Still fighting $90 million verdict, HCR ManorCare settles a second negligence lawsuit in West Virginia

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Following a $90 million verdict against one HCR ManorCare nursing home in West Virginia, a different company facility in the state recently settled a wrongful death lawsuit under confidential terms.  The spotlight shifted the focus from Heartland of Charleston, the facility involved in the $90 million lawsuit, to Heartland of Martinsburg.

During four years at the Martinsburg nursing home prior to her death, resident Christina Frazier developed pressure ulcers, fell and suffered other harm due to negligent care, the complaint alleged. 

Although the settlement amount remains confidential, a court order showed the money would be divided among Frazier's three children, according to the West Virginia Record. HCR ManorCare previously denied the “essential” allegations in the suit and argued that the state's Medical Professional Liability Act should cap any non-economic damages, the Record reported.

The MPLA is also an issue in the ongoing Heartland of Charleston case. In April, Kanawha County Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib upheld the $90 million verdict in that case, which involved claims of resident neglect and understaffing. HCR ManorCare has appealed to the West Virginia Supreme Court, arguing that the medical malpractice caps established in 2003 should apply.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) signed Senate Bill 101 into law shortly after Zakaib's April ruling. The measure clarifies that all the limitations and provisions of the MPLA apply to nursing homes.

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