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New Mexico jury awards $54 million in nursing home case

Posted on Jul 01, 2007

New Mexico jury awards $54 million in nursing home case A jury awarded $54 million to the family of a woman who died in a local nursing home. The jury said the nursing home was negligent. About $50 million is for punative damages. What do you think? It should have been more. It's about right. Why should anyone get that much money? See the results without voting ». Most recent Trib stories Officer launched over median in I-40 crash June 30, 2007 06:39:06 pm Texas residents go home June 30, 2007 09:04:06 am Troops' surgery is priority June 30, 2007 09:02:06 am Politician's husband guilty June 30, 2007 09:01:06 am Man accused of threats June 30, 2007 09:00:06 am No threats to U.S. June 30, 2007 08:59:06 am Dems want Guantanamo budget cuts June 30, 2007 08:58:06 am Airstrikes kill at least 30 June 30, 2007 08:57:06 am Agents find tunnel June 30, 2007 08:56:06 am WWII bombs necessary? June 30, 2007 08:54:06 am MORE LOCAL Officer launched over median in I-40 crash Flags to be lowered for N.M. soldier Two die in wreck in Tijeras Canyon STORY TOOLS E-mail story Comments iPod friendly Printer friendly SHARE THIS STORY [?] The $54 million she will receive is secondary to Lori Keith as she celebrates success in the wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of her deceased mother. Keith was awarded the compensatory and punitive damages on June 28 in Albuquerque as a state District Court jury ruled ManorCare Inc., a nursing home corporation out of Toledo, Ohio, so neglected her mother in 2004 that the 78-year-old woman died. At the time of her death, Barbara Barber was due to leave the ManorCare Camino Vista facility at 7900 Constitution Ave. N.E. within a week to stay with family, Keith said. So when a phone call came about Barber's death, Keith said she knew something was wrong. According to the lawsuit she filed with local attorney Carl Bettinger, the nursing home tried to cover up the death by taking away sheets and other items in the room. All Keith said she wanted from the lawsuit was the corporation's admission of guilt, some final stamp of justice on her mother's death. "It's a pretty nasty process, the whole thing, but I stuck with it. I had wonderful attorneys that stuck by me," Keith said. "Yesterday was really gratifying to hear those words." The corporation was responsible for the death, jurors decided, and they said the corporation owed Barber's family for it — possibly with one of the biggest settlements in state history. ManorCare issued a prepared statement the afternoon of June 29, saying the company was "disappointed in the jury's findings." "We extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Mrs. Barber. The company is very sympathetic with the struggles Mrs. Barber had with her health prior to her death. However, we deny any negligence in this case and feel our care for Mrs. Barber was appropriate. Unfortunately, illness and deterioration of health in an elderly patient can occur despite appropriate care." The company declined to comment on specific details of the litigation. ManorCare no longer operates nursing homes in New Mexico after selling its last three homes in 2005, the company said. Keith said the money is secondary to the relief that comes with closure, although she expects the corporation to appeal the findings. "I just want to grieve now for my mom. I haven't really been able to do that," Keith said. Keith, her husband and two children plan to travel to Colorado soon to visit her mother's twin brother, who they just learned has received a cancer diagnosis and has about three months to live.

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