A jury in Polk County, Fla., needed just over an hour to reach its verdict that awarded $1.2 billion in damages against a nursing home accused on negligence.
The case was brought by the family of Arlene Townsend, who died after repeatedly falling while staying at Auburndale Oaks Healthcare Center.
The massive sum, which includes more than $1 billion in punitive damages and $110 million in compensation for Mrs. Townsend's son, Gary, was awarded after the six-person jury was asked to determine damages, not liability, according to the Lakeland Ledger.
“He is grateful that the jury saw the value of his mother's life,” Bennie Lazzara Jr., who represented Mr. Townsend, said. “To him, she was a treasure. The jury valued her the same way.”
The lawsuit was first filed back in 2009, and focused on the care Mrs. Townsend received at the home, where she lived from 2004 until her death in 2007 at the age of 69.
Trans Healthcare Inc. and Trans Healthcare Management were listed as defendants in the lawsuit, My Fox Tampa Bay reported.
It was claimed that Mrs. Townsend fell repeatedly while at the nursing home and had not been supervised properly, according to The Ledger.
Mrs. Townsend fell 17 times while living at the nursing home, resulting in a hip fracture on the last occasion. According to the lawsuit, she was left in bed for days before being taken to hospital.
Mrs. Townsend's case was allegedly the fourth brought against the company.
Now the question becomes how much of the judgment, if any, will be recovered by the plaintiff.