Texas Wrongful Death Verdict $2.1M
In August 2008 a Texas jury returned a verdict of $2.1 million in a nursing home lawsuit filed after the death of a resident in 2004. The death was allegedly caused by over medication with painkillers and a urinary tract infection that went untreated because the facilityâ€™s fax machine was broken.
Mabel Ann Webb, 79, who fell and hurt her back in the spring of 2004, was at the CLC Richland Hills nursing home to undergo physical therapy. While there, Webb developed a urinary infection which went untreated, and died of kidney failure approximately one month after entering the nursing home.
Nursing home employees admitted to state inspectors that they did not see an analysis of Webbâ€™s urinary tract infection for about two weeks because the facilityâ€™s fax machine was not functioning properly.
According to the lawsuit, Webb was also over medicated while at the nursing home. She was administered three times the appropriate amount of painkillers by the nursing homeâ€™s medical director, Dr. Adolphus Ray Lewis.
On August 6, 2008, a Tarrant County jury awarded the family $900,000 in compensatory damages against the Texas nursing home and the doctor, as well as $1.2 million in punitive damages against the doctor. However, under Texas damage cap statutes, the amount of the jury award will likely to be reduced, and the Texas nursing home lawyers who represent the family indicated in local news reports that they may be unable to collect a large portion of the award since the facility was uninsured.
Gary Trebert, the former owner of CLC Richland Hills, recently pled guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy and tax evasion. About 70 nursing homes were run by the former attorney, who admitted to evading payroll taxes of about $34 million. Trebert is expected to be sentenced to eight years in prison later today.
According to local news reports, Dr. Lewis continues to serve as the medical director of the nursing home, which is now under new ownership.