Reigel, Janis v. SavaSeniorCare LLC et al
Adams County District Court, 2007CV126
Janis Reigel brought claims for negligence resulting in wrongful death and for extreme and outrageous conduct against Alpine Living Center, a nursing and rehabilitation facility in Thornton, Colorado, and its owner, Sava Senior Care.
Mrs. Reigel’s husband, Dennis Reigel, had fallen in a grocery store parking lot and injured his back. Following his treatment at a hospital, it was determined that he needed one week of rehabilitation therapies so he could get stronger before going home, and was placed at Alpine Living Center. Mr. Reigel was 66-years-old at the time of his admission to Alpine, and had Stage III-IV lung cancer and a complex medical history and prognosis.
The day before Mr. Reigel was set to be discharged home from Alpine, he began exhibiting signs and symptoms of a heart attack. However, the nurses and staff at the facility did nothing to follow up or treat these symptoms. The following morning his wife came to pick him up from Alpine to take him home. As soon as Mrs. Reigel saw him, she immediately knew something was wrong. Mr. Reigel was sweaty, clammy, restless and short of breath. Mrs. Reigel spent several hours trying to get help for her husband and to get him sent out to the hospital for emergency care. Mrs. Reigel was told by the Alpine staff that she was overreacting and that her husband was fine. Mr. Reigel was finally sent out to the hospital later that evening, where it was determined that he had suffered a heart attack 24 to 48 hours earlier. Because of the delay in treatment, Mr. Reigel died at the hospital that night.
The case was tried to an Adams County jury on January 19-26, 2010. In addition to the claims for negligence resulting in wrongful death and for extreme and outrageous conduct, the jury was also asked to award punitive damages against the nursing home company for failing to correct the known staffing and regulatory problems that had resulted in this situation for the Reigels. On January 27, 2010 the jury entered its verdict in favor of Mrs. Reigel for $75,000.00 on the claim for Mr. Reigel’s wrongful death, with $150,000.00 in punitive damages on that claim, and $125,000.00 for the extreme and outrageous conduct the facility engaged in toward Mrs. Reigel, with $100,000.00 in punitive damages on that claim.
The total verdict entered by the jury in favor of Janis Reigel was for $450,000.00.