There were lots of facts that led to the favorable result in my first nursing home neglect case which I tried in Union, South Carolina. First, the family “was good people.” Second, there were multiple examples of understaffing with harmful consequences at the South Carolina nursing home owned by a billion dollar corporation. Third, there were clear falsifications of records, like the flow care chart that indicated my client ate most of her three meals on days when she was not at the facility. (I am sure this provided more than a little of the motivation for the punitive damage award.) And, finally, we presented an honest case and did not ask for astronomical damages. After the case we presented, the jury knew the case was significant.
It was a lawsuit that changed my practice and changed me for the better. Of course, nursing home neglect is still prevalent in South Carolina as it is elsewhere, and people still suffer, pain still is under treated, if treated at all, and families are still left without an option for better care. Inadequate staffing and under training still play a large role. An unfortunately, what can be prevented on the front end, should be punished on the back end. Or else, nothing will ever change.
So, coming up on the decade anniversary of this case and my 18th year of being a South Carolina lawyer, I am thankful for the opportunity the family gave me to be their advocate.