A former nursing home owner is being held personally responsible to pay $1.6 million after a court found he tried to transfer money from the facility’s bank accounts to avoid payment of previous court judgments handed down for abuse of residents.
According to media reports of the case, one of the earlier judgments against his facility was for $1.21 million, and was to go to three daughters, the surviving family members of a woman who had been abused at his nursing home in Oklahoma. The women had sued the owner for mental and physical abuse.
That abuse, which was captured on video, showed staff at the nursing home stuffing a rubber glove into the elderly woman’s mouth, slapping her about the head and face, forcefully throwing her down on to the bed and hitting her on the chest.
Her daughters had suspected their mother was being improperly treated, but she was unable to tell them what, if anything, was wrong. Her daughters then decided to place a hidden camera in their mother’s room. That’s when they captured concrete evidence of the nursing home abuse.
The video was taken in April 2012. The woman died at age 96 just three months later.
In February 2015, a federal jury in Oklahoma City sided with plaintiffs in the case, ordering the nursing home and its management company to pay damages to the family.
Of the case, one of plaintiffs told a news reporter it was never about money for them. “We just wanted him and the nursing home to pay their dues.”
Another judgment involving this same nursing home was for nearly $350,000 to the son of a woman who died at the facility. He was successful in filing a wrongful death claim. His mother had choked to death after staff at the center reportedly fed her food she was not able to swallow. She had been on a strict, specialized diet because of her inability to swallow well.
The woman died at age 86 in 2006.
But the plaintiffs in these cases had yet to collect a dime. That was largely because the owner, according to the findings of a federal jury, squirreled away $4 million from nursing home coffers and transferred them into out-of-state bank accounts controlled solely by him. This was money that should have gone toward paying judgments.
The nursing home was sold in 2012. At that time, he received about $2.85 million in net proceeds plus another $1.15 million in reimbursements or accounts receivable.
All this money went to his personal accounts, and he claimed he had nothing with which to pay these families.
The owner insisted that he had handled the nursing home sale and the proceeds form it in good faith. However, jurors disagreed, and ordered him to personally pay $1.6 million.
But now that the family has this judgment in hand, it will still probably need to work with attorneys in Texas – where defendant’s other bank accounts are – to locate defendant’s assets and work to collect the debt.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Federal jury returns $1.6M judgement against Oklahoma City nursing home’s former owner, Jan. 29, 2016, By Kyle Schwab, NewsOk.com
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Nursing Home Lawsuit After Elderly Man Wanders, Dies in Dumpster, Feb. 2, 2016, Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog