Virginia: Nursing Homes – a Lawyer’s Falls

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Trial is the monthly magazine of the American Association for Justice (“AAJ”), formerly the American Trial Lawyers Association (“ATLA”). Its issue for March 2014 is entitled “Equal Footing? Gender equity in the law and your role in it”.

The lead article is “BLAZING THROUGH MASS TORTS,” covering the practice of Denver attorney Aimee Wagstaff, organizer of Woman En Mass. She is on the 8-member Executive Committee overseeing all 6 Multi-District Litigations (MDLs”) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia involving transvaginal mesh products. Id. at 14-20.

Trial also reported “Verdicts & Settlements,” one notable medical malpractice case being a 2013 $1,110,000,000.00 Florida jury verdict, including $1 billion in punitive damages. Judgment was entered against a nursing home for a 63 year-old chronic fall victim who “suffered numerous falls resulting in broken bones and lacerations, infections, significant weight loss, chronic constipation, skin breakouts, dehydration, and other problems” unto death, allegedly due understaffing and inadequate care, including not “protecting [patient] from falls, ensuring a safe environment, and documenting changes to her condition”. Id. at 8.

Other jury verdicts reported in Trial included a $2,840,000.00 New Jersey one of premises liability for a known stairwell hazard causing a member fall at an Elks Lodge; a $5,000,000.00 New Jersey one for a school bus failing to drop off a student at her designated stop, whereby she was hit and permanently disabled by another vehicle while walking from the more distant unsafe stop; and an $800,000.00 Maryland one for bug infestation concealment, injuries, and retaliation. Trial has also reported 2 significant settlements: an Illinois one for $1,130,000.00 for injuries caused by an escaped 120-pound bull mastiff; and a California one for a $217,500.00 for injuries caused by a school’s improper supervision of an autistic student. Id. at 8-12.