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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."

Connecting the Jury to Each Other - And Your Case

Modesett Williams - Tuesday, May 09, 2017

At our shop, we spend a lot of time thinking how to connect with juries. We constantly ask ourselves, how can we tell our client's story in a way that resonates with the jury's experience? As we all retreat into our smartphones and become less connected to each other, though ostensibly connected to the world, finding that common ground is becoming more difficult.


Perhaps that is why Sebastian Junger's "Tribe, On Homecoming and Belonging" resonated with me. Junger asks, "How do you become an adult in a society that doesn't ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn't require courage?" He answers his questions with, "Humans don't mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. It's time for that to end." I agree. A jury's experience at trial can and should be a way to make them "necessary" to society.


Junger goes on to describe human "needs" in a way that can be a call to action for a jury. "...human beings need three basic things in order to be content: they need to feel competent at what they do; they need to feel authentic in their lives; and they need to feel connected to others. These values are considered 'intrinsic' to human happiness and far outweigh 'extrinsic' values such as beauty, money and status."


How many of us are aware of how our world works? Are we connected to anything outside of our daily routine? Not really. Junger makes the point that we are "disconnected from just about everything. Farming, mineral extraction, gas and oil production, bulk cargo transport, logging, fishing, infrastructure construction--all the industries that keep the nation going are mostly unacknowledged by the people who depend on them most." Junger's solution: "When people are actively engaged in a cause their lives have more purpose... with a resulting improvement in mental health..."


When presenting your case, give jury members a cause, even if just for a week or two.

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/

Recent Results for Modesett Williams

Modesett Williams - Wednesday, October 05, 2016

This September, the lawyers at Modesett Williams settled a serious motorcycle injury case for $1.25 million in conservative Williamson County. The firm took on the case when no other firm would due to large liens. For good results on serious cases, Modesett Williams delivers.

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/

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

Not a Good Time to be Old

Modesett Williams - Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Last week, Genworth put out a report detailing long-term health care costs in the U.S., and the results are worrisome. In a previous blog post, we discussed how the cost of nursing home care is rising at about 4% per year, and that many insurance companies are exiting the market because it is proving unprofitable (check out the post here: http://www.modwill.com/blog/soaring-long-term-health-costs). In 2015, the private sector's exit of the long-term health care market will leave families responsible for $91, 250 of annual nursing home expenses.


However, it is important to point out that less-intensive forms of long-term care are significantly less expensive than nursing homes. The national average for assisted living facilities is $43, 200, but it is growing at an annual rate of 2%. In addition, the adult day health care programs average at around $17, 904 annually and are growing at about 3%. 


Luckily, the long-term health care annual costs are lower in Austin than the national average. For a private nursing home room, families can expect to pay $84, 133. If a family chooses to pursue an assisted living facility, they can expect roughly $49, 284 in annual expenses, and if they pursue an adult day health care program, they will be responsible for $15, 600 annually. The long-term health care rates are less pricey in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Waco, and Amarillo, making Austin the most expensive place for nursing homes in Texas.



I'll conclude with one final shocking financial figure: 30 years from today, a private nursing home room is predicted to cost $204, 213 annually. Start saving, folks.


To see nursing home costs by region, visit: https://www.genworth.com/corporate/about-genworth/industry-expertise/cost-of-care.html

Soaring Long-Term Health Costs

Modesett Williams - Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In the 1980s, private insurance providers preached that purchasing insurance policies to cover long-term health care would financially prepare Americans for elderly life. However, these providers offered faulty advice: the insurance policies they offered have proved to be more expensive than ever anticipated. 


About 30 years ago, the long-term care market looked to be an attractive one, and many insurance providers were eager to get in the business. The industry made predictions about American lifespan, health care expenses and interest rates, all of which turned out to be skewed. The average life expectancy in the United States is the highest it has ever been: 79 years old. This life expectancy suggest that Americans are living longer than ever anticipated, meaning more individuals will live in nursing homes and perhaps spend longer periods of time there. In addition, "the rate for staying at a nursing home has gone up an average of 4 percent every year for the past five years. The 2014, the median bill for a shared room topped $6,000 a month," financial figures that were highly unanticipated by insurance providers. Lastly, the industry predicted high interest rates and the market has provided much lower rates than anticipated.


The long-term-care-policies that the private insurance companies offered have proven unprofitable due to the previously discussed financial figures. As a result, these insurance companies are either exiting the market or substantially raising their prices. As fewer private insurance options become available, analysts predict that individuals will turn to Medicaid for help, which could significantly constrain federal and state budgets. Thus, as the private sector reduces its presence in the long-term care insurance market, the United States' government will be forced to take action to properly care for the elderly. 


Read the full article: www.mysanantonio.com/business/health-care/article/high-nursing-home-bills-squeeze-insurers-driving-6166975.php


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