A local nursing home must pay more than $2 million in damages for gross negligence and failure to provide proper care to a 92-year-old woman with dementia, jurors ruled Friday.
After about three hours of deliberation following a week-long civil trial, jurors found Superior Care Home at fault in the case of the late Mary Opal Moore, who resided there for just over three months in 2014 and 2015.
According to the complaint in the lawsuit, Moore moved into the Paducah nursing home in December 2014, did not receive adequate care while she was there, and was kicked out of the home in March without adequate justification.
Moore died less than a month later, and her family claimed in the suit that the actions of the nursing home hastened her physical and mental decline, directly leading to her death.
Louisville attorney Tad Thomas, who represented Moore's family, said the family decided to take Moore to the home -- even at a $9,000-plus per month cost -- due in part to advertisements at the time regarding a brand new memory care facility there.
"They were advertising they had specialists who knew how to care for people with dementia and Alzheimer's," Thomas said Friday after the trial's conclusion.
But he said some of the care they should have been providing Moore was not being completed, including psychological consultations regarding her agitation.
The complaint also accused the home of kicking Moore out of the facility due to her upcoming change from a self-paying patient to a Medicaid patient.
"She was needing more care, and at the same time the facility was going to make a lot less money," Thomas said.
Moore's son, John Moore, said after the verdict he was pleased with the decision awarding $1,625,000 in punitive damages and more than $580,000 in compensatory damages for pain and suffering, along with incurred medical expenses. "Today justice was done in McCracken County," he said, thanking the jury and the judge.
Paducah attorney Eddie Jones, who represented the nursing home and its owners Helen Sims and Michael Sims, said expert witnesses testified the nursing home provided "exceptional care," and also disputed the idea that Moore was kicked out due to her Medicaid status.
Jones said the home helped Moore in her application for Medicaid, the bed stayed open for some time after Moore had left, and that rather than kicking Moore out, the facility was attempting to transfer her to another facility's geriatric unit with her doctor's agreement.
Jones said he expects post-trial litigation in the case, including the possibility of an appeal, because the alleged treatment "wasn't supported by the evidence at all."
"I respect the justice system, but every now and then they get one wrong, and this is that time they got one wrong," Jones said.
Thomas said he and the family were "very grateful to the jury who gave us a fair trial, and justice was served."
"We're very happy that Opal's memory will be one of justice," he said.
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