Harrison jury: No liability for nursing home in wrongful death
lawsuit Matter pitted Mississippi, WV law firms against each
by Matt Harvey ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR
Aug 26, 2016
CLARKSBURG — A three-week wrongful death trial in Harrison
County ended Friday with the jury finding that Heartland nursing
home, its parent company and the nursing home’s administrator
The jury deliberated for about half a day before finishing its
work around 2:30 p.m.
Greg Haddad was the lawyer for nursing home parent company HCR
ManorCare Inc. He kept a poker face after viewing the verdict
form with other counsel and the court, and when returning to
counsel table to listen to Harrison County Deputy Clerk Tricia
Dobbins read the decision.
But that all changed afterward, as the attorneys for Bailey &
Glasser LLP of Charleston and Anspach Law of Charleston and
Huntington embraced with clients.
Mississippi law firm McHugh Fuller Law Group was on the other
side, alleging care at the home had led to an 87-year-old woman’s
death a few weeks after she left.
After the verdict, Ben Bailey, partner at Bailey & Glasser,
said he was “grateful for the jury’s hard work and thoughtful
consideration of everything we did.” The verdict also was “a
recognition of the good work that all the folks of Heartland of
Clarksburg and the Manor Care network do for their patients,”
Attorney Bob Anspach’s firm represented Heartland of Clarksburg,
the administrator and Heartland Employment Services. “So far
as I’m concerned, this has always been a case about care provided
(to the resident), and the evidence proved that she and many others
like her got great care at our facility,” Anspach said.
Joining Haddad at counsel table were two other members of Bailey
and Glasser: Attorneys Becky Pomeroy and Kerrie Boyle. Anspach was
assisted by attorneys David Rich and Jarrod Jordan.
Lawyers Lance Reins and Amy Quezon of McHugh Fuller had tried to
prove that actions at Heartland had led to the octogenarian’s
death. But as Dobbins polled the jurors following the verdict, the
five men and two women each reinforced their verdict that no
liability attached to the defendants.
Harrison Chief Judge Thomas A. Bedell presided. In addition to
praising the jurors for the time they put into the case, he also
told them that, at least as far as he’s concerned, they’ve
fulfilled their civic duty as jurors for the next eight years. He
said that should they be selected at random for jury duty again
during that time, he would work to have them excused from service
should they so request.
In addition to being one of the longest-lasting trials in the
circuit, the case also saw a wholesale rearranging of the court: To
accommodate a phalanx of supporting personnel and technology, half
of the courtroom’s benches were temporarily removed. The last time
that happened was during the intensive Spelter smelter class action
lawsuit trial involving DuPont. Bedell, a 24-year veteran of the
bench, also presided in that case.
Special court reporters also were imported for the nursing home
trial, with Bedell’s longtime court reporter, Leslie Pruitt,
heading to another county during the trial to handle their