In the Courts: Plaintiffs May Sue for “Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent Person”

August 2, 2013 | Aging Services Risk Management


​Ruling on three claims against a nursing home and its owners and operators for negligence based on violations of statutes and regulations (negligence per se), the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky has allowed one of the claims to proceed, largely dismissing the other two. In so doing, the court permitted the plaintiffs to bring a civil claim based on a provision of a state law that makes it a criminal misdemeanor to endanger the welfare of an incompetent person.

The court opinion gives few details regarding the resident’s care. She had been receiving care at the nursing home for over six weeks when she was transferred to the hospital; she died four days later. The executrix of the estate sued, asserting several claims, including negligence, medical negligence, corporate negligence, wrongful death, and negligence per se. On appeal, the defendants moved for judgment only on the...

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