Polk jury awards $1 billion in nursing home neglect case - WFLA News Channel 8

Polk jury awards $1 billion in nursing home neglect case

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Arlene Townsend pictured with her son, Gary Townsend Arlene Townsend pictured with her son, Gary Townsend

A jury in Polk County returned a judgment of more than $1 billion in a wrongful death lawsuit involving the death of a nursing home resident in 2007.

Arlene Townsend was a resident at Auburndale Oaks and died at age 69 after 17 falls, the last of which resulted in a hip fracture, said attorney Isaac Ruiz-Carus.

The lawsuit against nursing home company Trans Healthcare Inc. claimed the company was negligent in Townsend's death and operated without adequate staff or supplies. A six-member jury came back with a verdict awarding $110 million in damages for negligence, pain and suffering and $1 billion for punitive damages.

Ruiz-Caruz, one of the attorneys representing Townsend's estate, said the case was about "corporate fraud, corporate greed."

"It was an enterprise of a conglomerate that took over a nursing home in Polk County and looted the assets of the company, short-staffed it, under budgeted it, and as a result, the nursing home residents were suffering," he said. "Ms. Townsend was one of those nursing home residents that suffered and ultimately died as a result of those acts."

The nursing home and an attorney representing the company on the case did not return calls for comment on the case.

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