Virginia Supreme Court upholds nursing home verdict of $850,000

The Virginia Supreme Court recently affirmed an $850,000 verdict obtained by Jeff Downey in a nursing home case in Danville, Virginia. The case, Musgrove v. Medical Facilities of America Inc., involved pressures sores, an amputation, and death by dehydration, malnutrition and wound complications.

The Defendant asserted numerous assignments of error, many dealing with pertinent nursing home and/or malpractice issues. The Court denied the writ finding no reversible error in the judgment. Some of the issues included:

· Allowing recovery of both survivorship and wrongful death damages in the same cause of action;

· Allowing a medical expert to testify regarding nursing standards of care;

Allowing a nurse expert to testify regarding causation on pressure ulcers and other adverse outcomes;

Allowing a nurse who works part time clinically, and spends a majority of her time as a testifying expert to qualify under Virginia’s clinical practice requirement;

Allowing expert administrative testimony regarding nursing home staffing inadequacies; and

Allowng expert testimony regarding the significance of gaps in the chart.

Defendant filed some 25 motions in limine along with motions to limit expert testimony (on medical cause of death) and summary judgment on punitive damages.