No mistrial for Skilled Healthcare—$677 million penalty stands

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A court ruling that could cost nursing home giant Skilled Healthcare $677 million will stand after a California Superior Court judge denied the company's request for a mistrial.

Skilled Healthcare was the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed in California by 32,000 residents who alleged the nursing home owner failed to comply with the state's nurse staffing requirements. In early July, jurors awarded the plaintiffs $677 million in damages, sending company stock prices tumbling. Skilled Healthcare filed a motion to declare a mistrial, charging that one of the jurors had failed to disclose a personal vendetta against the company.

On Wednesday, Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Bruce Watson shot down Skilled Healthcare's motion, according to a release from Skilled Healthcare. The court also ordered a permanent injunction requiring all California nursing homes owned by Skilled Healthcare “to provide specified nurse staffing levels, comply with specified state and federal laws governing staffing levels and posting requirements, and provide reports and information to a monitor.” The company has issued an appeal, which defers the enforcement of the injunction until after a ruling and the sides work to agree on a settlement.