Newsday and Long Island Business News reported the $28 million settlement between Medford Multicare Center for Living and its owners Mordechai Klein; Susan Aschkenazi; Norman Rausman; and Rausman’s kin, Martin Rausman, Michael Rausman and Henry Rausman, all of Monsey and NY Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

The owners were accused of paying themselves millions in public funds while slashing costs that negatively affected patient care.  The owners were accused of corporate looting for diverting $60 million of the $280 million in Medicaid funds toward exorbitant salaries, management fees and charitable donations to their family-controlled private foundations since 2003.  The owners also agreed to adopt a host of reforms to improve the quality of care at Medford including to hire an outside operator and a financial monitor to oversee the 320-bed facility for five years.

“Nothing is more important than securing the safety of those in nursing home facilities, yet, as alleged in our complaint, Medford owners continued to line their pockets with millions in public funding while Medford cut staffing, services and supervision, shirking the duty of caring for some of our most vulnerable citizens,” he added.

Medford is the home where a resident died in 2012 after the staff failed to connect the patient to a ventilator and ignored alarms that indicated the patient stopped breathing.  Aurelia Rios, 72, died Oct. 26, 2012, because seven employees failed to do their jobs, and two others attempted to hide the true cause of her death.

“Today we have taken significant steps to ensure residents at Medford receive necessary and proper care, and that the tragic events of 2012 are never repeated,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “This settlement sends a clear message that those who profit from Medicaid at the expense of nursing home residents will be held accountable.”





The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the verdict involving a nursing resident of Providence Care Center. Elma Betty Temple, 86, and her son brought suit four years ago against Providence Care Center, where Ms. Temple fell in November 2011 and suffered broken bones and other serious injuries, according to their claim. The suit said the home was negligent in not supervising her closely enough.

Last month, the jury compensated the resident and her family with a verdict of more than $2 million against the nursing home, and another $250,000 in punitive damages.

KRDO reported the record-setting verdict for the wrongful death and suffering of Sophia Alcon, a resident at Life Care Center of Pueblo. The unanimous jury awarded more than $5.5 million.  The jury awarded $500,000 in damages stemming from the wrongful death of Sophia Alcon, $57,066.43 in economic damages for negligence, and another $5 million in punitive damages for wrongful death.

Sophia, 77, was admitted to Life Care Center of Pueblo on April 30, 2013. While a resident there, she endured several instances of abuse and neglect. According to the family, she had multiple infections, bed sores, unexplained severe bruising covering half of her body, dehydration and malnutrition.  Most of Ms. Alcon’s 10 children were regular visitors at the nursing home, and attested to performing various nursing duties such as giving Ms. Alcon showers when nursing home staff refused to do so.

“She was our mother, she meant everything to us,” Alcon’s daughter Theresa Espinosa said.

The jury also recognized multiple surveys conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which cited Life Care Center of Pueblo for numerous regulatory violations similar to what was reported by Sophia’s family. The jury believed that the facility had serious problems with continuity of care and documentation. A juror further noted that the State of Colorado should be tougher on a facility like Life Care Center of Pueblo that has had repeated violations for the same deficiencies.

See additional information at KRDO.

The Press Democrat reported the million dollar settlement between national for-profit chain Emeritus and the family of Eleanor Buckingham.  Emeritus at Santa Rosa, since renamed Brookdale Fountaingrove, agreed to the payout in the 2013 wrongful death and elder neglect of Eleanor Buckingham.  She developed pressure ulcers while at the facility which were neglected causing infection, sepsis, and her eventual wrongful death.

Her family alleged nursing staff erred in treating a pressure ulcer that developed on her back, withholding proper care until it became infected. Her family alleged the nursing home cut corners by employing people without proper training. It also let profits dictate its treatment decisions, they said.  She died of sepsis after being taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, said attorneys Jeremy Fietz and Sandy Horowitz.

