Jury Awards 71 Year Old Woman $7.75M In Horrific California Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

A Ventura County California jury awarded a 71 year old nursing home patient $7.75 million in damages after a Fillmore Convalescent Center employee repeatedly abused her. Five million dollars of that award consisted of punitive damages against the Fillmore California nursing home facility which failed to investigate the allegations or settle the matter – much to its detriment.

California nursing home abuse

This California nursing home abuse lawsuit involves an elderly stroke victim who endured serious physical and emotional abuse. According to the Ventura County Star, 71 year old Maria Arellano was a resident at the Fillmore Convalescent Center. Her family suspected that she may have been abused after finding a bruises on her during a visit. They reported what they found to nursing home staff, but no investigation was ever conducted. So, the family took matters into their own hands and set up a video recorder to see what was happening to their loved one when they weren't around – and what they saw shocked them.

The Star reported that the video showed nursing home employee, Monica Garcia, “slapping Arellano, pulling her by the hair, bending her neck, fingers and wrists and treating her violently in a shower chair.” Garcia was criminally charged, the State of California fined the center for the abuse and Arellano's family filed an elder care abuse lawsuit against the nursing home facility. Under those circumstances, you would think that the center would have wanted to settle the matter, but that wasn't the case at all.

Family seeks justice

The family offered to settle the lawsuit out of court for $500,000, but the center refused to deal with them. Seeking justice, they took the matter to court where a jury awarded them $7.75 million – $2.75 million in actual damages and $5 million in punitive damages to punish the facility for its actions and inactions. That money will be used to transfer Arellano to a different, and better, facility.

The family's Ventura California nursing home abuse attorney posted a comment on the Star's blog, saying:

What I want people to understand is this was NEVER about money. The Nursing home … refused to admit they had done the slightest thing wrong, even after the State of California issued a Citation for the abuse. We offered to settle for $500,000, but keep in mind that that was the opening offer, and they refused to negotiate. Despite this, they told the jury to keep the verdict low because it might impact care at the facility! … A very sad case, but a great day for nursing home patients all over California, who will get a little extra attention now. THAT IS what this case was about.

The foregoing article has been prepared by an attorney who is a regular contributor to FreeAdvice, and is now undergoing review by the site's editorial staff.