Bernard J. Hamill tried a case alleging nursing home sexual assault on behalf of his client against Kindred Healthcare, Inc. in front of a Middlesex County Massachusetts Jury in December 2013. The jury entered a verdict on Dec.17th, for $2,000,014, not including interest, against Kindred Healthcare, Inc. after a weeklong trial. The Plaintiff, "Marie" by her power of attorney, is an 87-year-old nursing home resident with Huntington's disease and dementia.
The Plaintiff’s claim was for negligent care for allowing a sexual assault at a Kindred Nursing Home. She was found with a bruise on her vaginal area on the morning of 7/22/11. Mr. Hamill argued to the jury that the bruise was caused by abuse. The defense argued that she had fallen. Because there were no eyewitnesses to any abuse the defense contested plaintiff's allegation strenuously, presenting expert medical testimony about falls and other medical conditions that "could" result in injury. She was treated once at the Emergency Room the day after, and had one follow up doctor’s visit. She consistently denied ever being abused. She has short-term memory issues.
Kindred's position prior to trial was that since a police investigation with DNA testing resulted in no charges and a Dept. of Public Health investigation was inconclusive, there was no merit to the plaintiff’s claim. Their stated defense before trial was that the plaintiff had scratched herself and caused her own bruise.
To prepare this case Mr. Hamill conducted over 20 depositions to obtain discovery and spent many thousands to get the case to trial. Mr. Hamill delivered the opening and closing to a jury of nine men and three women. Mr. Hamill submitted no medical bills or "special damages" to the jury as the plaintiff did not receive any “treatment”. This case was given to the Jury on the 5th day.
The jury deliberated for three hours, including lunch.
With interest, the verdict was $2,460,189, all for emotional distress and loss of dignity.
This verdict is the largest jury verdict against a nursing home in Massachusetts history. At this time, the plaintiff is living peacefully in another nursing home where she has resided since this incident. She has no memory of the assault.
David Hoey of North Reading assisted as second chair at trial.
Attorney Bernard J. Hamill is a Boston, Massachusetts trial lawyer with 37 years’ experience trying cases. He has vigorously represented people in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, business litigation, wills, probate of estates and elder law matters, including emotional distress claims caused by elder abuse.
Advocate Capital, Inc. proudly supports attorneys like Bernard J. Hamill who continue to fight for the rights of nursing home residents and their families.