcing the verdict: $2.75 million in actual damages and $5 million in punitives.

In 2006, Maria Arellano, 71, was a resident at the center and family members noticed during a visit that she was bruised. They complained to management but alleged the center failed to investigate. So they set up a hidden video camera on a side table in her room.

Gregory Johnson, an attorney representing the family, said the camera caught employee Monica Garcia slapping Arellano, pulling her around by the hair, bending her neck, fingers and wrists, and treating her violently in a shower chair.

Garcia was criminally charged and pleaded no contest to simple battery in February, according to her attorney, David Lehr.

“She did 10 days’ work release and is halfway through,” he said. “My client was very sorry for her actions. She told the jury that. She’s no longer going to work in the nursing home environment, and this case has deeply affected her life. She wishes the Arellano family well.”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

This one comes from the San Luis Obispo Tribune written by Nick Wilson of the SLO Tribune

SAN LUIS OBISPO TRIBUNE

COURT AWARDS $160,000 TO FAMILY
LAWSUIT
BUT DOCTORS NAMED IN THE SUIT ON BEHALF OF A 96-YEAR-OLD ARE CLEARED

Published: Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Section: Local
Edition: Tribune
Page: B1
Lines: 45

By Nick Wilson
nwilson@thetribunenews.com

The family of a 96-year-old woman who developed a bedsore on her lower back was awarded $161,264 on Tuesday in a lawsuit filed against her caregivers, but two local doctors also named in the suit were found not responsible for any wrongdoing.

Caregivers Edwin and Jane Ingan — owners and operators of 10 care facilities in the county–were found to be negligent for their role in taking Marian Eileen Kengel to Robert Schingler, who wasn’t her primary care doctor.

Jurors also returned a verdict finding that Schingler and Dr. Grace Crittenden, Kengel’s personal physician, weren’t negligent in prescribing the medication Haldol to Kengel.

Schingler, who’s based in Los Osos, was accused of other violations, including battery and elder abuse against Kengel. Jurors cleared him of those charges.

Schingler prescribed Haldol to Kengel, who developed a bedsore while a resident at the Sunrise V care facility in Los Osos. Kengel’s family alleged the wound was caused by her immobility and the drug acted as a chemical restraint.

“I have to say that my faith in the jury system has been affirmed,” Crittenden said outside the courtroom. “I’m relieved.”

The Ingans said they made a mistake in taking Kengel to Schingler and plan to be careful to check their emergency contact information in their residents’ charts in the future.

“We had nothing to hide from the beginning,” Edwin Ingan said, calling some of the charges such as elder abuse and battery “a bunch of lies.”

The plaintiff’s lawyers accused the Ingans of intentionally keeping Kengel’s family in the dark by not seeking their consent before taking her to Schingler.

Jury foreman Cynthia Jenkins of San Luis Obispo said it was difficult for the jury to come to its decision after two days of deliberations. She said she felt concern for each of the parties involved in the suit.

“We didn’t think anyone was intentionally malicious,” Jenkins said. “We did think there was some carelessness (regarding the Ingans). But it was a tough spot for everyone.”

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