$17,700,000

Brain injury due to nursing staff negligence

$14,000,000

Ignored x-ray results delaying diagnosis of lung cancer

$12,000,000

Failure to diagnosis causes wrongful death

$10,000,000

Truck ran over five year boy

$7,620,000

HMO doctor ignored mother's complaints resulting in death

$7,000,000

Vietnam veteran PTSD wrongful death

Margaret Battersby Black appears on Fox & Friends with her client Joan Biedel, whose mother is the subject of a nursing home abuse case that has gotten national attention.

Nursing home resident Margaret Collins, a 91 year old woman with dementia, was the subject of repeated harassment from two nursing home employees. The upsetting viral video has caused a backlash of anger against elder abuse and an outpouring of support for Margaret Collins and her family.

Chicago News – CBS 2 News at 10:00 covers the story of Margaret Collins.

Nursing home resident Margaret Collins, a 91 year old woman with dementia, was the subject of repeated harassment from two nursing home employees. The upsetting viral video has caused a backlash of anger against elder abuse and an outpouring of support for Margaret Collins and her family.

nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys

Two partners talk about going from student to teacher

This piece was originally published in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin on August 1, 2019.

By Margaret Battersby Black and Michael F. Bonamarte IV

nursing home snapchat video

Video of Dementia Resident Taunted by Nursing Home Caregivers Was Shared on Social Media 

Levin & Perconti is representing the family of a 91-year-old woman after two of her care aides, formerly employed by Abington of Glenview Nursing Home in Glenview, violated the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and state privacy laws through abuse and the use of social media. The workers, Brayan Cortez and Jamie Montesa, were caught publishing a Snapchat video of themselves taunting Margaret Collins, an elderly resident with dementia. Snapchat is a multimedia app and popular social media channel used by over 180 million people every day. Each post made is called a “snap.”

The video went public just days before the Christmas holiday in 2018 and showed Collins lying in bed and visibly upset from being taunted by employees throwing a hospital gown at her several times, a clothing item her family says Abington workers knew would make her distressed. The video was captioned with “Margaret hates gowns,” and the “snap” was decorated with two laughing face emojis. A former employee saw the video and shared it with the resident’s family.

medicaid nursing home patients

Hole torn in a dollar bill with medicaid text

Nursing Home Residents on Medicaid Suffer Most 

Most whose financial situation would be characterized as low income and need to remain in a nursing home for longer than expected, Medicaid will quickly become the primary payer for their long-term care. Designed as a public assistance program for individuals with limited financial support, Medicaid funds a person’s physician visits, hospital, and long-term care, drugs, medical equipment and transportation, and other medical services.

nrusing home reform

Senate Hearing Regarding U.S. Nursing Homes Called Attention to Unfixed Issues and Reform 

An estimated 1.5 million individuals receive care from nursing homes nationwide each day, many of whom are living with serious physical and cognitive impairments, leaving them frail and remarkably vulnerable to abuse and neglect injustices. On July 23, 2019, members of the Senate Finance Committee Hearing once again heard pleas from elder community leaders about the constant struggles of Americans dependent on Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

(CMS) regulated skilled nursing facilities face each day. These guests discussed the continual lack of follow thru to require facilities to improve, a disregard to follow federal regulation by U.S. nursing home administrators, and ongoing failures to meet minimum care standards.

elder care attorneys

Did You Know Illinois Has Dementia Friendly Communities?

Located about 30 miles northwest of Chicago, the City of Elgin is one of the state’s newest dementia friendly communities aimed to support those living with the disease and their caregivers. An advisory council for the cause includes the city’s library staff, the mayor, a legal team, home care providers, the office of state Sen. Cristina Castro, Advocate Sherman Hospital leaders, and both the Elgin Police Department and the Elgin Fire Department. These trained workgroups hold open and friendly gatherings and guided activities at local businesses unique to those with dementia. Resources are also offered to help community members learn how to interact with people who have dementia. The council provides much-needed support and a place for caregivers to meet up as well.

Currently, six communities in Illinois are recognized as being dementia friendly by the group Dementia Friendly America. Those include:

poor elder care

Nursing Home Chain Failures Highlight a Greater Need for Ownership Regulation and Closer Government Review 

Some of the most troubling elder abuse and neglect stories stemmed from nursing home private ownership in the U.S. recently emerged thanks to an NBC News investigation featuring a man named Joseph Schwartz and his responsibilities over nursing home and long-term care facility chain, Skyline Healthcare. The mogul swiftly built his empire out of a small New Jersey office and then across the Midwest. It failed miserably leaving life-long pain and suffering for more 7,000 elderly Americans in more than 100 facilities in 11 states.

Massachusetts: Schwartz told staff there was no more money to fund all of his nursing homes or to pay them. The care team was buying toilet paper with personal funds to help residents. Patients were left for days in their feces due to staffing cuts and no one to help them. When some of the homes closed, 60 residents had nowhere to go, and family members were left uninformed of their loved one’s displacement. In March of 2019, the final three former Skyline Healthcare nursing homes in Massachusetts were closed and placed in receivership after Schwartz agreed to surrender licenses.

nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys

First Came the Record-Setting Award, and Now the Nursing Home Is Paying Legal Fees

On July 18, 2017, a record-setting $4.1M award was won by Levin & Perconti’s legal team of Margaret P. Battersby Black, Steven M. Levin, Susan L. Novosad, Daniel A. Goldfaden and sole practitioner Michael W. Rathsack on behalf of the estate of Dolores Trendel. On June 28, 2019, Justice James Fitzgerald Smith wrote in an unpublished order allowing the estate to recover the cost of litigation from the negligent nursing home at the center of the case – Clare Oaks.

The Nursing Home Care Act requires licensed senior care facilities to pay “the actual damages and costs and attorney’s fees to a faculty resident whose rights … are violated.”

nursing home abuse attorneys

New Rule May Help Justify Antipsychotic Drug Use in Nursing Homes 

For some nursing home residents battling psychosis and severe mental disorders conditions such as schizophrenia, antipsychotic drugs may help when prescribed and administered responsibly. But for decades these narcotics that come with a “black box” warning and dangerous side effects have been overused in dementia residents to hush or lessen their needs on nursing home staff, despite rules against the misuse of these drugs as chemical restraints and drugging patients without their consent.

Earlier this month, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a rule that could make the use of antipsychotic drugs such as Clozapine, Abilify, and others easier to come by through simplifying “the survey process and reduce improper deficiency citations, as well as remove potential obstacles for mental health professionals to provide quality care for residents.”

Lawyer Monthly - Legal Awards Winner
The National Trial Lawyers
Elder Care Matters Alliance
American Association for Justice
Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
Super Lawyers