An executive director says her Florida senior living community is considering its legal options after a jury awarded $6 million to family members of a former resident whom they alleged died after falling off a scooter in the community’s courtyard and getting burned by the sun when she wasn’t found for several hours.
“While we respect the court and jury, we do not agree with the verdict and plan to begin to assess our post-trial and appellate options immediately,” Erika Stewart of Harbor Place at Port St. Lucie told McKnight’s Senior Living. Employees of the community, she said, “strive to provide a first-class assisted and independent living experience for our residents.”
As McKnight’s Senior Living previously reported, the estate of Kathleen “Kay” Menard, and her son and daughter, filed a wrongful death lawsuit after Menard’s death Sept. 29, 2017, which they said followed the July 5 incident at the community. Menard was 97 when she died and had lived at Harbor Place for more than nine years.
The jury’s verdict, reached May 10, includes $4 million total in punitive damages and $1 million in compensatory damages for each of Menard’s adult children.
“Under Florida law, half of the punitive damages go to the state’s Long-Term Care Facility Improvement Trust Fund, meaning of the $6 million award, $4 million is due to the family and $2 million is due to the state of Florida,” plaintiffs’ attorney Scott Mitchell Fischer told McKnight’s Senior Living.
Mitchell said Menard’s offspring hope the verdict “will go a long way towards improvement in the long-term care industry to prevent terrible accidents like this from happening again in the future.”