A federal appellate court has affirmed a $1.2 million damage award to plaintiffs whose mother was abused by two certified nursing assistant while she was a patient in a nursing home. That damage award included $10,000 in punitive damages, which are awarded in injury and wrongful death cases involving intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
These types of cases are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in Florida, as the population ages and the availability of quality care workers becomes more strained. According to court records from the U.S. Court of Appeal for the 10th Circuit, the nursing home patient lived on her own until she was 90-years-old. In 2008, her three daughters moved her into defendant’s nursing home facility. By that time, the elderly woman suffered from severe arthritis, which significantly impacted her mobility and required her to use a wheelchair. She also had difficulty communicating due to dementia.
The two CNAs in question had not worked there long by the time victim was placed in their care. Both workers had numerous write-ups in their personnel files for things like excessive tardiness, leaving the site in the middle of a shift, using a cell phone during work, failing to show up for work, falling asleep at work, refusing to complete certain assigned duties (including leaving residents in wet diapers for hours). One of the workers was recommended for immediate termination, yet she nonetheless continued working there. In fact, she was even responsible for training new CNAs regarding proper resident treatment. Continue reading →