A Bay Area watchdog said the $1 million settlement is significant since damages for simple negligence are capped at $250,000 under state law.

A million dollars is a statement,” said Patricia McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. “It says, we did something wrong.”

The company agreed to waive the usual confidentiality clause — another acknowledgment of fault.

She said her group receives frequent complaints about corporate-owned nursing homes, including those operated by Seattle-based Emeritus and Brookdale.  “They are large, for-profit chains trying to provide healthcare,” she said. “I’m not sure they are capable of doing it.”

Emeritus charged patients about $100,000 a year to stay in the Fountaingrove Parkway facility.  Brookdale bought Emeritus Corporation in 2014 for a reported $1.4 billion in stock. The company owns at least three other facilities in Sonoma County.



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A federal jury has ordered Ron Lusk (who owned the the Quail Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center facility when horrific abuse occurred but attempted to evade responsibility by selling the nursing homes while litigation was pending) to compensate the family through the money who siphoned away from the facility.  It’s the latest legal battle surrounding a disturbing video showing two nurse’s aides abusing a 96-year-old woman.

The video is still hard to watch for the Mayberry daughters, which shows their 96-year-old mother, Eryetha Mayberry, being abused by nurse’s aides. One aide is seen stuffing a latex glove into Mayberry’s mouth, and the other aide thumps her on the head.

Two families had to go back to court after Lusk refused to pay them after the first round of lawsuits.  Lusk sold the nursing home while the lawsuits were pending, and spent millions on a home and a yacht.  “He took the money, almost $4 million, out of Oklahoma back to Texas, spent it on his mansion, spent it on his yacht, spent it frivolously in all kinds of ways and said he was not personally responsible,” Wes Bledsoe, with A Perfect Cause, said.



A similar tragedy happened to another Oklahoma family at Lusk’s nursing home. Tim Kingsbury’s mother, who was on a special diet, choked to death eating sausages while in the nursing home’s care.

Several pieces were pulled out of her throat,  and there’s no way someone would not know that was happening. Somebody was mad at my mother, and they were just killing her,” Kingsbury said.

A jury awarded Tim Kingsbury’s family nearly $350,000.  He’s never seen a dime, just like the Mayberrys.  The two families didn’t give up.  They filed a fraudulent transfer action, claiming some of that money should have gone to them.

A federal jury just decided in their favor again and ordered Lusk to pay almost $1.6 million for fraudulently transferring money from his nursing home’s bank accounts to avoid paying two court judgments.   Lusk must use his personal funds to pay the judgments.   Court documents show Lusk sold the nursing home in June 2012, receiving $2.85 million in net proceeds and another $1.14 million from accounts receivable or reimbursements.


 Beachwood Pointe Care Center nursing home and its parent company, Provider Services, will pay $1 million to the family of a resident who died due to the facility’s “negligence and recklessness,” including infected pressure ulcers, a judge ruled. A jury in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court awarded Stevens’ estate $560,000 in punitive damages and $440,000 in compensatory damages.

Mary Stevens, a 71-year-old resident, died in 2012 following injuries caused by staff negligence, according to a lawsuit filed by her estate. Stevens also suffered from infected pressure wounds, and sustained “severe” and “fatal” injuries while living at Beachwood Pointe, the lawsuit claims.

According to the lawsuit, the Stevens’ family and physician were never notified of her injuries, and she was “not provided with a safe environment” prior to her death.


An Oakland County jury in Detroit held an assisted-living facility liable for the death of a 90-year-old dementia-stricken resident after she swallowed dishwasher detergent left in an unsecured cabinet. The family of Willie Mae Henderson was awarded $5,080,000 — $3 million of which was for conscious pain and suffering in its lawsuit against Watermark Retirement Communities. An Oakland County Circuit Court jury deliberated for less than three hours following a seven-day trial before delivering the verdict, awarding the exact amount that the family’s attorney’s requested.

