Guernsey v. Country Living Pers. Care Home(s), Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31450 (D. Pa. 2006)

Lillian Guernsey’s conservator brought suit alleging that Lillian was sexually assaulted by another resident at a personal care home. The case was tried to the court. The defendant conceded liability; after one defendant admitted negligence, Plaintiff moved for a directed verdict which was not opposed. The court found that compensatory damages were $300,000 and punitive damages were $800,000. Among the facts, the court found that management for the personal care home knew that the offending resident had previously been incarcerated for indecent assault and that he was designated as a violent sexual predator under Megan’s law. Management had not informed other employees and had taken no precautions in accepting the violator as a resident.

Note: Although the injury in this case is the type more likely to outrage the court, it is also noteworthy that this is a non-jury award and that an expert testified that, due to Alzheimer’s, Plaintiff had no painful recollection of the rape.

Note 2: Case cited in Wagner v. Onofrey, 2006 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 333 (Pa. C.P. 2006) for proposition that punitive damages are recoverable.

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