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Jury awards $1.1B in Polk nursing home case | News

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Jury awards $1.1B in Polk nursing home case
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Bartow, Florida -- On July 22, a Polk County jury awarded $1.1 billion in damages in a case of corporate corruption and misconduct that ultimately led to the death of a local woman.

A jury agreed that defendant, Trans Health Care, Inc. (THI), deserved to be punished for such severe corporate greed that it caused Arlene Townsend to suffer for years in a nursing home that was short-staffed and under-supplied. 

The jury awarded $110 million in compensatory damages and $1 billion in punitive damages siding with the Wilkes & McHugh, P.A. attorneys representing Townsend's son.

The case went beyond the nursing home's extreme negligence that resulted in Townsend's death and revealed its investors had conspired to run the nursing home chain into insolvency without any regard to residents' care.

Evidence showed the investors -- that included New York real estate investors; financiers General Electric Capital Corporation (a private bank) and Ventas, Inc. (a real estate investment firm); and multi-billion dollar Chicago private equity fund GTCR Golder Rauner, LLC -- set out to build their empire through a series of mergers and acquisitions with the ultimate goal of taking the company public, cashing out and making a lot of money.

Not one person on the Board of Directors was a health care official which resulted poor care for residents at some of their locations.

One of those locations was Auburndale Oaks where Arlene Townsend died after she received little to no care from staff which resulted in her death.

Townsend's son made the tough decision to move his mother into the nursing home after she suffered a stroke that required her to have 24-hour care.

Attorneys presented evidence at trial that showed she suffered 18 falls during her six years there -- one of which resulted in a hip fracture that went undiagnosed and untreated for a week. She also endured severe infections, including Clostridium difficile and celluitis, as well as chronic stomach pains with fecal impaction, skin tears, malnutrition and dehydration.

She died on Sept. 19, 2007, at 69 years old.

It was a tragic end to a woman's life who was a nurse and spent the latter part of her career tending to the needs of nursing home residents.

This is the fourth multi-million verdict Wilkes & McHugh has gotten against THI for this egregious behavior.

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