Results

The attorneys of Valentine Law Group have obtained millions of dollars in gross settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of their clients. In 2013 and 2014, Valentine Law Group settled multiple cases for six to seven figures against acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and  residential care facilities for events, including but not limited to, resident assaults, falls, bedsores, and the failures of staff to timely identify changes of condition in residents, such as sepsis, Clostridium difficile, malnutrition and dehydration.

The following are a small sampling of the many successful verdicts and settlements the attorneys of Valentine Law Group have achieved over the last several years on behalf of their clients:

Dependent Adult Abuse & Neglect

Defendant: Anaheim Behavior Treatment Center, Inc.
Settlement: $1,000,000.00
Venue: Orange County

The attorneys at Valentine Law Group obtained a settlement of $1,000,000.00 for the family of Anne Marie Freundt, a developmentally disabled adult, after she suffered a preventable death from choking.
As a dependent adult with mild mental retardation, Ms. Freundt received services from Anaheim Behavior Treatment Center (ABTC) who contracted with a day program in Orange County to provide one-to-one care for the developmentally disabled. Because Ms. Freundt had a documented history of over-filling her mouth with food, ABTC for that reason and others was to provide her with a 1:1 staffing ratio. Specifically, Individual Service Plan (ISP) interventions were put in place, particularly during meal times, to monitor Ms. Freundt and remind her to take small bites.

However, during a lunchtime outing, it was alleged that ABTC took its clients to a restaurant and, despite the requirement of 1:1 supervision, Ms. Freundt was not adequately monitored. It was alleged that Ms. Freundt choked, vomited and aspirated on food. Staff members accounts of the incident ranged from “she turned blue,” “if it were my child I would have called an ambulance,” to “she was having a temper tantrum.” Rather than immediately contacting emergency services, ABTC employees called their supervisor who had them drive Ms. Freundt over two miles back to ABTC’s office. Upon arrival at the office Ms. Freundt lost consciousness and collapsed. ABTC employees stated they attempted CPR, however emergency personnel documented that when they arrived, no CPR was in process and Ms. Freundt did not have a pulse. Despite a requirement that all care givers be CPR trained, and despite ABTC’s assertion of training, virtually none of the ABTC employees were able to describe how to conduct appropriate CPR when asked during deposition.

Finally, although hospital employees were able to revive Ms. Freundt, she had suffered irreversible brain damage due to the lack of oxygen. She unfortunately continued to deteriorate and died 5 days after this choking incident.

This was not the first instance of ABTC’s inability to appropriately respond to a choking incident. Only a few months prior, a jury found them 100% responsible for the death of a client who died while in their care and under similar circumstances.

Defendant: Community Hospital of Long Beach, Christopher Lai MD
Jury Verdict: $1,016,000.00
Venue: Long Beach

Kim Valentine represented the surviving children in a wrongful death action of an 88 year old man.  Milton Butterfield fell while living independently at home.  After a few days Mr. Butterfield’s family requested an ambulance take him to the emergency room at Community Hospital of Long Beach (CHLB) due to generalized weakness, back pain and dehydration. Mr. Butterfield was able to walk to the gurney when the ambulance arrived. He was evaluated in the ER by Dr. Christopher Lai.  After six hours in the ER, over the objection of Mr. Butterfield’s family, Dr. Lai discharged the patient. However Mr. Butterfields medical condition had deteriorated to the degree that he could no longer walk and in fact had to be drug from the gurney to the wheelchair for discharge. The LBCH nurse conducting the discharge was not the patient’s nurse and thus did no physical assessment of the patient. Mr. Butterfield was wheeled out to the parking lot where he went into cardiac arrest. According to hospital records there was a five minute delay between the time of the cardiac arrest and the time CPR began due to the need to bring Mr. Butterfield  back into the hospital and get him on a gurney. During that five minute period Mr Butterfield sustained irreversible brain damage which rendered him a complete invalid. He never regained any meaningful quality of life and died six months later from complications of being permanently bed bound.

Defendant: St. Edna Subacute and Rehabilitation Center (Skilled Nursing Facility)
Jury Verdict: $3,189,005.00
Venue: Orange County

Ms. Valentine and Ms. Turner obtained a multi-million dollar verdict for a woman who suffered a heart attack and brain damage as the result of a morphine overdose and subsequent neglect, all of which took place within 24 hours of admission.

Plaintiff was admitted to St. Edna Subacute and Rehabilitation Center for short-term recovery and rehabilitation following foot surgery performed by Wesley Kobayashi, DPM.

Upon her admission, Dr. Kobayashi negligently recommended 50 mgs of morphine via injection for plaintiff’s pain. A normal dose via injection is typically 3-5 milligrams. Despite the fact that staff members at St. Edna’s believed they were overdosing the plaintiff at the time they administered the morphine, they nevertheless provided plaintiff with a 30 mg dose of the drug, the total amount of morphine available in the facility. St. Edna’s then failed to monitor the plaintiff following the injection. Plaintiff was neglected for many hours, during which she was deprived of sufficient levels of oxygen, resulting in a heart attack and brain damage. Plaintiff spent the next year in recovery and suffered permanent injuries.

During the course of litigation, it was shown that the leadership at St. Edna’s knew they lacked sufficient numbers of qualified staff to meet the needs of their patients, and that the management and staff created fraudulent chart entries to conceal their neglect of the plaintiff.

Following a nearly two-month trial, an Orange County jury returned a verdict of Elder Abuse and Neglect against St. Edna’s, and also held that the facility was liable for punitive damages. The jury also held that the podiatrist who negligently recommended the morphine was 10% liable for the injuries.

A confidential settlement was reached among the parties following the jury verdict, and prior to the commencement of the punitive damage phase of trial.

