In the Courts: Case Involving Choking Death to Proceed against Assisted-Living Facility

August 28, 2015 | Aging Services Risk Management


In a lawsuit against the operator of an assisted-living facility and its parent company involving a resident who died after choking on her food, the U.S. district court for the district of New Jersey has denied the defendants' motions for summary judgment regarding the negligence, punitive-damages, and "piercing the corporate veil" claims but dismissed the claims based on statutory violations.

About two years after the resident moved into the facility, a nurse found the resident choking on her food and performed the Heimlich maneuver, dislodging the obstruction. The resident went to the hospital for observation and returned later the same day. No reassessment was performed. Although the nurse said she completed an incident report, the defendants were unable to locate it during litigation. Staff informed the resident's physician the next...

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