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State Court Imposes Corporate Liability on Nursing Homes

Law.com is reporting on an important decision that will affect nursing home lawsuits in Pennsylvania. In Scampone v. Grane HealthCare Co., the Supreme Court of the state found that nursing homes were similar to hospitals in the care they provide, and therefore they should be treated by the law in a similar manner.

The case rose to the state Supreme Court after a jury held Grane HealthCare corporately liable for the death of a resident of one of its facilities. The jury determined that Grane’s nursing homes were chronically understaffed, providing substandard care to the plaintiff, Madeline Scampone. Ms. Scampone died of a heart attack, caused in part by the negligent actions of the nursing home staff at the facility.

The decision will allow future victims of nursing home negligence and abuse an easier avenue to achieve justice. In the past, nursing homes and the companies that run them were difficult to sue, because the state courts had not ruled on the relationship between these companies and the residents who depend on their care. However, now nursing home victims will be able to point to this ruling in advancing their claims that the corporations who own nursing home are responsible for the care at those homes.

Judge Mary Jane Bowes explained in the ruling, “Clearly the degree of involvement in the care of patients of skilled nursing home facilities is markedly similar to that of a hospital and bear little resemblance to the sporadic care offered on an out-patient basis in a physician’s office.”

Justice requires that nursing homes and their corporate backers be held responsible for the care provided to residents at their facilities. They should never be allowed to hide behind nuanced legal definitions to avoid paying for their mistakes. Our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti understand the importance of this nursing home law ruling. We have seen time and again how nursing home companies cut corners and sacrifice standard care in order to end up with more money in their bank accounts. Nursing homes residents and taxpayers foot the bill for the care of these facilities, and they deserve proper treatment for their payment.