$5 Million Awarded in Nursing Home Lawsuit

A family that sued the nursing home for the wrongful death of their mother received $5 million for their loss.

The jury in the case of a 90-year-old woman with dementia who died after escaping the McKinleyville facility where she was staying awarded her family $5 million in damages on January 18th.

Marjorie Fitzpatrick’s adult daughters Kathleen Hermann, Valarie Monschke, and Paula Flannery received the verdict from the jury at the Humboldt County Courthouse. Timber Ridge Assisted Living will pay, barring any appeals, $2.1 million dollars for wrongful death, $400,000 for elder abuse, and $2.5 million in punitive damages.

According to the plaintiff’s attorney Tim Needham, Fitzpatrick died in October of 2013, one month after she escaped the nursing home.

Fitzpatrick, who suffered from severe dementia, walked outside and was alone for about 45 minutes before nursing home staff realized she was missing. During the time she was missing, she fell and broke her wrist along with some bones in her face. Doctors later discovered that she also suffered from bleeding in her brain.

Matters worsened after Fitzpatrick died.

The family stated that the nursing home led a “cover-up” to prevent the exact circumstances of Fitzpatrick’s death becoming known to family members. A maintenance worker who did not wish to be identified later tipped off the family about their mother’s disappearance.

Fitzpatrick entered the nursing home in 2012. At the time, she required regular attention from a registered nurse and took an anti-anxiety medication. Timber Ridge did not have a regular nurse at the facility and did not provide her with her medication.

The facility did not comment on the case but stated that they are working on making changes to correct the mistakes made in the care of Fitzpatrick.

If you believe that you or a loved one have been the victim of elder abuse or neglect, contact the law offices of Schenk Smith. Our attorneys specialize in nursing home abuse and neglect and may be able to help you. Call us today.