Elder abuse case ends with $1 million payment

A lawsuit alleging elder abuse and neglect was settled recently for $1 million, and the plaintiffs insisted that there be no confidentiality clause.

Maywood Acres, a long-term care facility in Oxnard, CA, was the target of the lawsuit. Kindred Nursing Centers West, the owner/operator of Maywood Acres, paid a $1 million settlement, according to plaintiff’s attorney Jody C. Moore, JD, of Oxnard. The family of Mary Shofner, who Moore says died as result of the neglect, refused to settle the case under confidential terms.

Mary Shofner, 75, suffered from dementia, but was otherwise in good health upon admission to Maywood in November 2002. She only was supposed to be there for a short period of rehabilitation following a respiratory problem.

During 79 days at the facility, Moore says the woman’s care was inadequate, and she died as a result. Moore specializes in elder abuse and neglect litigation and has sued Maywood Acres five times since 2001.

"This was, by far, the most egregious case of abuse," Moore says. "Mary was young and relatively healthy. It was obvious to me that Maywood failed on every possible level to give her even the most basic care."

Shofner developed five bedsores at Maywood, two of which were so deep her bones were exposed. The bedsores became infected, which ultimately contributed to her death, Moore says. She lost 26 pounds in 12 weeks and had severe bruising on her chest and neck area from an unknown source.

Moore says there was no legitimate medical reason for Mary Shofner’s deterioration and death.

"All of the medical problems that Mary suffered at Maywood were easily avoidable had Maywood provided routine nursing assessments and assistance with her daily needs, such as feeding her and maintaining her personal hygiene," he says.

The lawsuit pointed to chronic understaffing as the main cause of the neglect. According to public records, Maywood was not in compliance with state laws that require minimum staffing hours per resident per day in 2002.