Lawrence J. Buckfire, co-counsel for the estate, said he was pleased that the jury determined the decedent’s age was not a factor in awarding her estate.  “One of the things you’re always concerned about when doing a case for an elderly resident is somehow the jury is going to discount the value of that person’s life or the loss of that person’s life based upon their age,” said Buckfire.

Willie May Henderson wandered into the kitchen area at The Fountains at Franklin in Southfield. One of the two caregivers on duty was on a break, leaving the other to watch over 17 residents by herself. Based on timesheets, the caregiver stayed out 56 minutes instead of the allotted 30 minutes. A substitute supervisor was not brought in.  Watermark Retirement Communities denied negligence and denied causing significant pain, suffering, fright, shock and disability to Henderson. They also denied an allegation that The Fountains at Franklin, the facility where the incident occurred, was not property staffed or supervised.

Buckfire said the cabinet doors beneath the kitchen sink had easy access, with a magnetic lock on one side and a makeshift wood-stick mechanism designed by the maintenance staff on the other. Unsupervised, Henderson opened the cabinet, opened the bottle of detergent and ingested it.

After being found with her head leaned back and her lips swollen, Henderson was rushed to the hospital. The injuries to her mouth, throat, esophagus and stomach were so severe that she could not undergo surgery and was unable eat or drink. She died 13 days later.

Buckfire said the defense did not admit liability, argued that it took reasonable measures, and asserted that no other residents had gotten into locked cabinets before.

“These facilities usually are very poor at documenting treatment and important events,” he said. “Sometimes that poor documenting hurts them, obviously, because they can’t verify what they did or didn’t do, but it can make it more difficult for us to prove negligence on their part because the documentation is so poor.”

Buckfire said the facility’s lack of written procedures for securing hazardous chemicals made an impression on the jury. And despite the facility’s claim that locks and doors were regularly checked, there were no inspection records, he added.

“The lack of that documentation really hurt the defendant; there was no way they could establish that they did all the things they argued that they did,” Buckfire said.

The facility’s administrator claimed there was a safety policy, he said, but the facility’s national risk manager conceded at trial that there wasn’t one.

In addition, Buckfire said he pointed out inconsistent statements among employees about the cabinet’s condition and how the incident occurred because of it.

“A top right hinge from the cabinet was loose, so they immediately determined that somehow my client, a 90-year-old lady in a wheelchair with dementia, forcibly pried it off with her fingers because there were no tools or utensils in the area,” he said.

Buckfire said that before trial, the defendant asserted that Henderson might not necessarily have been the one damaging the door, “but there was nobody else. It was a locked unit and no one saw any outsiders or anyone else do it.”

To prove that, Buckfire said he used three experts.

Dr. Ljubisa J. Dragovic, a forensic pathologist, testified that if Henderson would have done what the defense asserted, her fingers or fingernails would have had abrasions. The records showed none, Buckfire said.

Harold Josephs, an engineer, inspected the door and hinges and screws. He testified it was highly unlikely that anyone, especially the decedent, could have forced the hinges off the cabinet, and the probable scenario was the doors were not locked or secured.

Michael Brodie, an assisted living expert, testified that a proper caregiver/resident supervision ratio of 2-to-17 was not used during the time of the incident. Brodie also said that fatal-if-swallowed chemicals must be secured so that vulnerable residents cannot gain access.

“[Y]ou must have appropriate locking mechanisms and secondary prevention measures,” Buckfire said. “And at the very least, have a childproof cap on [the detergent]. Here, the container was actually open, making it easier for [Henderson] to consume it.”

“The son in this case visited his mom five to six times a week, and with a life expectancy of two to three years, you’re looking at hundreds of missed visits,” Buckfire said. “And the jury understood how close and devoted he was to his mother, and they had no problem determining his loss was the same as if it were a younger person.”

The jury awarded $2 million for loss of society and companionship.

In arguing damages for conscious pain and suffering, Buckfire said he relied on nursing records taken during Henderson’s 13 days in the hospital. He explained that nursing assessments were performed every four hours, which included pain-scale assessments.

