A week or two ago a Bolivar County jury rendered a defense verdict in Grainer v. Cleveland Nursing and Rehab. Center. The case involved pressure sores and weight loss by the resident.

The jury consisted of six African-Americans, five whites and one Hispanic. Circuit Judge Johnnie E. Walls, Jr. presided in the case.

Brad Smith and Barry Ford with Baker Donelson in Jackson represented the nursing home. George ‘Boo’ Hollowell from Greenville represented the plaintiff.

My Take:

This commentary relates to nursing home cases and care in general in Mississippi and is not directed at Cleveland Nursing and Rehab.

If ten years ago you would have told Mississippi lawyers that nursing homes would soon be winning the majority of trials in cases tried before majority black juries, you would have been deemed a fool. But that’s where we are today.

The question of why nursing homes are winning most trials is an interesting one. The answer is a matter of opinion.

Each case must stand on its own. But there’s one thing I’ve noticed in ten years of screening, litigating and watching results from nursing home cases. In general, it’s the same nursing homes getting sued over and over. And it’s not the same lawyers suing those nursing homes.

Just in the Jackson metro area, there are a handful of nursing homes that generate almost all the lawsuits. There are many nursing homes that I’ve never heard anything bad about. Just the opposite, in fact. I’ve heard many stories from happy family members once they found a good nursing home.

What does that tell you–in general–about the resident care provided at the nursing homes that get repeatedly sued? And what does it mean that despite what it tells you, these nursing homes usually win their trials?

  • I think there are more reasons why Facility X gets repeatedly sued than that it’s a bad nursing home. And I don’t accept any implication (if intended) that unrelated incidents should be admissible evidence. If the nursing home neglected patients 1 through 29, but met the standard of care for patient 30, then patient 30 has no case.

  • PhilipThomas

    I was more talking about a few bad apples spoiling the bunch. Certainly not implying anything about evidence of other incidents.

    I think that for the most part, it’s just that they are bad nursing homes and deserve to get sued. Some of the repeat offenders have little or no insurance. Yet they are repeatedly sued anyway.

    Meanwhile, many nursing homes with adequate coverage hardly ever get sued. But I bet their insurance rates are higher because of all the lawsuits against the bad ones.

    The nursing home industry has something in common with lawyers. A few bad apples ruin the industry’s reputation for everyone.

  • Scott Bauer

    I’m curious. Without naming names can you discern common elements among the more profligate offenders/defendants (or non-offenders) with regard to patient makeup (elderly vs.long-term younger patients), payor (government vs. private ins.), geographic (region/county/jurisdiction), etc.