A Sacramento Superior Court jury recently awarded $28 million in punitive damages to the family of an elder abuse victim. Earlier this week, the jury returned a $1.1 million dollar verdict for the decedent’s conscious pain and suffering and found the facility, Colonial Healthcare of Auburn, to have acted with “malice” as defined under the CA Elder Abuse statute. Frances Tanner was 79 when she died. Plaintiffs claim that the cause of her death was an infected bedsore.
The jury on Wednesday found Colonial Healthcare of Auburn and its parent company, Horizon West of Rocklin, guilty of elder abuse in the death of Frances Tanner, 79, a Stockton native and lifelong civil servant. They heard testimony about the corporation’s finances today before deciding punitive damages.
Sacramento lawyer Ed Dudensing, who represented Tanner’s daughter Elizabeth Pao in the case, urged jurors to make sure that Horizon paid dearly for the lapses that he argued led to Tanner’s death. Plaintiffs contended that the nursing home corporation made profits their priority as opposed to quality patient care. The nursing home claimed that appropriate care was provided to Ms. Tanner. Representatives of Colonial Healthcare have vowed to appeal the verdicts.
Jury hits Auburn nursing home with $28 million in punitive damages, Modesto Bee, Cynthia Hubert, May 13, 2010.