FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2005
George F. Quintairos, Managing Partner – Litigation
(305) 670-1101 ext. 119
WEST PALM BEACH JURY RETURNS DEFENSE VERDICT IN ALF CASE
June 30, 2005 (WEST PALM BEACH, FL) − A West Palm Beach jury returned a Defense Verdict in favor of Homewood Residence of Delray Beach in a case involving serious injuries sustained by an elderly lady who slipped and fell in one of the facility’s public bathrooms. The Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. (QPWB) trial team of Peter Molinelli (Tampa) and Jeffrey Creasman (Miami) tried the case to conclusion before Judge David Crow. A jury of three men and three women deliberated just over 50 minutes before returning their verdict for Homewood Residence, an assisted living facility owned by American Retirement Corporation. This marks the fifth consecutive Defense Verdict achieved by the QPWB trial teams in just over the past six months.
The case arose from an incident on July 8, 2002 when the Plaintiff, Yolanda Favazzi, slipped and fell in a facility bathroom on an unknown substance sustaining a fracture to her right humerus, a severe rotator cuff tear and shoulder separation. Mrs. Favazzi’s injuries required two separate surgeries, including a partial shoulder replacement, and despite undergoing extensive rehabilitation, she could not return to work at the facility’s beauty salon. Consequently, in addition to the significant claim for pain and suffering, the Plaintiff sought damages in excess of $92,000 for medical expenses and $60,000 for lost wages.
Homewood did not have any records evidencing the bathroom was cleaned on the day of the incident; however, they were able to elicit testimony from the Plaintiff herself establishing that Homewood’s staff periodically safety-checked the bathroom.
The firm has seen an increase in the number of cases being filed against assisted living facility operators during the past several years. Molinelli, a Partner in QPWB’s Tampa office, and Homewood’s lead trial counsel, blames the increase of litigation aimed at assisted living facilities (ALFs) on the perception of the Plaintiff’s bar. “The perception is that ALFs are easy targets with insurance money fearful of taking the matter before a jury,” states Molinelli. Creasman, a Partner in the firm’s Miami office who tried the case with Molinelli agrees, stating that, “if the ALF industry chooses to pay inflated settlement demands rather than aggressively defending and trying these cases, they may find themselves in much the same crises as the nursing home industry.”