Prompt Action by Defense
Counsel Averts Temporary Injunction
[The following report shows how prompt action by defense counsel Christopher J. Karpinski, an attorney in QMPW’s Jacksonville office, helped a Jacksonville nursing home avert a Temporary Injunction sought by the Plaintiff. Since the lawsuit is still pending, we are unable to reveal the name of the nursing home client.]
On April 24, 2002, Judge Jean M. Johnson of the Fourth Judicial Circuit, denied Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion for Temporary Injunction, in which the Plaintiff, who continued to reside at the nursing home at the time the Motion was filed, asked the Court to issue an injunction against the nursing home ordering the facility to follow her physician’s orders in providing her care.
As part of her Motion, the Plaintiff alleged that the facility had not been providing medications and treatments to her in compliance with her physician’s orders. Specifically, she alleged that the facility was failing to administer prescribed medications and ointments which were ordered following surgery to correct corneal ulcers in both of her eyes. She alleged that if the facility was not forced by the Court to comply with her physician’s orders, she would suffer irreparable injury which potentially included loss of sight and surgical removal of her eyes.
In support of the Motion, Plaintiff attached an affidavit obtained from her treating ophthalmologist, who testified that he had prescribed a number of medications for the Plaintiff in order to help her heal from surgery. Some of the many medications and ointments that were ordered were to be administered as frequently as once every hour, 24 hours per day.
While never having visited the Plaintiff at the nursing home and clearly having no personal knowledge of the facility’s efforts to treat the Plaintiff, the ophthalmologist concluded that she was not being given her medications as ordered, based solely upon the fact that her eye condition deteriorated. Furthermore, the doctor testified that the Plaintiff would suffer irreparable injury to her eyes if she did not receive the appropriate medications.
The Plaintiff also attached an affidavit from her daughter in support of her Emergency Motion. Despite opining that her mother was receiving substandard care, the daughter made no apparent attempts to remove her mother from the facility. Also, while possessing no medical training and admittedly not spending much time with her mother while she was at the nursing home, the daughter stated that her mother was not being given the medications for her eyes as prescribed.
Christopher J. Karpinski, an attorney in QMPW’s Jacksonville office and counsel in the case, received Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion at 10:45 a.m. on April 22, 2002, and an emergency hearing was scheduled within 24 hours. At the hearing, Karpinski moved to disqualify both of Plaintiff’s supporting affidavits, based upon their lack of personal knowledge and failure to provide facts to support their asserted conclusions.
In addition to requesting an injunction which would have ordered the facility to follow Claimant’s physician’s orders, opposing counsel requested attorneys’ fees pursuant to Chapter 400.023 (2001), Florida Statutes. Although recent statutory revisions to Chapter 400 (Florida’s resident rights statute) removed attorney’s fees for civil actions against nursing homes, an exception was made in the law for actions in which a claimant requests an injunction or administrative relief.
After a day to consider the merits of the Motion, Judge Johnson issued an order denying the Motion.