An Orange County jury has awarded the parents of a boy who died after a seizure $10.2 million compensation for a lack of care in a nursing home.
Kevin Barr was born seventeen weeks premature in 1997. At birth he weighed just more than one pound and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. When he was nine-years-old, Kevin became a full-time resident at Lonika´s Home Inc. in Mission Viejo, California – a specialist medical facility that promised it could provide 24-hour care.
However, early in the morning of 7th February 2012, Kevin was found in an unresponsive state following a seizure. None of the staff were able to perform CPR, and there was a delay of almost an hour before staff called 911. Tragically, Kevin died during the delay; and, when emergency services responded to the 911 call, staff at the nursing home failed to provide Kevin´s medical records.
Kevin´s parents – Mark and Michele Barr – sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a lack of care in a nursing home. In their lawsuit against Lonika´s Home Inc., Mark and Michele alleged that nursing staff had failed to give Kevin his anti-seizure medication, had avoidably delayed calling 911 and had attempted to cover up the cause of his death to prevent an autopsy.
The care home denied that it was liable for Kevin´s death and argued that he had died due to Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy Syndrome. The facility also denied that they had avoidably delayed calling 911 or attempted to cover up the cause of Kevin´s death by destroying his medication and concealing his medical records.
The claim for compensation for a lack of care in a nursing home went to the Superior Court of Orange County in Santa Ana, where it was heard by a jury in the court of Judge James J Di Casare. The jury was presented evidence to support Mark and Michele´s allegations of negligence and also to prove that the defendant had attempted to conceal evidence of negligence after Kevin´s death.
At the end of the eight-week trial, the jury found in Mark and Michele´s favor. The jury unanimously agreed that Kevin´s death was attributable to willful misconducted and that Lonika´s Home Inc. was guilty of “malice, oppression and fraud” in trying to cover up its negligence. Mark and Michele were awarded $5.7 million compensation for a lack of care in a nursing home and a further $4.5 million in punitive damages.