FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1, 2020
Contact:Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023
QPWB OBTAINS A DEFENSE VERDICT FOR ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY,
ESTABLISHING ITSELF AS A NATIONAL LEADER IN VIRTUAL TRIAL APPROACH
Resident Rights / Fraud / Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices
LEE COUNTY, Fla. – Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., trial attorneys Robin N. Khanal (Orlando) and Philip J. Kantor (Ft. Lauderdale) obtained a defense verdict for the nation’s largest assisted living provider. The virtual trial is one of the first assisted living trials in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Parties waived their right to have the case decided by a jury and tried it as a bench trial via Zoom. Khanal and Kantor utilized innovative technology during their opening statement, presentation of evidence and impeachment of witnesses with transcripts, throughout the Zoom platform.
The residency at issue spanned between June 2014 and April 2016. During this time, Plaintiff claimed the assisted living facility committed fraud and violated the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act by not moving him to a smaller, less-expensive room as his sons had requested on several occasions.
Plaintiff also claimed his statutory resident’s rights to dignity and to live in a safe and decent environment, free from abuse and neglect, were violated.
To support his case, Plaintiff called the former Director of Sales and Marketing for the assisted living facility and two sons of the resident. Through their testimony, Plaintiff attempted to prove multiple requests were made for a smaller, less expensive room, which was denied by facility management. The sons also testified about observations they made that evidenced negligence by failing to provide food, transportation services and leaving the resident in soiled clothing.
In defense of the allegations, the assisted living facility called the former Executive Director and District Director of Operations. Both testified that if a family requested a smaller, less-expensive room, and there was availability, it was the company’s policy to satisfy the request. If this could not be accomplished at the facility level, the family would be given options at a sister facility. Additional evidence was presented to prove a nearly 100% occupancy rate and that grievances specific to the Plaintiff were addressed during the two-year residency. Finally, both witnesses indicated allegations of abuse and neglect are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated as their top priority was to provide a dignified living space for residents.
At the conclusion of the trial, the Judge issued a six-page Final Judgment finding for the assisted living facility on all counts. The Judge found the testimony of Plaintiff’s witnesses to be conflicting with other evidence in the case and without credibility.
“Tactful preparation in advance of this virtual trial was key to our success,” said Khanal. “In impeaching witnesses with their prior testimony, we, as the Defense, had to not only be skilled in utilizing the technology, but in utilizing it fast. Otherwise, we could have risked losing the patience of the Court. You have to have honed skills with this technology to adequately, effectively and quickly represent your client.
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Khanal focuses his practice on complex personal injury defense, mainly in the areas of medical malpractice, nursing homes and assisted living. Kantor, experienced in complex commercial litigation, focuses on intellectual property, cable television, franchise compliance and general business transactional matters.
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is the largest minority and women owned law firm in the nation with 24 offices in the U.S. and abroad across a spectrum of industries in over 40 areas of practice. Our lawyers provide representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law.