Criminal conviction stands for neglect in group home

In November of last year a Southside Virginia group home operator was convicted and sentenced for criminal abuse and neglect for failing to obtain sufficient medical care for an injured group home resident.

The Court of Appeals in Virginia, has just upheld the court’s conviction.

Often we will receive calls from family members whose loved ones have clearly been abused or neglected in nursing homes and other group homes. We sometimes file civil suits alleging the negligence of the company and their employees caused death and permanent injury to the patients. Sometimes, the facilities will admit fault while most often they deny any wrongdoing.

The prosecution and conviction of the group home operator in Martinsville may be the first of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia. When families ask me if there are criminal charges that can be filed related to their loved ones abuse, I encourage them to call the local Commonwealth Attorney, but in ten years I know of only 1 case (other than this one) where charges were filed, and no conviction.

What do you think about holding care providers responsible in criminal court?

Is over medicating a patient criminal? Should it be? Is allowing a dementia patient to escape a facility and freeze to death criminal? Should it be? Is dropping a vulnerable patient from a lift assault, or battery, and therefore criminal?

I will let you make your own decision as to whether more of these matters should be pursued in criminal court. Actually, I will leave that up to our prosecutors. In the meanwhile, I am still heartbroken for the families who must resort to any kind of legal action in pursuit of answers, justice, and information.


Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at