Nursing assistant sentenced to jail in Florida nursing home abuse case

Nursing home abuse and neglect was at the forefront of a recent case in which a former certified nursing assistant in Florida received a five-month jail sentence and five years of probation for the abuse of a nursing home resident, which was caught on a hidden camera.

The Florida woman was charged with battery on the elderly after video from the hidden camera showed her and another nursing assistant abusing a 76-year-old Alzheimer’s patient. The incident occurred at a nursing home in Winter Haven, Florida.

The nursing assistants are shown in the video footage hitting, kicking and taunting the nursing home resident on three occasions in 2014. The other nursing assistant previously received an 18-month prison sentence and five years of probation.

The family of the nursing home resident noticed bruising on the man’s body, which led them to place a hidden camera in his room, inside a clock. The man has since passed away.

The nursing assistant’s sentence also includes forfeiting her nursing license, writing a letter of apology to the man’s family, and undergoing a 26-week batterer intervention program.

The case was influential in a movement by the legislatures of several states to allow hidden cameras in the rooms of nursing home residents.

If you suspect that your loved one may have been a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, contact Joyce & Reyes for a free consultation.

Florida traffic deaths on the rise

In 2012, government agencies set a goal of reducing deaths from Florida car accidents by 5 percent per year. That effort has now officially crashed.

According to preliminary numbers from the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 2,939 traffic fatalities in Florida in 2015, a 17.8 percent rise over the 2014 total of 2,494.

Not only did highway deaths increase over last year, but the state failed to meet its projected decrease for the third year in a row. In 2012, Florida began its safety initiative with a baseline of 2,431 traffic fatalities, an average of the totals from 2006 to 2010. In 2013, the state had 100 more traffic fatalities than the 5 percent reduction projected, and in 2014 the total was 300 deaths over the reduction goal.

In 2015, if the 5 percent per year projection had held true, there would have been 2,084 deaths on Florida’s roads, but there were 855 more than that, so the state missed its goal by more than 40 percent.

It was no year-end surprise that traffic fatalities in Florida have been accelerating in the wrong direction. Last summer, the National Safety Council conducted an analysis that showed that there was a 29 percent increase in highway deaths in Florida, and a 14 percent increase nationally, in the first half of 2015, compared to the same six-month period in 2014.

Safety experts lay the blame on poorly-designed roads, a lack of focus on traffic safety on the part of state officials, and driver negligence.

Florida pill mill shut down, 11 arrested

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that an alleged Florida pill mill has been shut down. The closing of Swain Medical Center followed a multi-year investigation by authorities. Eleven people were arrested in connection with the case, and one remains at large.

According to authorities, the pill mill filled fraudulent prescriptions for over one million doses of pain medication, including oxycodone and hydromorphone. The highly addictive prescription pain pills have an estimated street value in excess of $16 million, authorities said.

Authorities said that the defendants used unlicensed medical workers as well as doctors to issue fraudulent prescriptions for medications that were then sold throughout South Florida. Prescriptions issued by the center were found as far away as Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

The defendants face charges including conspiracy to sell illegal drugs, conspiracy to sell oxycodone, and racketeering. They will be prosecuted by the Office of Statewide Prosecution, part of the Attorney General’s Office. There is a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence associated with the drug trafficking conspiracy charges.

People who fraudulently or negligently prescribe medications that cause harm to users may also face civil lawsuits. People who are injured as a result of pharmaceutical negligence may be able to obtain compensation through a lawsuit. Contact Joyce & Reyes for more information.

Wrongful death lawsuit filed by widow of Florida man killed in theater

The widow of a man shot to death in a Tampa Bay area theater has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the theater, one of its employees and its developer.

Nicole Oulson, widow of Chad Oulson, seeks a jury trial and more than $15,000 in damages.

The lawsuit, filed in Circuit Court in Dade City, Florida, claims that Nicole Oulson, who was also shot, suffered mental anguish, permanent bodily injury, disability and disfigurement.

Charges of second-degree murder for Chad Oulson’s death and aggravated battery for the shooting of Nicole Oulson were filed against retired Tampa police captain Curtis Reeves.

Nicole Oulson’s lawsuit claims that Reeves was confrontational with the Oulsons before the shooting, and complained to theater staff that Chad Oulson was using his cell phone during the movie previews. According to the lawsuit, theater staff should have responded to prevent the potentially dangerous situation from escalating.

The lawsuit names as defendants Cobb Theatres, Oakley Grove Development and Thomas Peck, who worked at the theater.

Nicole Oulson’s lawsuit also claims that the theater was negligent in training Peck, and did not have procedures in place to enforce its policy against firearms. The lawsuit alleges that the developer had a duty not to allow a dangerous situation to exist on its property.

In his criminal case, Reeves has attempted to have the charges dismissed by invoking Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.