A Pennsylvania nursing home sexual assault jury returned its verdict against a Pennsylvania nursing home in the amount of $7.5 million in compensatory damages after four hours of jury deliberations following a nearly two-week trial. The May 3, 2018 verdict assigned 85% responsibility to the defendant nursing home and its parent corporate owner.
Because the Pennsylvania nursing home sexual assault jury determined that the defendants acted with reckless indifference in failing to prevent the January 2013 sexual assault on the 82-year-old resident, the defendants faced a separate trial on the issue of punitive damages. The parties agreed to resolve the entire nursing home sexual assault claims for $6.75 million after the jury’s compensatory damages verdict but before the jury returned to deliberate on the punitives damages issue.
The resident’s family alleged that the elderly woman, who had worsening dementia, was sexually assaulted while a resident of the defendants’ Pennsylvania nursing home by another resident, who was twenty years younger than her. The perpetrator had reportedly been previously convicted of rape and was a registered sex offender. He allegedly targeted the elderly woman due to her diminshed mental capacity. He subsequently pleaded guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and received a prison sentence of eight to twenty years.
The plaintiff alleged that the defendants knew that the perpetrator had previously threatened to rape a nursing home staff member and that the staff had raised concerns about the perpetrator’s sexually aggressive behavior towards the elderly woman before the sexual assault occurred. The defendants allegedly were aware of the relationship between the two and knew that the elderly woman was incapable of consenting to a sexual relationship but nonetheless told the Pennsylvania nursing home sexual assault jury that they thought that the perpetrator was incapable of forcing himself or hurting the elderly woman (the perpetrator had cerebral palsy).
The Pennsylvania nursing home sexual assault complaint alleged that the defendants failed to follow their own policy that did not allow the two residents to be unsupervised together, and alleged further nursing home negligence because the woman had fallen over 20 times during her stay at the defendants’ nursing home.
Nursing homes are supposed to be places of safety and care for elderly and disabled individuals who may need long-term care or short-term rehabilitation services. Most nursing home residents are vulnerable adults who must rely on nursing home staff to provide them with timely and appropriate care for their daily needs.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in Pennsylvania or in another U.S. state due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, nursing home under-staffing, a nursing home fall, nursing home elopement, nursing home sexual assault, or nursing home resident on resident assault, you should promptly find a nursing home claim lawyer in Pennsylvania or in your U.S. state who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf or behalf of your loved one, if appropriate.
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