Eadie Hill Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Villa St. Joseph for Edward Kothera’s Family

An image of the Villa St. Joseph nursing home building with the company logo and the word lawsuit as a red ink stamp superimposed on it.
Eadie Hill Trial Lawyers has filed a wrongful death action on behalf of Edward Kothera estate. The lawsuit is filed in Cuyahoga County, Ohio common pleas court.
Image: Villa St. Joseph via LinkedIn

This is a wrongful death and negligence case involving Villa St. Joseph’s substandard care, which resulted in physical injuries, pain and suffering, and wrongful death for one of their residents, Edward Kothera, after he fell several times and suffered multiple injuries, including a broken hip and a brain bleed. 

Mr. Kothera died on December 24, 2019, according to the lawsuit, and his death was caused by “blunt strikes to the head with subdural hematoma” caused by falls on December 11, 2019, and December 13, 2019, at Villa St. Joseph. The Medical Examiner’s decision is the legally recognized cause of death, and it creates a rebuttable presumption in court. R.C. 313.19.

According to the filed complaints, Defendants are Ohio corporations responsible for providing care and services to residents of Villa St. Joseph (the “Facility”). The defendants hired the caregivers who were in charge of Edward Kothera’s care and safety. The nursing staff at the Facility is managed, controlled, and/or employed by the defendants. Defendants are vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their employees and agents (respondeat superior and agency liability) and/or independent contractors (Clark v. Southview agency by estoppel), including visiting physicians and nurse practitioners contracted with any of Defendants and/or provided to residents as default or house care providers.

Misleading Advertising

The lawsuit alleges that:

The for-profit business model of the defendants indicates that their primary purpose is to maximize profit, as measured by revenues (from residents and patients) minus expenses (the largest of which is staffing costs).

Residents (filling beds) are the main individual revenue stream for nursing homes, while the cost of employing nursing staff to give care to those residents is the largest individual expense. This creates a financial incentive for nursing homes to take on more residents with higher care needs than they can adequately care for, in violation of federal nursing home staffing regulations.

Defendants have actual control over the management and operations of the Facilities in order to maximize profits, including control over facility-level: Policies and procedures, including regarding resident care; Finances, including obtaining credit and loans, guaranteeing loans (both at the corporate and individual facility level), maintaining funds and banking, obtaining, owning, and leasing facility land and buildings, and capital expenditures; Budgeting, including controlling the amount of funds available for staffing facilities; Personnel management, including hiring and firing, or having authority to hire and fire, the supervisory and management personnel in each facility; Supervision of management, care providers, and staff in each facility, including compliance with federal and state regulations; Employment, such as setting pay scales, shifts, and time and vacation policies; Systems for training, monitoring, and supervising staff; Medical record systems and management; Financial control systems, including budgeting and payment processing; Marketing, including setting the image and expectations residents and their family should expect at associated facilities, and even the name of the facility; Reporting procedures, including reporting to Medicare as to individual resident care and facility-wide issues.

Defendants in this case have control over decisions that affect the day-to-day care of Villa St. Joseph residents, such as the resources available for providing nursing staff and care to residents like Edward Kothera, which means they are liable for any foreseeable harm caused by careless decisions made while voluntarily exercising that control.

Every nursing home that receives Medicare or Medicaid funds, including those in this case, is required to provide considerable amounts of data to the government agency that governs nursing home operations, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or “Medicare.” This information is provided in “Minimum Data Set” evaluations of residents’ care needs and treatment, as well as “cost reports” providing information on the staffing levels, pay scales, hours worked, payments to companies considered as commonly owned (called “related-party transactions”), and more. Some of the data given by Defendants is used by Medicare to create its nursing home 5-star rating system, often known as “Nursing Home Compare,” which Defendants utilize to sell their facilities and which the public can use to choose or evaluate nursing homes. This evaluation is done on all nursing home residents, regardless of whether or not their care is covered by Medicare. Despite this information, the defendants purposefully understaff the facilities in order to make more money, resulting in an increase in preventable resident injuries and deaths from things like falls, dehydration, malnutrition, bedsores (pressure ulcers), and infections like urinary tract infections and sepsis.

The nursing staff is overworked and unable to provide needed care to all residents, such as turning and positioning (leading to bedsores and infections), changing incontinent residents (leading to bedsores and infections), toileting residents (leading to increased falls and other issues), and assisting residents with eating and drinking (leading to increased falls and other issues) (leading to dehydration, malnutrition, choking, and other complications).

Defendants failed to guarantee that Villa St. Joseph was adequately staffed, well managed, and staff well trained to satisfy Edward Kothera’s particular needs through their operational, budgetary, consultative, and managerial decisions and actions.

Edward Kothera did not receive basic and necessary services as a result of a shortage of employees, bad management, and inadequate training, which resulted in, among other things, negligence resulting to injuries and death. While a resident at Villa St. Joseph, Edward Kothera was allowed to fall on several occasions, resulting in injuries that required hospitalization. Edward Kothera suffered a subdural hematoma after breaking his right hip. Each of these wounds was caused by falls while under the care of Defendants’ employees. 

Edward Kothera suffered permanent injury and loss as a direct and proximate effect of the negligence indicated above, including but not limited to conscious pain and suffering, disability, and large medical expenses, and these physical injuries led his untimely and wrongful death.

What’s the Purpose of a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

As unfortunate deaths in nursing homes continue to claim lives, families should be informed of what they may do to assist others. A lawsuit can help hold the facility and its employees accountable for a loved one’s death. A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in Ohio on behalf of the remaining family members. By initiating this lawsuit, the family seeks to raise awareness about nursing home mistreatment and prevent future injuries to nursing home patients.

Who is Marymount Health Care Systems

The Village at Marymount, Villa St. Joseph; Village of Marymount d.b.a. Villa St. Joseph; Village at Marymount;  according to their website, is a healing companion for residents, families, staff, and visitors, providing prayer, support, and comfort. From apartment-style assisted living to outpatient therapy, they try to provide complete care in the Catholic tradition. You may rest assured that at The Village at Marymount, you will receive award-winning care in every aspect of your life. Each resident has everything they need to reach their specific goals, with a focus on skilled and intermediate nursing care, short-term rehabilitation, memory care, and outpatient therapy. The different clinical needs of everyone on campus can be met with 142 beds. A specific care plan for each resident is developed with great care. Residents’ lives are challenged and enriched by engaging activities. Residents and their families may rest easy in a secure memory care community.

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