Former owner of Oklahoma City nursing home owes $1.2 million to abused resident's daughters, jury decides
A federal jury has awarded $1.21 million dollars to the daughters of a 96-year-old woman who was recorded being abused at an Oklahoma City nursing home in 2012.
The victim’s family had installed a hidden camera in her room in an attempt to see who was taking her belongings.
The three daughters of Eryetha Mayberry were awarded $1.2 million dollars in compensatory damages and $10,000 in punitive damages, Oklahoma City federal court records show.
Mayberry, who suffered from dementia, lived in the Quail Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center from Nov. 14, 2008, to July 16, 2012, according to a complaint filed on behalf of plaintiffs Doris Racher, Sandra Cisper and Earlene Adkisson. Mayberry died on July 27, 2012.
The hidden camera recorded Mayberry being abused on April 16, 2012. In the recording, one nurse aide shoved a rubber glove into Mayberry’s mouth and slapped her in the face and head while another nurse aide watched. Mayberry also was poked in the chest and thrown onto a bed, records show.
One aide, who was in the country illegally, was fired, charged with caretaker abuse and went to prison after pleading guilty. The second aide also was fired and charged, but disappeared after posting bail, court records show.
Mayberry suffered numerous cuts, scrapes and bruises to various parts of her body while living there, the complaint states.
The nursing home was then owned by Westlake Nursing Home Limited Partnership. The daughters accused Westlake and its management company of negligence in treatment and care of its patients as well as the hiring and training of staff.
The defendants contended they should not be held liable for the wrongful conduct of the employees, who acted in violation of nursing home policy.
Jurors agreed that the defendants were liable for negligence, but not for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Jurors reached their verdicts Feb. 13.
“There was never any excuse for what happened to Miss Mayberry and the nursing home admitted that and immediately called the police, had them walked out in handcuffs, and fired them,” defendants’ attorney Jimmy Goodman said. “It was a clear violation of the policies of the nursing home for these people to do what they did. They were acting outside of the scope of their employment.”
Goodman said an appeal is planned.
“We think the jury misinterpreted some of the law, and we believe that the damages awarded for what actually occurred is excessive. We will ask the trial court to reduce the damage award, and there are some other errors that we will bring to the court’s attention,” he said.
The current administrator of the nursing home, Kimberly Bowles, said in a written statement that Quail Creek Nursing and Rehab is no longer owned and operated by Westlake.
“At the time of this incident of abuse, I was not affiliated with the facility, and have no direct knowledge of the incident,” she said.
“I can assure you the safety and well being of our residents is our utmost priority. We do not tolerate resident abuse in any way. We have policies and procedures that are more stringent than the regulations require for preventing resident abuse. We take those policies very seriously and strictly enforce them,” she said.
The plaintiffs’ attorney was not available for comment Thursday.
Matt Dinger was born and raised in Oklahoma City. He has worked in OPUBCO's News and Information Center since 2006, and has been assigned to the breaking news desk since its formation in fall... Read more ›