Provider requests new trial following jury's $347 million verdict

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A Florida-based skilled nursing chain is requesting a new trial in a case that landed it with a $347 million jury verdict.

Consulate Health Care was found guilty in February of upcoding claims lodged against it by whistleblower Angela Ruckh, and hit with the judgment in early March. A judge granted an emergency motion to stay the judgment a few weeks ago, noting that the facilities didn't have adequate money to cover the judgment and that forcing them to pay could put residents in jeopardy.

In a motion filed Wednesday, Consulate's management company, two of its skilled nursing facilities and a former rehabilitation provider for the facilities requested a new trial, citing the “serious doubts” over Ruckh's evidence displayed by the court during the trial.

“The evidence supporting these verdicts is legally insufficient and, in some instances, virtually nonexistent,” the motion reads.

As alternative to a new trial, the provider also requested that the court vacate the jury's “impermissibly excessive” verdicts.