CLASS ACTION NURSING HOME SUIT
Arkansas Supreme Court upholds prior ruling to allow a class action lawsuit againt nursing home owned by Beverly Healthcare (who owns/owned nursing homes across the United States, including Virginia). Read the latest here:
“On May 1, 2006, Harkey granted class-action certification to the suit with respect to claims of statutory and contractual violations only, not claims of malpractice or personal injury. The defendants appealed that ruling.In oral arguments before the Supreme Court last week, Little Rock attorney Sam Jones argued against class-action certification, saying it would be impossible to examine the issues in the case and, if necessary, determine appropriate damages without considering each plaintiff separately.
“You’re not going to have uniformity,” Jones told the justices. “You’re not going to have homogeneity. You’re going to have a mixed bag.”Attorney Philip Bohrer of Baton Rouge, La., argued the case did not include personal injury claims, but rather claims involving issues such as understaffing which would have affected all residents of the facility. Granting class-action status was preferable to “having 400 individual trials on the same issue and the same evidence,” he said. Bohrer also said many of the plaintiffs are elderly and unaware of their rights and would not be able to file individual claims against the company. In its decision Thursday, the Supreme Court said the plaintiffs showed the case met the criteria for class-action certification. The justices agreed with Harkey the defendants would benefit from class-action status.”A class action is clearly a more efficient way of handling a case where there is a predominating, common issue to be resolved for all 489 class members. A class action is also fair to both sides in this case, as it is a vehicle for all class members to have their claims heard, and Beverly will not have to defend against the same assertion of liability in a multitude of different lawsuits,” Justice Robert Brown wrote.
Article By John Lyon