CVN blog had an excellent article written by David Siegel on a recent multimillion dollar verdict involving the neglect of Doris Cote. National for profit nursing home chain operator Five Star Quality Care Inc. decided to try a case where they recklessly neglected one of their residents. The jury decided against them with a $16.7 million punitive damages verdict in Arizona state court after the jury compensated the family with a $2.5 million compensatory verdict for allowing an 86-year-old woman to develop an infected bedsore, bringing the total damages awarded to her family to $19.2 million.
Cote’s family filed an action against Five Star in 2012 for wrongful death and elder abuse, claiming that she was overmedicated with narcotics, allowed to fall multiple times, suffered from malnutrition and dehydration, and developed a prssure ulcer which got infected with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA. The jury agreed that caregivers at The Forum at Desert Harbor recklesly and consciously disregarded policies and procedures required to keep patients from developing bedsores. The jury also found that the staff intentionally falsified medical records to cover up signs of neglect like severe weight loss. Cote weighed around 115 lbs. when she entered The Forum and lost nearly nine percent of her body weight due to malnutrition.
Lloyd explained to the jurors that Five Star’s valuation on the New York Stock Exchange is over $200 million and that the company brings in annual revenues of over one billion dollars. He asked the jury to award between $18 and $20 million.