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.