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In yet another case against former nursing home giant Trans Healthcare, Inc., Tampa law firm Wilkes & McHugh has obtained its fourth multi-million verdict, this one actually reaching $1.1 billion, including punitive damages, in Polk County Circuit Court. 2013 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 7568. Wilkes & McHugh attorneys Bennie Lazzara Jr., Joe Ficarrotta, and Isaac Ruiz-Carus argued that corporate greed and corruption ultimately led to the death of 69-year-old Arlene Townsend in 2007. Ms. Townsend had needed 24-hour care after suffering a stroke in 2001, and the facility at which she was cared for, Auburndale Oaks Healthcare Center, was then owned by Trans Healthcare. The allegations included multiple falls, infections, lacerations, fractures, and other injuries suffered by Ms. Townsend as a result of insufficient staffing and supplies. Plaintiff’s attorneys claimed that corporate investors conspired to financially drain the nursing home without regard to the care the residents were receiving.
The streak of massive judgments against Trans Healthcare started in 2010 with a $114 million verdict obtained by Wilkes & McHugh on behalf of Juanita Jackson’s estate. 2010 FL Jury Verdicts Rptr. LEXIS 406 (FL Jury Verdicts Rptr. 2010). In 2012, two other major verdicts were awarded, including $200 Million to the Estate of Elvira Nunziata, 2012 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 4583, and $900 Million to the Estate of Joseph Webb, 2012 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 1957.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Trans Health Management Inc. once owned over 200 homes in 22 states. A Chicago private equity firm and others had created it in 2002 to take over a large, bankrupt chain. But by 2005, Florida had revoked Trans Health's corporate status for failure to file annual reports. Nonetheless, Wilkes & McHugh is leading the charge to track down the underlying corporations/ investors, including GE Capital Corp., using forensic accountants and criminal tax investigators. Trans Healthcare allegedly continues operations through Fundamental Long Term Care, Inc., a shell corporation created by New York real estate magnate Rubin Schron, banker Murray Forman, and lawyer Leonard Grunstein. Litigation continues in state and federal courts in Florida, Maryland and Georgia.
For other recent Wilkes & McHugh nursing home cases, see 2012 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 20819 (Settlement – California), 1 Exp. Wit. 122666 ($340,000 Settlement – Pennsylvania), 2010 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 36157 ($42 Million Verdict – Kentucky), 2011 PA Jury Verdicts Review LEXIS 343 ($2.7 Million Verdict – Pennsylvania), 2010 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 29321 (3.1 Million Verdict – Florida). For other recent notable nursing home cases, see 2013 FL Jury Verdicts Review LEXIS 42 (FL Jury Verdicts Review 2013) ($1.67 Million Verdict – Florida), 2012 FL Jury Verdicts Review LEXIS 344 (FL Jury Verdicts Review 2012) ($1.77 Million Verdict – Florida) 2012 AL Civil Trial Rptr. LEXIS 193 (AL Civil Trial Rptr. 2012) ($2 Million Verdict – Alabama),
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