Elder Abuse, Neglect & Wrongful Death

Defendant: Family Villa Home Care
Settlement: $985,000.00
Venue: Orange County

The lawyers of Valentine Law Group obtained a settlement of $985,000.00 for the family of 86 year old Edith Kirschner after her death following her residency at Family Villa Home Care, a residential care facility for the elderly.

Ms. Kirschner had dementia and, as her disease progressed, her children moved her to Family Villa Home Care. Her children visited countless facilities to find the perfect placement for their mother’s needs. It was alleged that despite Ms. Kirschner’s dementia, Administrator, Linda Bolivar, assured Ms. Kirschner’s children she had personal experience with dementia patients, her staff was sufficiently trained and reliable, and their mother would be provided ambulating assistance and supervision as required by her needs. Bolivar was aware of the extensive care Ms. Kirschner would require as she personally documented Ms. Kirschner as needing special observation and night supervision due to her confusion and wandering on the Preplacement Appraisal.

Thereafter, although facility was required by regulations to have night awake staff for the care of residents like Ms. Kirschner, the facility allegedly requested and charged Ms. Kirschner’s family an extra $800.00 monthly fee for additional “night awake staff” to enable Family Villa to provide Ms. Kirschner with the level of care she required. As such, Ms. Kirschner’s family had the understanding that Bolivar was providing night awake staff to supervise their mother based on the additional payments and indications from Bolivar, however allegedly no extra staff was in fact hired.

Not surprisingly, one evening when Ms. Kirschner should have had supervision and assistance, it was alleged that she was left alone and upon trying to get up unassisted she fell and fractured her hip. Contrary to the facility’s protocol, emergency services were not called until hours after her fall, and even then staff elected to call a private ambulance opposed to 911. It was further alleged, that prior to calling emergency assistance, Ms. Kirschner was transferred from the floor to a chair and onto her injured hip and then relocated again to her bed, all conduct against facility policy. Failure of Family Villa staff to follow protocol and policy is not surprising as during the course of litigation, counsel discovered a majority of staff, including Bolivar, had not completed training as required by Family Villa’s own plan of operation as well as California Law.

Unfortunately, Ms. Kirschner was not able to overcome her injuries, and died allegedly from complications arising from her mistreatment at Family Villa.

Defendant: Citrus Nursing Center (Skilled Nursing Facility)
Settlement: $800,000
Venue: San Bernardino County

Kim Valentine obtained a settlement of $800,000.00 for the children of a deceased 84-year-old resident of a nursing home in San Bernardino County.

It was alleged that decedent was admitted to a skilled nursing facility, Citrus Nursing Center, in 2005 for skilled nursing care following a number of strokes and congestive heart failure. In light of her condition, Citrus Nursing Center noted she was a fall risk, and mandated the use of a Hoyer Lift in order to transfer the decedent from her bed or wheelchair, and required the presence of two employees to assist with all transfers.

Despite these known risks, Citrus Nursing Center frequently transferred decedent without the assistance of two employees, and the family expressed concerns on a number of occasions. During the course of her residency, decedent suffered a number of unexplained injuries, as well as repeated urinary tract infections as the result of delayed call light response times.

Finally, a single certified nursing assistant, while attempting to transfer the decedent without assistance, dropped decedent on her head, resulting in her death nine days later from blunt force head injuries.

Dependent Adult Abuse & Neglect

Defendant: Rancho Specialty Hospital (Long Term Acute Care Hospital)
Settlement: $900,000.00
Venue: San Bernardino County

Ms. Valentine obtained a settlement of $900,000.00 for the mother of an adult child with psychological disorders following his admission to a Long Term Acute Care Hospital. It was alleged that during the course of the patient’s stay the facility, and as a result of their neglect of the plaintiff, he suffered numerous severe bedsores, one of which served as the entrance for a severe infection, MRSA, resulting in a blood infection and causing his death. During the course of litigation, counsel revealed that, among other things, the hospital was insufficiently staffed to meet the needs of their patients, and the Director of nursing admitted the nursing staff made mistakes in their treatment of the patient’s skin condition.

Medical Negligence

Defendant: Theodoros Daskalakis, M.D.
Jury Verdict: $200,003.00
Venue: Orange County

Ms. Valentine and Ms. Turner obtained a jury verdict in the amount of $200,003.00 for a young Orange County man who suffered serious injuries as the result of defendant’s negligence during the course of a laparoscopic removal of plaintiff’s gall bladder. During the course of the surgery, defendant severed the common bile duct and closed the patient without repairing the damage. As a result, bile fluid leaked into plaintiff’s abdominal cavity for several days, causing infection, severe pain and suffering, as well as severe and permanent scarring as the result of the necessary corrective procedures.

Elder Adult Abuse, Neglect & Wrongful Death

Defendant: Villa Valencia Healthcare Center (Skilled Nursing Facility)
Jury Verdict: $2,000,000.00 (includes $1,000,000.00 punitive damages award)
Venue: Orange County

Kim Valentine represented the Estate of Mary Kathleen Adams and her surviving children. Ms. Adams, who was 104-years old, was admitted to Villa Valencia Healthcare Center upon suffering a fractured leg for short-tem physical rehabilitation and planned to return home. During her admission, Ms. Adams subsequently developed pressure ulcers and was not given adequate treatment, such as daily skin checks. Mrs. Adams died as a result of the pressure ulcers, which due to her neglect, became infected.

Following a nearly two-month trial, where it was shown by Ms. Valentine that the facility had operated for extended periods of time without appropriate qualified management, including an administrator and nursing director, a jury returned a verdict of $1 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.

– This is only a partial list of verdicts and settlements.