PITTSBURGH — The Superior Court of Pennsylvania partially upheld an order granting a new trial in a negligence case filed against Providence Care Center.
In its July 10 ruling, the Superior Court agreed that a new trial could be held to determine liability and compensatory damages, affirmed previously awarded punitive damages and reversed a non-suit order to allow Providence facility operator Grane Healthcare Co. to be part of the new trial.
The court said the punitive damages were awarded by the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County in a judgment not withstanding the jury's verdict.
President Judge Emeritus John Bender wrote the Superior Court opinion. Judge Jacqueline Shogan and Senior Judge Eugene Strassburger III concurred.
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The lawsuit against Providence was filed in 2012 by James Temple, the son of former Providence resident Elma Betty Temple. James Temple alleged that his mother fell in 2011 when she was unsupervised at the facility, resulting in a right humerus fracture, a right pelvic fracture and a right elbow laceration.
The jury trial was held in May 2016. As part of those proceedings, Grane moved for a non-suit ruling, arguing that it was not reponsible for the care of Elma Temple.
In addition, the jury returned a verdict in favor of James Temple, the attorney-in-fact of Elma Temple, awarding compensatory damages totaling $2 million and $250,000 in punitive damages.
The Superior Court ruling said both sides filed post-trial motions, and the lower court granted a new trial to address liability and compensatory damages. James Temple then appealed to the Superior Court.
In the Superior Court opinion, Bender said the testimony given showed that "a jury could conclude that Grane breached its duty to appellant.”
Bender said Grane agreed to “establish and administer a quality assurance program” to ensure that Providence would have quality nursing services for its residents, but then did not follow up to make sure the program was working as intended.
Bender wrote that Grane failed to exercise reasonable care in performing the program.