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MODESETT WILLIAMS PLLC

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AUSTIN, TX 78701

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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.

Medical Errors Now 3rd Leading Cause of Death in U.S.

Modesett Williams - Friday, May 13, 2016

CBS News has also reported on the study from scientists at Johns Hopkins, saying that, "Medical errors, including wrong diagnoses, botched surgeries and medication mistakes, are the third leading cause of death in the United States..."


Continue reading here: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/medical-errors-now-3rd-leading-cause-of-death-in-u-s-study-suggests/

Second Study Says Medical Errors Third-Leading Cause of Death in U.S.

Modesett Williams - Monday, May 09, 2016

A recent USA Today article by Jayne O'Donnell says, "Medical errors kill about 250,000 people a year, a new study from a well-known John Hopkins medical school professor and author said Tuesday."


Read more on this chilling statistic here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/05/03/second-study-says-medical-errors-third-leading-cause-death-us/83874022/

What You Don't Know About Your Doctor Could Hurt You

Modesett Williams - Monday, April 18, 2016

"Thousands of doctors across the U.S. are on medical probation for reasons including drug abuse, sexual misconduct, and making careless - sometimes deadly - mistakes. But they're still out there practicing. And good luck figuring out who they are."


Read more of this Consumer Reports article by Rachel Rabkin Peachman here: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/health/doctors-and-hospitals/what-you-dont-know-about-your-doctor-could-hurt-you/index.htm

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

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. 

It's Not a Myth

Patricia Small - Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Elder Abuse is Happening in Our Own Backyard


Recent statistics by the National Center on Elder Abuse state that 9.5% of the elderly population suffered some form of abuse in 2010. That is roughly one out of of every ten people over 60 years of age. Despite how shocking those numbers may be, it is difficult to see them as anything other than numbers. Connecting real names and faces to the individuals who experience abuse and neglect can be challenging. We write them off, dismiss these incidents as anomalies or freak accidents.


Unfortunately, these cases hit closer to home than we may want to believe. A recent article by the Houston Chronicle reported the death of two residents in a northwest Houston nursing home after both were beaten to death by another resident with a wheelchair armrest.


According to the article, Antonio Acosta, one of the victims, warned his family about the dangers of his new roommate, even begging them to find somewhere else for him to go. The roommate, 56-year-old Guillermo Correa, was charged with capital murder for the death of Acosta and another roommate, Primitivo Lopez, the article reports. 


This tragic murder sheds some light on a problem that is often not thought about when we talk about abuse in nursing homes. Often we assume that nursing home abuse refers to blatant abuse between a staff member and a resident. However, as was the case in Houston, abuse can also occur between residents. The Houston facility, Lexington Place, refused to comment, the article states. 


These incidents are often yet another result of understaffed nursing homes. More supervision, more time for resident concerns and more careful monitoring of arguments between residents can go a long way in preventing these tragedies. 



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