We place our family members in assisted living facilities and nursing homes because they are frail or sick and cannot take care of themselves. The facility should provide a safe place for the people in need of special care. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen as shown by the results of a trial in Newport News, Virginia.

The case, filed by the sister of a 55 year old mentally disabled man who lived at the facility, was brought against the Cote De Neige Home for Adults and its owner, Rose Daniels Potter. The lawsuit claimed the home and Potter failed in their duty to exercise “reasonable care” when they hired Junious Boyd Batten, 40, of Newport News, as a certified nursing assistant, despite his previous criminal record.

The lawsuit alleged the facility “knew or should have known that (Batten) was unfit, unsuitable, untrustworthy and incompetent for the position … and was likely to cause injury and harm to residents.” The suit also said the company did not adequately supervise Batten, instead making him an assistant administrator. The civil lawsuit included a list of 13 criminal offenses that Batten was charged with before, or during the time, he worked at Cote De Neige.

After hearing all of the evidence in the case, a jury awarded the resident $750,000 in damages as a result of his sexual assault.

My Take: I am proud of the jury for making a strong statement that the abuse of our elders is unacceptable.

Dan Frith
Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at