A Floyd County Georgia jury Friday ordered a Sandy Springs lawyer and nursing home operator to pay $43.5 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. The award will go to the estate of a man whose family said negligent care led to his death at a Rome nursing facility that had been cited for repeated state and federal violations.
In the 52-page wrongful death complaint, filed in March of last year, Loretta Terhune, whose 80-year-old father, Morris Ellison, died April 17, 2007, charged the nursing home failed to provide adequate care. While a resident, he fell numerous times, breaking his hip. The nursing home also did not notify Ellison's doctors or family of his injuries.
"Mr. Houser, through his companies, systematically drained the money and resources from his nursing homes [and] caused all sorts of shortages of food, water and medicine and basic supplies," said Stephen G. Lowry, one of Terhune's two attorneys. "He was severely neglected at the time of his death, malnourished and severely dehydrated." At trial, a nursing home director testified the facility lacked the funds to pay its staff, do laundry and pay bills.
Moran Lake since has resumed operations under a different management company.