Massive $7,500,000 Jury Award for Rape Victim in Pennsylvania Nursing Home
A Lancaster County jury awarded in excess of $7 million to the family of a female nursing home resident that was raped inside the facility by another resident. Our Philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyer analyzes these horrific case facts, as well as the large plaintiff’s verdict, in this nursing home rape lawsuit.
Case Facts in McLaughlin vs. Maple Farm Nursing Home
Dorothy B. was an 82 year old resident of Maple Farm Nursing Center, located at 604 Oak St, Akron, PA 17501. Ms. Dorothy was a vulnerable resident, unable to defend herself from assaults and attacks. She was, as a resident of the facility, dependent on Maple Farm staff to protect her from assault.
Glenn H. was a 65 year old resident, also residing in Maple Farm nursing home. Glenn H. had a history of criminal sexual behavior and was a registered sex offender. Despite this, Glenn was allowed to be admitted to Maple Farm Nursing Home and reside amongst its vulnerable residents.
Mr. H sexually assaulted Dorothy B. inside the Akron nursing home. The assault was confirmed and Glenn H. pleaded guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. He received a twenty year prison sentence for this nursing home rape.
The Subsequent Civil Lawsuit Filed Against Maple Farm Nursing Center
Dorothy B. sadly did not live long enough to see her day in court. However, Dorothy’s family continued to fight for justice to right the wrongs she suffered inside the facility.
The attack happened in 2013. The civil claim was filed in 2014. In May of 2018, the matter went to trial in the Court of Common Pleas of Pennsylvania, Second Judicial District of Lancaster County. The trial was heard before the Honorable Judge Leonard Brown III.
In the lawsuit filed against Maple Farm Nursing Center, the plaintiffs alleged that the nursing home negligently allowed a sexual predator to reside in the facility, and failed to keep Glenn H. from raping Dorothy B.
The Litigation of the Assault Case
During litigation, plaintiff’s counsel tried to depose a Maple Farm staff member who reported the sexual assault to the Lancaster County Office of Aging. The defense counsel opposed this attempt, since these reports are privileged under the Older Adults Protective Services Act. The issue was heard at the trial court level, where a panel decided that the act did not prevent nurses who report abuse to the state from testifying in a nursing home abuse civil claim. This issue was appealed up to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where it was denied and the the trial court’s ruling remained.
Jury Verdict of $7.5 Million
During the trial, the plaintiff referenced Mr. H’s prior sexual misconduct, and that Maple Farm Nursing Center knew, or should have known, of this violent sexual past. Allegedly, Mr. H threatened a Maple Farm staff member and had documented run in’s with the elderly plaintiff before the rape. Despite these red flags, staff and management allowed Mr. H to be in a room alone with Dorothy.
This case was bifurcated. That means, portions of the trial were separated (liability, damages, and punitive damages). After a couple of weeks during trial, the jury only took four hours to return a liability finding against the nursing home. The jury awarded the plaintiff a whopping $7.5 million in compensatory damages.
Settlement After Trial
After returning a $7.5 million compensatory award, but before the jury could award punitive damages, the parties agreed to settle the matter for $6.75 million.
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*Each case is different. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome or indicate an expected outcome on your particular case. The above prior verdict or settlement information is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney. You should consult with an attorney if you believe you might have a case. This individual verdict or settlement information above is based on available jury verdict research, and not the opinion of this law firm. This information, verdict or settlement are not the work of this law firm. The contents of this website should not be construed as legal advice on any specific fact or circumstance. Your receipt of such information does not create an attorney-client relationship with this law firm or any of its lawyers. You should not act or rely on any of the information contained herein without seeking professional legal advice. Speak with an attorney immediately if you believe you have a viable case against a nursing home, assisted living facility or medical facility.