The family of a 71-year-old stroke victim was awarded $7.75 million earlier this month in an elderly abuse lawsuit filed over problems at a California nursing home.
The complaint was brought by the family of Maria Arellano after a hidden video camera captured Monica Garcia, a former employee at Fillmore Convalescent Center in Ventura County, Calif., slapping and abusing Arellano.
A state court jury awarded the family $2.75 million in actual damages and $5 million in punitive damages against Garcia, Fillmore Convalescent Center and the facility’s owner, Eduardo Gonzalez.
In 2006, family members noticed what they considered to be suspicious bruises on Arrellano’s body, and they were concerned that she may be a victim of elder abuse by nursing home staff. Arellano was unable to speak as a result of a stroke, and the family alleged that they set up a hidden camera in her room after the center failed to investigate the suspected abuse.
The nursing home hidden camera video caught Garcia slapping Arellano, pulling her by her hair and performing other acts of physical abuse. Garcia plead no contest to batter charges in February and was placed in a work release program. She no longer works as a nursing home care provider.
On December 11, the Ventura County jury found Garcia to be 20% responsible, the center 40% responsible, and Gonzalez 40% responsible for Arellano’s abuse. According to a report in the Ventura County Star, the family said they offered to settle for $500,000 before trial, but their offers were rebuffed.