An Arizona jury awarded a verdict of $11 million last month to the widow of a 36-year-old man with traumatic brain injury. The man died after ingesting foreign objects while in the care of Liberty Manor Residency, a Phoenix assisted living facility. The verdict included $2 million for the estate of the decedent, $5 million for his wife and $4 million in punitive damages. This was the largest verdict ever awarded against an assisted living facility in the United States. The widow, Lydia Scherrer, had this to say: “I want this to be a lasting victory for all individuals with TBI or other disabilities living in assisted living centers or group homes.”
Lydia Scherrer, represented by Craig Knapp, of the Scottsdale law firm of Knapp & Roberts, filed suit against Liberty Manor for abuse and neglect. In the wrongful death action punitive damages were sought. At trial, it came to light that Liberty Manor made numerous false entries in its charts with respect to Mr. Scherrer’s care, including notations of care on days when his wife had checked him out of the facility. Mrs. Scherrer, after the verdict, said she hoped that the verdict will force the assisted living facility industry to set and meet higher standards of care for their residents, resulting in enhanced protections for the defenseless individuals trusted to the care of others.
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