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ARTICLE ID 29214

$________ - GROUP HOME NEGLIGENCE - RESIDENT DROWNS IN BATHTUB WHILE IN CARE OF RESIDENCE'S EMPLOYEE - ABUSE, NEGLECT AND CONSUMER FRAUD ALLEGED - NEGLIGENT HIRING, TRAINING AND SUPERVISION - BREACH OF CONTRACT - NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION - WRONGFUL DEATH.

Maricopa County, Arizona

The plaintiff parents contended that the defendant group home was liable for the death of their daughter, a severely developmentally disabled person who was living at the defendant’s group home at the time. The plaintiff maintained that the decedent was negligently left alone in a filled bathtub at the group home resulting in her drowning.

The evidence showed that the decedent, Ilana Solomon, was a severely developmentally disabled person entitled to receive social services from the State of Arizona and/or DDD under Arizona law. DDD contracted with a service provider defendant DSI (later acquired by AHS), to provide 24-hour care for Ilana Solomon. In September ________, DSI recommended a caregiver named Catherine Cash to manage Ilana’s group home and to provide care for Ilana. Unbeknownst to Ilana’s family, Ms. Cash had been designated ineligible for rehire in ________ and ________, had been fired in ________, and had received an Employee Counseling Notice (written warning) for advising a resident to hit another individual in ________. She was placed on probation in July ________ and was on probation at the time she was recommended for Ilana’s care.

Further, the plaintiffs contended that DSI knew that Catherine Cash’s CPR training had expired when it allowed Catherine Cash to begin caring for Ilana.

Due to understaffing at DSI and the need to find a new location for Catherine Cash, the plaintiffs contended that DSI misled the Solomons into accepting Cash as Ilana’s caregiver. Ilana’s parents were not informed of all variables concerning this caregiver and agreed to allow Cash to act as manager and caregiver in the group home.

On November 20, ________, Ilana Solomon was abandoned by Ms. Cash in a filled bathtub for up to thirty minutes where she drowned. The plaintiffs brought suit alleging wrongful death, negligence, abuse, breach of contract, fraud, negligent hiring, training and supervision and violations of the state’s consumer fraud act.

The defendants admitted that the caregiver’s history of prior abandonment should have resulted in termination. The plaintiffs were able to establish that Ms. Cash had previously abandoned three developmentally disabled residents in a van a year earlier in an incident that the company failed to investigate. During the trial, DSI admitted that the prior abandonment should have resulted in termination. Prior to trial, the defendants admitted liability for abuse and wrongful death. During trial, the defendants admitted liability for negligent hiring, training and supervision when they failed to terminate the caregiver after the van abandonment and when they failed to monitor the terms of her probation.

The trial lasted ten days. The jury deliberated for 4= hours before rendering its unanimous verdict in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant. The jury found for Plaintiffs on all claims. The jury awarded the estate the sum of $________, the 9 3 father the sum of $________ and the mother the sum of $________. The State of Arizona is jointly and severally liable for the verdict on the theory it had a non-delegable duty to provide care.

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