w

M

MODESETT WILLIAMS PLLC

EXPERIENCED     TRIAL     LAWYERS

515 CONGRESS AVENUE

SUITE 1650

AUSTIN, TX 78701

512.472.6097

FACSIMILE: 512.481.0130

OUR LATEST News AND Updates

 

what's happening in our world

Call to Support Senate Bill 932

Modesett Williams - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Texas Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 932, the bill that would crack down on bad nursing homes, and now the House is deliberating on whether these bad nursing homes should be held accountable for their wrongdoings. Jack Modesett wrote a letter in February congratulating Senator Schwertner for his work on this bill and on behalf of some of our most vulnerable citizens, which can be read here.


This morning's Austin American-Statesman features a full page ad in support of the bill and we strongly encourage you to check it out, learn more about the low quality of care provided by Texas nursing homes, and take action.


"Tell your legislator to make nursing homes safer and protect Texas seniors by passing Senate Bill 932. Call 1-844-305-8852 today."

Modesett Williams Client Prevails in McLennan County

Modesett Williams - Monday, March 20, 2017

After a five-day jury trial, Jack Modesett obtained a $450,000 verdict against Senior Living Properties LLC d/b/a Jeffrey Place Rehabilitation Center based in Waco, Texas. Mr. Modesett was assisted by Vic Feazell.


The jury found Jeffrey Place negligent and grossly negligent in its care of Homer Byrd, who died a month after being admitted.


The evidence included testimony that showed the 79-year-old blind, diabetic resident acquired a toe infection that turned gangrenous, which led to his right leg being amputated just above the knee and, ultimately, to his death.


Jeffrey Place attempted to rebut this evidence with testimony that said the personnel followed the directions of the center's medical director and did all they could for Mr. Byrd, but the jury found that not to be accurate, particularly given their failing to promptly spot and treat the infected toe. Nurses claimed to have noticed the wound, but not until it had turned black, developed a foul odor and was 4 centimeters by 5 centimeters. The jury ruled this a breach of the ordinary standard of care and that it played a substantial role in Mr. Byrd's premature death.


The Byrd family was awarded the exact amounts requested by Mr. Modesett during his final summations of the wrongful death lawsuit. Though Mr. Modesett left the figure for punitive damages to the jury's discretion, one of the jurors said he would have granted the family more than the $200,000 settled upon if the decision had been solely his. The juror cited the evidence brought by Mr. Modesett as proving gross negligence occurred, saying, "There was a lot more that could have been done for this man, and it was just absolute refusal to see a problem that is blatantly obvious."


Modesett Williams, PLLC is a firm of board certified trial lawyers, based in Austin, Texas. Jack Modesett is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Walter Williams is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. They have tried cases in dozens of Texas counties and throughout the United States.


Modesett Williams represents a broad range of litigation clients throughout Texas and the United States. For additional information, please call Jack Modesett at 512.472.6097.

Jack's Take on the Bill that would Crack Down on Bad Nursing Homes

Modesett Williams - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Read the Austin American-Statesman article about Senate Bill 932 here. The bill was filed by State Senator Charles Schwertner on Thursday, February 16, 2017.


Jack Modesett has spent twenty-five years representing patients who have suffered abuse in the long-term care setting. He feels that Senator Schwertner is to be congratulated for his work on behalf of some of our most vulnerable citizens, but he knows there is still work to be done in protecting these people.


The two agree that nursing home operators must be held accountable for their acts of malfeasance. In handling hundreds of these cases across Texas, Jack has seen every kind of horror one can imagine and recognizes that these types of abuses and neglect occur all too frequently in nursing homes. He asserts that this will continue as many nursing home operators have used recent changes to Texas law to "associate" with county hospitals and then claim Tort Claims Immunity. These "associations" are a sham and change nothing about how the homes are operated or who really operates them; some of the "associations" are with county hospitals that are not within a hundred miles of the home.


If Jack can offer any assistance in representing these victims, holding nursing home operators accountable, or improving the long-term care industry, Modesett Williams stands ready.

