On Friday a Bolivar County jury rendered a unanimous defense verdict in favor of Cleveland Nursing & Rehab Center and Tara Cares. The nursing home is part of the Tara Cares system, which is a national nursing home management company.
The trial involved a stage IV pressure sore suffered by a long time resident of the nursing home. The case was tried before an all African-American jury.
Gail Aiken of Clinton and Donna Hodges of Ridgeland represented the plaintiff. Brad Smith, La’Verne Edney and Clay Gunn of Baker Donelson in Jackson represented the defendants.
This was a huge defense win. Conventional wisdom is that nursing home pressure sore cases are hard for defendants to win. This is probably because pressure sores are usually preventable and nursing homes historically have not enjoyed the same jury bias that works in favor of doctors in medical malpractice cases.
Nursing homes have won a lot of defense verdicts in Mississippi in the last few years with Wilkins Tipton and Baker Donelson both winning multiple trials representing nursing homes.
Following the win, Brad Smith sent a firm-wide email announcing that until further notice, all Baker Donelson employees should greet him with "You Da Man." The exception is firm associates, who are to greet him as "Mister…..You Da Man." [Note: There wasn’t really an email. This paragraph was a joke aimed at Brad Smith, who I worked with at Baker Donelson from 1997-2002.].