for-profit nursing home

Big jury verdicts against nursing homes are more important than you think – here’s why

Mr. Sharon had eleven different infections. His arms and legs had been in traction so long that he is now paralyzed. He was frequently soiled, and his wounds went untreated.

According to the attorneys who represented the nursing home patient and his family,

“ … Repeated instances of abuse and neglect at the nursing home led to the development of bedsores so severe and deep that at least one was infected down to his bone.

Abuse like this can’t be attributed to one bad nurse. Injuries like these can’t be blamed on overworked aides.

These are problems that start at the top. There are systemic failures in any medical facility in which these injuries could happen.

Mr. Sharon was a patient in a for-profit Colorado nursing home. For-profit chains of nursing homes use fewer resources on patient care: they have fewer nurses, higher costs, and more profits.

How do you punish a corporation?

The jury that heard this case had to decide.

You can’t send it to prison. The only things you can take away from it are it’s reputation, which is hard to quantify— or money.

In Mr. Sharon’s case, the jury awarded 3.3 million dollars.

Sound like a lot of money?

There’s actually a limit of $300,000 for non-economic damages under Colorado law. The jury thought that amount would barely put a dent in the company’s bottom line – so they included $3 million in punitive damages.

This was the jury’s way of sending a message to the nursing home—Belmont Lodge Health Care Center and its parent corporation— and to other for-profit facilities.

A trial by jury is one of the most democratic tenants in our imperfect justice system.

It is utterly essential that everyone have access to courts and lawyers exactly for situations like this. Elder care facilities that victimize or neglect the patients who depend on them for care must be held accountable.

Jury verdicts like this one are they only way they’ll get the message.


About Kevin

Kevin Coluccio was recently named one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Washington State. He has long history of successful elder abuse/neglect cases and has a stellar reputation for getting results for his injury clients in serious car crashes, pedestrian accidents, trucking accidents, maritime claims, and asbestos injury cases.