This article was originally published on Law360 and was written by Bonnie Eslinger. All rights for this article belong to Portfolio Media Inc.
A California state appeals court Tuesday said an HCR ManorCare facility that a jury found negligently violated a patient’s rights must pay punitive damages, saying the volume of violations was sufficient evidence the nursing home acted with “conscious disregard” for the elderly man’s rights and safety. Janice Jarman had sued HCR ManorCare Inc. and Manor Care of Hemet, California, LLC on behalf of her father, John L. Jarman, alleging he sustained injuries while convalescing from a broken leg at a Manor Care facility for three months in 2008. The suit claimed violations of patient rights under California law, elder abuse and neglect, and negligence.
The jury found in favor of Jarman, concluding ManorCare committed 382 violations of the elder Jarman’s rights while he was at its facility, awarding $95,500 in statutory damages plus $100,000 in damages caused by the negligence. The court also awarded $368,755 in attorneys’ fees to Jarman. However, the trial court granted ManorCare’s motion to strike the punitive damages claim, agreeing that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding that the defendants had acted with malice, oppression or fraud. Jarman appealed the denial of punitive damages.
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