Jury Imposes $619M in Damages Against Nursing Home Chain
On Tuesday, a Humboldt County Superior Court jury imposed maximum damages totaling nearly $619 million against nursing home chain Skilled Healthcare in a class-action lawsuit over health code violations, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Southern California-based Skilled Healthcare is one of the largest nursing home chains in the country. It employs about 14,000 people and operates 78 nursing home facilities across seven states.
The class-action suit examined Skilled Healthcare's adherence to a California statute that requires 3.2 nursing hours per patient daily. The suit represented a group of about 32,000 patients and covered the years 2003 through 2009 (Drange, Contra Costa Times, 7/7).
The statutory damages reflect a $500 charge per patient each day that the 22 nursing facilities involved in the suit were in violation of the law (Eureka Times Standard, 7/6).
In addition to the statutory damages, the jury imposed an additional $58 million penalty on Skilled Healthcare for a violation of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act.
More Penalties To Come?
Next week, the jury will begin the second phase of the trial to determine whether to impose punitive damages on the nursing home chain.
Judge Bruce Watson also will decide whether the court should issue an injunction against Skilled Healthcare to require the organization to maintain state-mandated staffing levels.
Skilled Healthcare Response
An attorney for Skilled Healthcare said the nursing home chain remains confident that its facilities are well-staffed (Contra Costa Times, 7/7).Skilled Healthcare said it plans to consider various actions following the trial and would appeal the verdict if necessary (Nadgir, Reuters, 7/7). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.