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Ben Glass
Ben Glass
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District of Columbia Court of Appeals Throws Out Nursing Home Verdict

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The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has thrown out a verdict that awarded nothing for pain and suffering for an elderly woman who fell and broke her hip at a nursing facility.

According to the opinion the evidence at trial was that an elderly woman with dementia fell and broke her hip at the defendant’s nursing facility. Medical records and the testimony of employees of the defendant established that the patient was in significant pain and she sat for three hours before being transferred to a hospital. She later underwent surgery including placement of hardware in her hip and spent 12 days in the hospital. She never walked again without assistance.

After she filed suit the jury found the nursing facility negligent and found that the negligence caused the plaintiff’s fall and resulting injuries. The jury however awarded nothing for pain and suffering.

The court set aside the jury verdict as inadequate and said that because there was clear evidence of damages in addition to the medical bills the jury’s decision to not award any money for pain and suffering indicated that “the jury must have acted from passion or prejudice or considered an improper element.” The Court of Appeals found the jury’s denial of any non economic damages as “contrary to common sense and reason.”