Tips for lawyers: Illinois nursing home evidence allowed in spite of defendant’s admittance of negligence

An Illinois nursing home resident filed a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit against Carbondale Nursing and Rehabilitation Center alleging that the facility failed to employ and train sufficient personnel, properly examine and monitor the patient, properly administer nutrition and medicine, regularly move and reposition the patient, properly treat pressure ulcers and clean the body, and bring in medical personnel as necessary. In response, the defendant admitted numerous negligent acts. The defendant nursing home filed a motion in limine asking the court to bar the plaintiff from disclosing or presenting testimony regarding the negligent acts admitted by the defendant, and the court denied the motion.

The defendant went on to argue on appeal that the trial court erred by allowing the presentation of negligent acts to which the defendant admitted because its responses constituted judicial admissions rendering a discussion of the plaintiff’s care irrelevant and prejudicial. However, the appeals court determined that a discussion of the care provided to the plaintiff was necessary to understand and determine the merits of the plaintiff’s claim, and to allow the jury to fully discuss damages when the pain and suffering occurred during ongoing treatment. This was additionally supported by the fact that the defendant’s admission of negligence was limited to the “approximate last week” of the plaintiff’s stay, and because the defendant denied both direct and proximate cause.

Michael G. Rath v. Carbondale Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Inc., No. 5-05-0513

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