CNN: Over 1,000 Nursing Homes Cited for Mishandling and Failing to Prevent Sexual Abuse

Modesett Williams - Wednesday, February 22, 2017

CNN investigation published: February 22, 2017


"The unthinkable is happening at facilities throughout the country: Vulnerable seniors are being raped and sexually abused by the very people paid to care for them.


"It's impossible to know just how many victims are out there. But through an exclusive analysis of state and federal data and interviews with experts, regulators and the families of victims, CNN has found that this little-discussed issue is more widespread than anyone would imagine.


"Even more disturbing: In many cases, nursing homes and the government officials who oversee them are doing little - or nothing - to stop it.


"Sometimes pure - and even willful - negligence is at work. In other instances, nursing home employees and administrators are hamstrung in their efforts to protect victims who can't remember exactly what happened to them or even identify their perpetrators.


"In cases reviewed by CNN, victims and their families were failed at every stage. Nursing homes were slow to investigate and report allegations because of a reluctance to believe the accusations - or a desire to hide them. Police viewed the claims as unlikely at the outset, dismissing potential victims because of failing memories or jumbled allegations. And because of the high bar set for substantiating abuse, state regulators failed to flag patterns of repeated allegations against a single caregiver.


"It's these systemic failures that make it especially hard for victims to get justice - and even easier for perpetrators to get away with their crimes."


Continue reading about the mishandling and lack of prevention of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse cases in nursing homes here:

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/02/health/nursing-home-sex-abuse-investigation/

Collecting from the "Asset-Free" Defendant

Modesett Williams - Monday, November 09, 2015

We represented a family in a nursing home case. The liability was clear, but the defendant claimed to be without collectable assets and on the verge of financial ruin. Settlement discussions stalled and the trial date loomed. We dug a little deeper into the defendant's financial reporting to the State and found hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to related parties for horse stall rental, private jet leasing and redundant and exorbitant "consulting" fees. We wrote the defendant a new demand letter pointing out this remarkable inconsistency and pointing to corporate veil piercing law, which introduced fraud concepts into the case. The case settled for the new demand within 72 hours.


Our take-away: There is often more than meets the eye with the "single-asset, bankruptcy remote entity." Though designed to limit ownership liability, these entities often indirectly fund related entities with ridiculous "expenses."

Nursing Homes Combining with Hospital Districts - Crony Capitalism at Its Worst

Modesett Williams - Wednesday, October 28, 2015

For those who keep abreast of developments in the world of nursing home care in Texas, a recent Dallas Morning News article should cause outrage. Nursing homes have entered into sham arrangements with rural hospital districts (which are governmental entities). The stated purpose of the arrangement is to give the nursing home access to additional federal dollars and improve the care of nursing home patients (Texas ranks last - 50 out of 50). But the law permitting this arrangement does not compel nursing homes to use this new money to improve care. Nor does it give the hospital districts any authority on how to improve care. So, what could be the real purpose of these arrangements? Money. The hospital districts receive a little money, the nursing homes receive a lot. A second purpose, unstated in the article, is to potentially further lower the statutory cap on damages. If your mother needlessly dies of malnutrition because the staff did not feed her, her damages may be capped at $100,000 under certain circumstances. Stay tuned.


Read the full Dallas Morning News article here:

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20150530-public-hospitals-help-nursing-home-operators-get-federal-funds.ece

Low-rated Texas nursing homes strike deals with public hospitals for federal cash

Modesett Williams - Monday, October 26, 2015

A recently published article in the Dallas Morning News tells the story of good intentions and bad results. Nursing homes have reached agreements with local hospital districts that provide more federal dollars for the nursing home, but there is no requirement that the nursing home use that money to improve care. Consequently, a majority of this money will go directly into the nursing home operator's pocket and not towards patient care, no matter how poor a nursing home's record. An additional outcome is that patients harmed by the nursing home's poor care may be subject to even lower caps on their damages.


