Ventura County Reporter had an article about the recent verdict involving abuse of a resident in a nursing home.  A  jury compensated the family of a 71-year-old stroke victim who filed an elder abuse lawsuit against the Fillmore Convalescent Center.  The trial, which featured a videotape of the woman being abused, lasted 22 days. The jury deliberated for two days before announcing the verdict: $2.75 million in actual damages and $5 million in punitives.  The verdict splits liability among three defendants: the center, 40 percent; owner Eduardo Gonzalez, 40 percent; and Garcia, 20 percent.

Johnson said he offered to settle the case with the center in July for $500,000.   “They never offered me one dime,” he said. “They never offered to go to mediation, nothing. There was a lot of arrogance.”

In 2006, Maria Arellano, 71, was a resident with brusies of unknown origin that family members discovered during a visit. They complained to management but the nursing home refused to  investigate. So the family set up a hidden video camera on a side table in her room.

The camera caught employee Monica Garcia slapping Arellano, pulling her around by the hair, bending her neck, fingers and wrists, and treating her violently in a shower chair.  During the ordeal at the center, the Arellano family met another resident, Daniel Sanchez, 83, who was staying across the hall. His family suspected he, too, was being abused.

“The Sanchez family, they found bruises and hair pulling,” said Johnson, who’s filed a lawsuit on the family’s behalf that is slated for trial in January. “Mr. Daniel Sanchez has since died. They (Arellano and Sanchez) were both stroke victims who were non-verbal.”

About two weeks ago, Fillmore Convalescent received a five-star rating, the highest, from the Nursing Home Compare system, run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“The five-star rating doesn’t always reflect what’s going on today or what went on yesterday,” Stein said.


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