“So rather than have me explain and have [the jury] believe me, I did a summary of the pain-scale assessments,” Buckfire said. “These showed that even after she received morphine or other pain medications, quite often her pain levels were at 8-out-of-10 or 6-out-of-10 and so forth.”

He said that while the defense acknowledged that Henderson’s death was terrible, the defendant tried to minimize the damages by saying a lot of times she was on pain medication or a ventilator and wasn’t conscious.

“So I used the actual nursing notes and objective data to show she did suffer every single day for the remainder of her life,” Buckfire said.

He said he felt confident in asking for $3 million for the resident’s full 13 days of suffering after a pre-trial focus group said it would be comfortable awarding that much.

“My argument to the jury and to the focus group was, this woman suffered the same way a 30-year-old, 50-year-old or 70-year-old would,” he said. “Don’t discount the amount of suffering she went through based on her age.”

In addition, the jury awarded $80,000 for medical and funeral expenses.  “Families put a great deal of trust in these facilities. It is a very difficult and emotional decision for a family to make,” he said.

KTNV reported the settlement between Nevada and the family of Dr. Bob Robinson, a former state lawmaker.  Nevada officials are paying $400,000 to the family of an Alzheimer’s patient who died after being allowed to exit Nevada State Veterans Home nursing home in sweltering heat.  Robinson was unsupervised when he maneuvered his wheelchair onto an outdoor patio at the Nevada State Veterans Home on July 15, 2013 and got stuck. Staff later found him with third degree burns and heat stroke, and he died two weeks later at age 89.

The family sued, saying the state was deliberately indifferent to Robinson.  The Nevada Board of Examiners voted Tuesday to settle with the family of Dr. Bob Robinson.  Gov. Brian Sandoval, who’s on the board, called the case “horrific” and said he’s apologized to the family.

The Richmond Register reported the disturbing incident by an activist judge who overturned and disregarded a jury’s verdict based on a technicality.  On June 25, a jury awarded $18 million in compensation to the estate of Eliza Jennings which had sued The Terrace Nursing Home.  The suit filed in March 2010 went to trial June 15.  Jennings developed several deep bedsores, including some that exposed bone and nerve endings and became infected. This was the result of the what was said to be the nursing home’s practice of leaving residents in diapers for extended periods to save money. Jennings also allegedly lost use of her limbs from lack of range-of-motion exercise.  Jennings suffered injury and wrongful death because the nursing home failed to provide the “degree of ordinary skill expected of a reasonable and prudent nursing home.”

However, Judge Jean Chenault Logue set aside the judgment and ordered a new trial based on erroneous jury instructions that she gave to the jury.  The judge allowed the plaintiff’s attorney to present “resident’s rights” claims and supporting evidence under state statute.  According to the supreme court ruling, some of those claim’s ceased to exist with the resident’s death.  The judge’s decision to allow those claims and then include them in her jury instructions “permeated all the evidence” the plaintiff presented, “resulting in immeasurable prejudice to the defendant,” according to the defense’s brief.



In the case of Eliza Jennings (estate) v. Terrace Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a Madison County, KY circuit court jury returned a $18,000,000 verdict.  It included $4,000,000 for pain and suffering and $4.5 million more on resident’s rights claims.  The punitives totaled $9.5 million out of a maximum of $10 million.  See full instructions and verdict form JenningsVerdict.  The Terrace is a part of PMD Corporation, which owns 12 nursing homes across Kentucky.

“The facts of this case are horrific,” said Corey Fannin, an attorney with Wilkes & McHugh P.A. which represents Jennings’ estate.  The facility’s neglect caused Jennings to suffer several deep bedsores, including sores down to the bone and infections, including E. coli.. One deep-bone bedsore was the size of a softball and left her tailbone and nerve endings exposed. Evidence was presented at trial that The Terrace left residents in wet diapers for extended periods of time.