Unsafe staffing costs a Florida facility $1 billion

From Trial Magazine, March 2014 issue:

Trial Magazine, 3/11/14


arlene townsend staffing award

Son Gary Townsend sued on behalf of his mother who had continuing falls in her nursing home due to poor staffing.

Arlene Townsend, 63 suffered a stroke and required 24-hour care. She was admitted to Auburndale Oaks Healthcare Center, a nursing home owned by Trans Healthcare, Inc. In the three years leading up to her death, Townsend suffered numerous fall resulting in broken bones and lacerations, infections, significant weight loss, chronic constipation, skin breakdowns, dehydration, and other problems. She is survived by her adult son.

Townsend’s estate sued Trans Healthcare, alleging that it had understaffed the nursing home to increase profits and failed to provide adequate care, including protecting Townsend from falls, ensuring a safe environment, and documenting changes to her condition.

The court entered a judgment of liability against the defendant, and the case proceeded to trial on damages.

The jury awarded $1.11 billion, including $1 billion in punitive damages. The award includes $25 million to Townsend’s son.

CITATION: Townsend v. Trans Healthcare, Inc. No. 53-2009-CA-001025 (Fla., Polk Co. Cir. July 22, 2013).

PLAINTIFF COUNSEL: AAJ members Isaac R. Ruiz-Carus and Bennie Lazzara Jr., both of Tampa.

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