The Sacramento Bee reported on the conclusion of the wrongful death and abuse trial against Emeritus Corp. At the end of the liability phase of the trial, the jury awarded the plaintiffs $3.875 million for Joan Boice’s pain and suffering. That award, however, had been capped at $250,000 by Judge Judy Holzer Hersher under state law that applies to medical malpractice cases.
The second phase of the trial is the jury hearing evidence related to punitive damages. The jury decided yes and awarded the family $23,000,000.81. The 81 cents was for the resident’s age. A clear rebuke to Defendants harping on her age during the trial.
“It took the panel less than a day of deliberations following two days of testimony to decide what the damages should be in the punitive phase of the trial. The same jury on Monday came back with a finding of liability against Emeritus and found that the Seattle-based corporation acted with malice, oppression and fraud in its treatment of Joan Boice. The woman died in February 2009, three months after she left Emeritus at Emerald Hills in Auburn with bed sores spreading over portions of her body.”
Testimony at the trial showed that Emeritus at times had no caregivers on duty during the overnight shift during Boice’s three-month stay at Emerald Hills.