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VOL. 133 | NO. 155 | Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Appeals Court Vacates $28M Judgment Against Local Nursing Home in Death of Resident

The Daily News

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The Tennessee Court of Appeals has vacated a $28 million judgment against the owners of a Memphis nursing home where a patient died after poor care, and a new hearing will determine the amount of punitive damages in the case.

In 2016, a Shelby County Circuit Court jury awarded $30 million in total damages against Memphis-based Allenbrooke Nursing and Rehabilitation Center LLC, its two owners, New York-based DTD HC LLC and D&N LLC, and Aurora Cares LLC, a company that provided administrative services to the nursing home.

The lawsuit was filed in 2010 by the family of Martha Jane Pierce, an 82-year-old year-old woman, who was in the Allenbrooke nursing home in 2008 and 2009.

The lawsuit states that Pierce, living in a shared room with her husband, developed pressure sores on her right foot. The sores became infected, leading to amputation and her leg in August, 2009. She died two months later on Oct. 11, 2009.

After a five-week trial in 2016, the jury found Allenbrooke and its owners liable for negligence, medical malpractice and violations of the Tennessee Adult Protection Act by a nursing home. The jury awarded the family $1.9 million in compensatory damages for negligence and $129,000 for violations of the protection act. The jury also awarded $28 million in punitive damages for a total of $30 million.

Allenbrooke represented by attorneys with Baker Donelson appealed the verdict.

On Monday, August 6, the state Court of Appeals vacated the jury’s verdict for punitive damages in the case.

“We reverse the jury’s decision finding material evidence to subject the nursing home’s parent companies and their members directly or vicariously liable in the case,” the court wrote in the appeal.

The court added, “Because the amount of punitive damages awarded by the jury appears to be largely predicated on the liability of the non-nursing home defendants, we vacate the award and remand for a new hearing solely as to the amount of punitive damages to be awarded.”

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