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Punitive damages award pushes nursing home total to $1 million

[08/20/04] Jurors have added $300,000 in punitive damages against owners and others associated with a nursing home in Vicksburg, increasing total damages in a civil suit to $1 million.

The suit alleged an elderly woman was neglected and sexually abused while a resident of Shady Lawn, 60 Shady Lawn Place.

A $700,000 actual damage award followed a seven-day, Warren County Circuit Court trial that ended July 27. The punitive-damage award came Aug. 10 after the jury had reconvened a day to deliberate.

The jury assigned actual-damage liability in amounts of $100,000 to each of seven defendants. In assigning punitive-damage liability, the jury said one of those defendants, the Japanese company Toyo Jitsugyo Co. Ltd., owed an additional $200,000 and another company, Vanguard Healthcare LLC, owed an additional $100,000.

At least four of the seven companies are based in the Nashville area. No address for Vanguard Healthcare LLC is listed in Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office company-registration records.

The nursing home itself was not one of the defendants.

The lawsuit, brought by a daughter, said the mother was assaulted by another resident of the facility. The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office handles criminal aspects of such cases. It received and investigated a report of the alleged assault finding, however, that both people involved in the alleged assault were mentally impaired to an extent that would have precluded any prosecution, a special assistant attorney general has said.

The Vicksburg Post does not identify victims of sexual assaults.