Jury Sends a Message

The Verdict

The Sacramento Bee reported on jury verdicts totaling more than $30 million against the owners of Pine Creek Care Center nursing home for horrific neglect. Sam Rios Jr. spent two weeks at the nursing home but developed pressure injuries which caused his wrongful death. The jury’s verdict of $5.9 million is to compensate. The $25 million verdict for punitive damages is to deter similar conduct.  The nursing chain had a “profit-at-all-costs” attitude while doing harm to seniors in its care.

A lawsuit against Pine Creek Care Center and various corporate entities led to the verdict after a 79-day trial. Attorney Ed Dudensing represented the family.

“In just two weeks, Plum staff’s utter neglect of Mr. Rios ruined his life, left him in constant agony, and ultimately helped lead to his death,” said attorney Ed Dudensing. “When nursing facilities understaff to drive profits, it costs people their lives, but Plum Healthcare was more concerned with impressing investors than saving lives.”

The Rios family sued Pine Creek and a number of other corporate entities, including owner Plum Healthcare Group. Dudensing argued that the nursing home and its owners prioritized profits over patient care and cut staffing until conditions were unsafe for residents.

“We hope and pray that both the nursing home and the private equity industries will receive the message sent by the jury that it is simply wrong to prioritize profits over patient care.”

No Oversight

Carole Herman is the founder and president of Sacramento’s Foundation Aiding the Elderly. She filed a complaint against Pine Creek with the state Department of Public Health over Rios’ treatment in 2018. He suffered numerous falls, developed pressure sores and was not cared for properly.

She said DPH “unsubstantiated” her complaint. Her appeals failed.

“To me, it’s unfortunate that the consumers have to go to legal action in order for these facilities to be held accountable when DPH should have sanctioned this facility back in 2018 and they did not do it,” Herman said. “The consumers should not have to be filing lawsuits against the industry. The failure of DPH to hold these facilities accountable is why these people are suing.”