$1.2 Billion Verdict in Nursing Home Abuse Case

Gary Townsend recently won a $1.2 billion verdict against the nursing home where he placed his mother, Arlene, in 2004. According to court documents, Townsend’s mother fell 17 times during her three-year stay in the nursing home due to lack of supervision in the facility.

Case About Corporate Greed

Issac Ruiz-Caruz, the attorney for Townsend, said that the case was about corporate greed and fraud. The nursing home, owned by Trans Healthcare, one of the largest in the country, left the Auburndale Oaks Healthcare Center short-staffed and under-budgeted, the attorney said after the verdict. Trans Healthcare Inc. along with the management company, Trans Healthcare Management, stopped defending the lawsuit, allowing the court to enter a default judgment of liability.

Liability Judgment Led to Award

Because the judge issued the default liability judgment, the jury only had to decide on the amount of the award for the death of Townsend’s mother, who suffered a fractured hip in the last fall at the nursing home. Court documents indicate that Mrs. Townsend was left in her bed for days after the injury before she was transported to a hospital, where she later died. Trans Healthcare claimed that damages should be limited, as they stopped operating the nursing home in 2004, the jury issued a $1.2 billion award after just over an hour of deliberation, claiming that $1 billion of the award was designed to punish the nursing home. The remaining $220 million in the award was for damages suffered by Townsend.

Jury Saw Value of Life

According to Ruiz-Caruz, Townsend is grateful that the jury saw value in his mother’s life. The jury also saw that funds from the state and federal government designed for the care of patients was diverted elsewhere by the corporation, and that the company diverted assets of the Auburndale Oaks facility after it took over management of the company.

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