Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Obtain a Positive Result in Nursing Home Trial in Philadelphia Cty PA

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC attorneys David L. Gordon and Eric D. Heicklen, with the support of paralegals Barbara Parkes and Melody Dye, obtained a positive trial result in a nursing home negligence matter in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. Given the history of damages awarded in similar cases heard in Philadelphia courts, this was quite a feat.

The plaintiff, Leon Jones, alleged that a fall and hip fracture he suffered on January 6, 2006, was the result of improper assessment and monitoring during his care at the nursing home. Plaintiff also alleged various violations of state and federal regulations regarding his care and treatment. Mr. Jones was minimally ambulatory prior to this incident and argued that he lost the ability to ambulate as a result of this incident.  

The defense focused on the fact that Mr. Jones did not call for help on the morning of this fall as he had been doing for years prior. The defense also demonstrated that Mr. Jones’ decision to delay surgery to correct his hip fracture added to Mr. Jones’ inability to ambulate.  

Following a two and a half week trial in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, an award of damages was made to the plaintiff in an amount less than what had been offered in settlement. The jury also indicated that Mr. Jones was 25% negligent related to his failure to call for assistance on the morning of his fall.  

This matter was streamlined through the filing of numerous Motions in Limine which resulted in positive evidentiary rulings including a dismissal of corporate negligence claims against the nursing home’s management company, preclusion of evidence of understaffing at the facility, preclusion of the prior Department of Health survey history of the facility, and preclusion of any evidence of spoliation or destruction of evidence claims. The arguments of defense counsel and the resulting evidentiary rulings placed the focus of this case on the care of Mr. Jones and his own decisions for treatment, and not the "profits over people" arguments plaintiff’s attorneys attempt to use to confuse the jury and increase awards in nursing home negligence cases.  

 

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