The Richmond Register

Local News

January 7, 2014

Trial starts in nursing home arbitration dispute

RICHMOND — A Madison County jury is being asked this week to decide whether a Berea woman had the capacity to understand an arbitration agreement she signed when she was admitted to a local nursing home in 2011.

Gary Newby, the son and administrator of Nora E. Chapple’s estate, is suing Extendicare Health Services Inc., the former operator of Kenwood Health and Rehabilitation Center, in Madison Circuit Court. Newby alleges in the lawsuit filed in 2012 that Chapple suffered poor care and negligence from the date of her admission, June 2, 2011, to her death Aug. 15, 2011.

In May 2012, Extendicare announced it was leasing all 21 of its Kentucky nursing homes to a third-party operator, stating in a news release that “the combination of a worsening litigation environment and the lack of any likelihood of tort reform in the State of Kentucky has made this the prudent decision for our company and unitholders.”

Extendicare also once operated Madison Manor nursing home.

The Newby lawsuit is one of 14 currently pending against Extendicare in connection with care residents received at its Richmond facilities. The oldest pending lawsuit was filed in 2010.

However, the jury empaneled Tuesday is not being asked to make any determinations about Chapple’s care. Rather, the question is whether the two arbitration agreements Chapple signed prior to her death are valid.

Nursing homes often ask that incoming residents, or their legal representatives, sign an agreement that requires them to take any care disputes to a professional arbitrator instead of filing a lawsuit in state court. Such agreements are voluntary in Kentucky, and residents cannot be denied admittance if they decide not to sign the contract.

Chapple “suffered excruciating pain” June 3 during her ambulance transfer from a Lexington hospital to Kenwood, said attorney Brian Jasper, who is representing Chapple’s children, during opening statements.

She was suffering from a fractured pelvis caused by a May 3 fall, and she was being sent to the nursing home for rehabilitation. Jasper said the woman was prescribed several pain medications and a muscle relaxer in the hours before her ambulance ride.

Jasper also said that Chapple’s doctor noted in the woman’s records that she was suffering from severe depression.

Soon after she arrived at Kenwood, a nursing home worker presented her with 30 to 40 pages of documents for her to sign, including the five-page arbitration agreement. Chapple signed all the paperwork while none of her family members were present, Jasper said.

Chapple was able later to leave Kenwood and go back to living at home, but she had another fall in late July that resulted in a second hip fracture. She returned to the Kenwood, again in pain, where she signed the second arbitration agreement, Jasper said.

She died a few weeks later on Aug. 15 at the age of 80.

“Did she have the capacity to understand these arbitration agreements on those dates?” Jasper asked, adding that would be what the jury must determine.

Jasper is an attorney with the firm of Wilkes & McHugh, P.A., which has offices in Lexington and three other states. The company’s website states its attorneys are “pioneers” in nursing home abuse litigation.

Lexington defense attorney J. Peter Cassidy III told the jury that Chapple’s physician, who had treated her for 10 years, would testify that she did not suffer from dementia and had been living independently up until her first fall in May 2011.

“She was her own boss,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy also said medical records show that Chapple had been taking pain medications for years to deal with osteoporosis and arthritis, and was aware of the medications and dosages she took, according to her doctor.

The paperwork associated with Chapple’s nursing home admissions will show that she was able to answer questions clearly on both dates, and testimony from the nursing home worker who filled out the documents with her will be presented to the jury, Cassidy said.

Finally, Chapple signed other documents, such as checks and a legal document turning over power of attorney to her son, between May 2011 and her death that August, Cassidy said. He argued that if she was capable and competent to sign those items then she was competent to sign the arbitration agreements.

The trial will continue today at 9 a.m. with testimony from family members and medical experts.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 4-23 Gravestone.jpg In search of the last resting place

    At a popular illegal dump site off Bybee Loop in Waco, two marble grave markers were among some items found there by Pat and Ronnie Aldridge, residents who live about 250 yards from the area.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fiscal court awards EMA bids

    Two more bids were awarded at Tuesday’s Madison County Fiscal Court meeting for the emergency operations agency.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-23 Peter Crowe.jpg Intoxicated man charged with wanton endangerment

    A 27-year-old Richmond man was charged Sunday with second-degree wanton endangerment after he was found intoxicated and walking with several young children in the Keystone Drive area, according to a Richmond police report.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Absentee voting available for May 20 election

    Walk-in absentee voting for the May 20 primary has begun and will continue until May 19, County Clerk Kenny Barger announced Tuesday at the Madison Fiscal Court meeting.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-23 Tab-a-PULLooza1.jpg Friday last day to collect pop tabs for Tab-a-Pullooza

    Before throwing that soda can in the recycling bin, twist off the pop tab and donate it to a local elementary or middle school for this year’s Tab-a-Pullooza celebration.

    April 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • Pot throwing downtown leads to arrest

    A Berea man was arrested Saturday after police say he damaged a downtown Richmond business and a parked vehicle by throwing flower pots.
    Jonathan A. McCullough, 34, was charged with first- and third-degree criminal mischief as well as alcohol intoxication, according to a Richmond police report.

    April 21, 2014

  • London police chief ordered to stay away from Berea woman

    A woman who who moved to Berea in February 2013 after a live-in relationship with London Police Chief Stewart O. Walker has obtained an emergency protective order against him from Madison Family Court.

    April 21, 2014

  • Task force reveals plan to make ‘Meaningful Math' matter

    It’s all too common to hear parents say, “I was never good at math...,” as if to excuse their children for not being good at math, said Madison County Schools Superintendent Elmer Thomas.

    April 21, 2014

  • WP_20140419_001.jpg Cruisin’ with the Oldies

    With the sound of classic songs wafting through the air Saturday, hundreds of people took advantage of the summer-like temperatures and turned out for the Kirksville Community Center car show.

    April 21, 2014 9 Photos

  • 4-18 Hong Kong 1.JPG Hong Kong fifth-graders visit Kit Carson

    A group of students from Hong Kong got a taste of the bluegrass last week thanks to an invitational education program at Kit Carson Elementary School.

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos

AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results