Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Nursing Home Results in $43.5M Verdict

The owner of a Georgia nursing home has been hit with a $43.5 million verdict in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a man who allegedly died as a result of nursing home neglect

The verdict was handed down earlier this month in Floyd County Superior Court in Rome, Georgia. The nursing home lawsuit was brought against George D. Houser, former owner of the Moran Lake Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center.

The complaint was brought by Loretta Terhune, whose father, Morris Ellison, was a former resident of Moran Lake. He died in 2007 after suffering a number of nursing home falls and fractures. The lawsuit alleged that the nursing home did not notify either Ellison’s family or his doctor about his injuries, and also claimed that Ellison, 80, suffered from malnourishment and dehydration in the nursing home.

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Although elderly and ill nursing home residents are often more prone to falling, nursing homes have an obligation to take steps to minimize the risk of falls, or they could be held liable through a nursing home negligence lawsuit. Accepted standards of care and federal nursing home regulations require every facility to perform a fall assessment on each new resident and develop a plan to lower the risk of a fall in a nursing home. This plan should be updated whenever the resident’s medical condition changes.

During the trial, former employees testified that the nursing home did not have the money to pay its bills or do laundry. According to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Houser faces a federal indictment for defrauding Medicare and Medicaid of $30 million, and he allegedly used money meant for the facility to buy himself luxury cars and real estate. Houser, an attorney, attempted to represent himself during the trial. After the verdict, he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs for contempt of court charges.

Moran Lake was closed in 2007 after inspections found a host of problems. It has since re-opened under new management.

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2 Comments

  • PatDecember 3, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    I have a case involving a Sunrise assisted living facility in Georgia and would like to know the attorney that represented Loretta Turhune in this wrongful death case against the nursing home.

  • DeborahSeptember 24, 2010 at 4:49 am

    I had a similiar case against Sun Healthcare Group Inc (SUNH) for the wrongful death of my mother, when in 2003 Sun violated a Calif state injunction by under staffing AND having known broken equipment which I can document. The CEO sent an employee to apologize for harming my mom, yet yrs later in mediation threatened me through a corrupt attorney I later sued for malpractice and he died. I won [Show More]I had a similiar case against Sun Healthcare Group Inc (SUNH) for the wrongful death of my mother, when in 2003 Sun violated a Calif state injunction by under staffing AND having known broken equipment which I can document. The CEO sent an employee to apologize for harming my mom, yet yrs later in mediation threatened me through a corrupt attorney I later sued for malpractice and he died. I won that case against his estate in 2008. Now that same CEO is attempting to rob the healthcare organization of all it's real estate and start a REIT. Others believe as I do, this should be considered fraud and illegal. Read my story on my blog site at www.sunhealthcaregroupinc.blogspot.com

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