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Judge denies new trial in nursing home lawsuit

Apr. 12, 2013 @ 10:12 AM

CHARLESTON — A judge has denied a new trial in a lawsuit that resulted in a $91.5 million jury verdict against a Charleston nursing home.

Tom Douglas claimed in the lawsuit that his 87-year-old mother died of dehydration and complications stemming from her 19-day stay at Heartland of Charleston in 2009.

The Charleston Gazette reports that Kanawha County Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr. found that the verdict appropriately punished Heartland's corporate owner, HCR Manor Care, for a history of intentionally short-staffing nursing homes to maximize profit. He issued his decision Wednesday.

Manor Care lawyers raised several claims, including that the damages should have been subject to the state's $500,000 medical malpractice cap. They said they will appeal to the West Virginia Supreme Court.