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Understaffing, Failure to Provide Adequate Care

Trial Magazine, 3/11/14


Arlene Townsend, 63 suffered a stroke and required 24-hour care. She was admitted to Auburndale Oaks Healthcare Center, a nursing home owned by Trans Healthcare, Inc. In the three years leading up to her death, Townsend suffered numerous fall resulting in broken bones and lacerations, infections, significant weight loss, chronic constipation, skin breakdowns, dehydration, and other problems. She is survived by her adult son.

Townsend’s estate sued Trans Healthcare, alleging that it had understaffed the nursing home to increase profits and failed to provide adequate care, including protecting Townsend from falls, ensuring a safe environment, and documenting changes to her condition.

The court entered a judgment of liability against the defendant, and the case proceeded to trial on damages.

The jury awarded $1.11 billion, including $1 billion in punitive damages. The award includes $25 million to Townsend’s son.

CITATION: Townsend v. Trans Healthcare, Inc. No. 53-2009-CA-001025 (Fla., Polk Co. Cir. July 22, 2013).

PLAINTIFF COUNSEL: AAJ members Isaac R. Ruiz-Carus and Bennie Lazzara Jr., both of Tampa.


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