Jury awards $1.6 million to families in second round of nursing home abuse suits

A federal jury has recommended the former operator of an Oklahoma nursing home pay nearly $1.6 million to two families who say that he dodged paying the damages last year.

Ron Lusk, former owner of Quail Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Oklahoma City, was sued by two families who said their relatives died as a result of the care they received at the facility. Juries awarded both families judgments — $1.21 million in one and nearly $350,000 in another — but the families say they never received the money.

Lusk sold Quail Creek after the lawsuits were filed and allegedly transferred the $4 million he received from the sale out of the facility's accounts to avoid paying the judgments, according to local reports. The families filed a fraudulent transfer action, arguing that money from the facility's sale should go to them.

Indeed, a jury ruled on January 22 that Lusk must use his personal funds to pay back the judgments.

One of the original judgments was awarded to a family who sued Lusk and Quail Creek for wrongful death of a resident who choked to death in 2006. Her family said she was fed large pieces of sausage, despite having difficulty swallowing and being on a special diet. A jury awarded her family $350,000 in February 2014.

A second judgment of  $1.21 million was awarded in February 2015 to the family of a woman who was mentally and physically abused by two employees of the facility. The two nurse's aides were caught on a hidden camera stuffing a latex glove into the woman's mouth, slapping her and forcefully throwing her onto her bed. She died three months after the abuse occurred.

Attorneys for the two families are now hiring attorneys in Texas, where Lusk lives, to find him and get him to pay the damages, according to local reports.