VERDICT WRONGFUL DEATH NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE ________________________________________________________________________ VERDICT: $12 Million CASE: Collins v. Perry Health Facility, Beverly Enterprises-Florida COURT: Third Judicial Circuit, Taylor County, Florida Case No. 98-433-CA Judge James R. Bean DATE: March 31, 2000 PLAINTIFF Kenneth L. Connor, Wilkes & McHugh, P.A., Tallahassee, Florida ATTORNEYS: Scott E. Gwartney., Wilkes & McHugh, P.A., Tallahassee, Florida DEFENDANT Craig A. Dennis, Dennis & Bowman, Tallahassee, Florida ATTORNEYS: David Gallagher, Gallagher & Howard, Tampa, Florida PLAINTIFF Dean Nickles, M.D., geriatric medicine, Oakland, California EXPERTS: Rita Jackson, nutrition, Jacksonville, Florida DEFENDANT Fred Feinsod, geriatric medicine, Denver, Colorado EXPERTS: Janet Sutton McKee, diet, Orlando, Florida Karl Pillemer, sociology, Ithica, New York SUMMARY: Leatha Collins, 78, suffered a stroke and was admitted to the Perry Health Facility nursing home. While there, she was sexually assaulted and beaten by fellow residents and sustained other injuries, including a broken tooth, skin tears, bruising, bleeding and infection. She was malnourished, lost 41 pounds and later died of dehydration. Her son, on behalf of his mother's estate, sued the nursing home operator, alleging violations of his mother's rights, and negligence. Plaintiff contended that the defendant failed to provide proper supervision, care and treatment for its patients, that it failed to protect Mrs. Collins from sexual abuse and assault by an 80 year old demented patient with a previous history of violence and sexual aggressiveness, and that it failed to provide the proper standard of care. The defendant denied liability. The jury awarded $2 million in compensatory and $10 million in punitive damages.
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