Arkansas Jury Orders Beverly Healthcare to Pay $2.2 million in Nursing Home Neglect Case
September 19, 2007
Company officials referred to their own nursing assistants as
“misfits” and “trash”
Camden, Ark. – Nix, Patterson & Roach, LLP, a national plaintiffs’ law firm representing Arkansas residents in a number of nursing home neglect cases, announced today a jury verdict of $2,287,891 in a lawsuit filed against Beverly Healthcare, one of the nation’s largest nursing home chains. The case was filed on behalf of the estate of Herman Johnson, a local resident who died on April 1, 2005, while living at Beverly Healthcare of Camden. At the time of his death, Mr. Herman was found to have been suffering from pressure sores, malnutrition, and a number of other symptoms typical of elder abuse. Over the course of the eight-day trial, the 12-person jury heard testimony from a variety of Beverly representatives, medical experts, and other witnesses. Among the documents displayed during the trial were internal Beverly e-mails referring to the company’s own nursing assistants as “trash” and “misfits” who posed a “hazard” to the residents. According to Beverly’s own officials, the company was not able to retain quality nursing assistants because it refused to raise its wages by $1.00 per hour. The plaintiffs also introduced evidence showing that the company recently paid its executives $138 million in bonuses. Finally, the jury heard from Beverly Director of Operations David Mills, who took the stand and compared running a nursing home to owning an automobile dealership.
On September 14th of this year, the jury rendered a verdict finding that Beverly was negligent in this matter, and they awarded the deceased’s family approximately $1.4 million in compensatory damages. On September 17th, the jury returned and awarded the plaintiffs an additional $875,000 in punitive damages.
“This jury sent a powerful message to Beverly and all the other nursing-home mega-chains that neglect their residents in order to boost profits,” said Chad Trammell, a partner with Nix, Patterson & Roach and the attorney who represented the plaintiffs. “The people they are abusing are our mothers, our fathers, and our grandparents. These companies have a duty to care for their residents, and that duty is more important than maximizing shareholder return and paying out huge executive bonuses.”
This legal action was styled Valerie Keaton as Administrator of the Estate of Herman Johnson, deceased vs. Beverly Enterprises, Inc., Beverly Health and Rehabilitation Services, Inc. and Beverly Enterprises-Arkansas, Inc. d/b/a Beverly Healthcare Camden (Cause No. CV-2205-282-6), and it was filed in the Ouachita County Circuit Court. Mr. Trammell has filed similar litigation against Beverly and its associated companies in Tennessee, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Beverly is currently owned by Fillmore Capital Partners, LLC, and is now marketed under the name Golden Gate National Senior Care (GGNSC). See www.fillmorecap.com and www.goldenlivingcenters.com for further information.