Articles Tagged with nursing home abuse lawyer

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A nurse was reportedly fired from her nursing home position after she reported alleged abuse of residents to authorities and now, a jury has awarded her $5.2 million for wrongful termination. nursing home abuse lawyer

Although this is technically an employment law case, it highlights the atmosphere that allows abusive, neglectful and negligent actions to persist in a nursing home setting. As our nursing home abuse attorneys know, employment actions pertaining to a nursing home can shed a lot of light into the kind of workplace it was, and therefore the type of care facility it was.

As the National Center on Elder Abuse reports, the prevalence of elder abuse today is roughly 10 percent of all seniors, who suffer physical abuse, psychological and verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation and neglect. One ground-breaking study in New York revealed that some 260,000 elder adults in that state (or about 1 in 13) suffered some type of abuse in the previous 12 months. Data from Adult Protective Services at the state level indicate these are increasing trends, and are likely to continue on this trajectory as the population ages without adequate care facilities to meet their needs.

Potential risk factors for nursing home abuse in Florida include:

  • Dementia;
  • Experience of previous traumatic events (i.e., domestic and interpersonal violence);
  • Being female;
  • Low income/ poverty;
  • No spouse/ partner.

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Unsanitary and dangerous living conditions cannot be allowed to persist in a nursing home full of vulnerable, elderly adults – particularly when the facility accepts government money to ensure proper care. Facilities need to be hygienic to lower the threat of illnesses, health codes must be followed in serving and preparing daily meals and the site needs to be regularly and adequately cleaned. nursing home abuse lawyer

Recently, a Fort Myers nursing home was shut down by the state for reportedly failing repeatedly to address unsanitary conditions for more than a year. The site has reportedly been inspected by the state 17 times over the course of 13 months, starting in October 2015. Time and again, The News-Press reports, the facility failed inspections when investigators with the Agency for Health Care Administration uncovered conditions that were either unsanitary or unsafe for residents. Facility owners were even advised of a return date of inspection, yet still failed to address the conditions that resulted in citation. A final order was issued last month, giving the facility 30 days to find new living arrangements for the residents.

As our Fort Myers nursing home negligence attorneys can explain, this is an extreme action by the state. It’s not that this facility didn’t deserve this action. What’s more startling is the number of opportunities the facility had to take corrective action. Meanwhile, there more than a 100 residents living with conditions that weren’t safe or clean. It’s actually quite rare for the state to take this level of corrective action.  Continue reading →

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Nursing home arbitration agreements are better to avoid if at all possible. An increasing number of nursing homes include arbitration agreements in their admission paperwork, essentially mandating parties agree to forfeit their constitutional right to have a dispute decided in a court of law – publicly and in front of a jury. Instead, they agree to have disputes resolved in a non-public binding arbitration. nursing home abuse lawyer

Arbitration does a disservice to those who have suffered nursing home abuse because:

  • Consumers are at a disadvantage. Arbitrators need to make a living. While the resident bringing the case is a one-time paying customer, corporate defendants will be involved again and again. Unfortunately, some arbitrators take this fact into account, and that high compensatory damages awarded to abused resident isn’t likely to get them repeat business with the corporate client.
  • It’s expensive. While nursing home residents often qualify for court fee waivers and trial judges are compensated by taxpayers, arbitrators are private judges who are charged for their services – anywhere from $400 to $1,000 hourly.
  • They aren’t often voluntary. They are typically offered as a “take-it-or-leave-it” option. Few understand the consequences of signing the arbitration agreement.

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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.


nursing home abuse
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 →

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It was to be expected following one of the biggest and most powerful storms in Florida’s history that those who stayed would be grappling with some degree of power loss in the immediate aftermath. However, one could also reasonably assume that health care providers – including nursing homes responsible for the care of elderly and vulnerable individuals – would be prepared to ensure patients’ basic needs would be met. nursing home negligence

That reportedly did not happen at a nursing home in Hollywood Hills, according to nursing home negligence lawsuits filed recently by family members of several residents who died there under sweltering conditions following the storm and subsequent power outages.

CBS News reports a total of 10 nursing home patients died after they were kept in a facility that had essentially become a “sweatbox” in the days after Hurricane Irma. While the facility lacked air conditioning, just across the street was a fully-equipped and cooled hospital.  Continue reading →

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Last year, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated a rule that prohibits nursing homes from requiring patients to sign mandatory arbitration agreements prior to disputes. However, CMS hit the brakes on enforcement of that rule in a largely-overlooked memo in December, indicating it would not do so until a court-ordered injunction is lifted. That occurred in November, when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi granted the request of trade group American Health Care Association’s to halt the rule.old woman wheelchair

The other big question mark here is how the Trump Administration is going to handle this issue, which involves stripping nursing home residents of the legal remedy of pursuing a trial in court. Instead, arbitration agreements require disputes – even those pertaining to serious personal injury and death –  be handled by an arbitrator of the nursing home’s choosing.

In the meantime, courts across the country have come to varying conclusions about the issue. In September, the Florida Supreme Court rejected mandatory arbitration in a nursing home abuse case. While the 3rd District Court of Appeal had sided with the nursing home in ruling the case should go to an arbitrator, the state supreme court ruled 5-2 that a decedent father should not be bound by an arbitration agreement signed without his consent by his son – who helped with his father’s admission to the nursing home.  Continue reading →

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The organizational structure of nursing homes and long-term care centers throughout the country has created challenges for nursing home negligence lawyers seeking to hold these companies and staffers accountable for abuse and neglect of the elderly. oldwomanwheelchair

It used to be that in most cases of nursing home abuse or neglect, plaintiffs could be relatively certain that a lawsuit naming the facility and/or its staffers would generally cover all possible defendants. What we are seeing more frequently is a situation where nursing homes use complex management structures that obscure the entities responsible for delivering care. They often set up a number of sub-companies that de-centralize ownership and separate real estate ownership from operations, etc. All that can make it difficult for residents and their families to seek compensation from the appropriate parties through litigation.

That was an issue that cropped up in the case of Maree v. Neuwirth, recently before the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Continue reading →

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If you’re over the age of 35, you could be forgiven for not being familiar with “Snapchat.” But it’s worth learning about, considering it has more than 200 million active users and is one of the fastest social media apps in the world. It’s also being cited in an alarming number of nursing home abuse cases across the country. iphone2

Take for example:

  • In August, two aides at a nursing home in Massachusetts were arrested for reportedly posting humiliating videos of several nursing home residents. One involved an 86-year-old woman sitting on the toilet being asked questions about her sex life. Another was a 75-year-old woman under the caption, “Chuckie’s Bride.” In another, a 99-year-old woman tries to break free of the aide who is hugging her in her bed, telling her she loves her.
  • In California, sheriff’s officials in San Diego launched an investigation after a Snapchat video depicted an elderly nursing home patient nude in the shower, while a worker stands behind her laughing.
  • In Illinois, a nursing assistant films as another slaps the face of a 97-year-old dementia patient with a nylon strap as the woman begs for the pair to stop. The workers laugh at her.
  • In Ohio, a nursing assistant recorded residents who were coached to say, “I’m in love with coco,” which is slang for cocaine.
  • Most recently in Wisconsin, a former nursing assistant at a Wisconsin assisted living facility was arrested on felony charges after allegedly taking video of a mostly naked patient and posting on Snapchat. The patient is 93-years-old and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The 21-year-old former worker faces up to 1.5 years in prison.

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