Read the entire article here: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20150530-public-hospitals-help-nursing-home-operators-get-federal-funds.ece

Winning Before Trial - Employees as Witnesses

Modesett Williams - Monday, October 19, 2015

In July, we tried a nursing home abuse case where four former and one current employee testified that Bastrop Lost Pines Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was chronically understaffed and unable to turn and reposition their patients, causing infected, fatal bed sores. This contradicted the payroll records the nursing home offered to show it was appropriately staffed. The jury believed the five live witnesses. Prior to trial, we spent a large amount of time compelling the Defendant to provide former employee contact information, tracking them down and talking to them. Their stories were consistent, as was their desire to help our clients tell their story.


Our take-away: Former employees know how organizations really run, are usually willing to testify and are not always disgruntled. Credible live witnesses often outweigh the cold documents. This is particularly true when the witnesses have nothing to gain by their testimony and may have placed themselves at risk when they want to continue to work in the industry.

Bastrop County, Texas, July 17, 2015

Modesett Williams - Monday, October 12, 2015

After a five day jury trial, Jack Modesett obtained a $240,000 verdict against Regency Nursing Center Partners of Bastrop, Ltd d/b/a Bastrop Lost Pines Nursing and Rehabilitation Center based in Victoria, Texas. Mr. Modesett was assisted by his partner, Walter Williams.


The jury found Bastrop Lost Pines to be negligent in its care of Margaret Haywood, who was a resident from late August through mid-December of 2013 after suffering a stroke in her home.


The evidence included the testimony of four former and one current employee that Bastrop Lost Pines could not provide adequate care and follow doctor’s orders to turn and reposition Ms. Haywood every 2 hours because of chronic understaffing. Bastrop Lost Pines’ failure resulted in Ms. Haywood developing a Stage 4 bed sore on her coccyx.


Bastrop Lost Pines attempted to rebut this evidence with unsigned time cards, which the jury found not to be credible, particularly given Bastrop Lost Pines’ written misrepresentations to the federal government concerning the very same bed sore and the treating physician’s testimony that substandard care caused Ms. Haywood’s bed sore.


Lying in her own waste, not being turned or changed for hours at a time, day after day, caused Ms. Haywood’s Stage 4 bed sore to become infected, infected her bones and played a substantial role in her premature death.


The jury found for the Estate of Margaret Haywood and her surviving children, Jerry Haywood, Lillie Piper, Geneva McMarion, Hulisher Haywood, James Haywood and Dorothy Haywood- Dockery.


Modesett Williams, PLLC is a firm of board certified trial lawyers, based in Austin, Texas. Jack Modesett is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Walter Williams is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas board of Legal Specialization. They have tried cases in dozens of Texas counties and throughout the United States.


Modesett Williams represents a broad range of litigation clients throughout Texas and the United States. For additional information, please call Jack Modesett at 512.472.6097. 

The Eyes of Cameras are Upon You

Modesett Williams - Monday, March 09, 2015

Recently, Illinois and Missouri have been lobbying to allow cameras in nursing home resident's bedrooms. The proponents of these efforts insist that the use of these cameras would make nursing home faculty more conscious of their behavior and reduce abuse. However, there are significant concerns that are preventing the legislation from moving forward.


Legal barriers such as HIPPA and wiretapping laws will need to be considered before the legislation can pass. HIPPA, which is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is concerned with protecting the confidentiality of medical providers and of healthcare information. Therefore, recording behavior could pose a possible violation of HIPPA. CBS reports that consent will be the "key legal question in any legislation allowing video cameras". It is likely that in order for this legislation to pass in Illinois and Missouri, the law will have similar provisions to those in Texas. 


Texas does allow the use of "hidden cameras" in nursing home bedrooms, so long as proper procedures are followed beforehand. The procedures include informing the nursing home of the use of cameras and posting a note on the door that discloses that the room is being electronically monitored.



The full article is available here: http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2015/03/09/hipaa-wiretapping-laws-pose-legal-questions-for-granny-cams/


Recent Posts


Tags


Archive

    © 2014 Modesett Williams, PLLC - Business Trial Lawyers - Austin Texas | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy                                                                                         512.472.6097