Miss. law firm files nursing home suit in Boone County

MADISON - A Hattiesburg, Miss., law firm details 12 counts in a wrongful death suit against Advocate, Inc., and others and is seeking jury trial in Boone Circuit Court.

Michael J. Fuller Jr., of McHugh Fuller Law Group, PLLC, filed the complaint Oct. 22 on behalf of Earnest Johnson, individually, and on behalf of the Estate and Wrongful Death Beneficiaries of Kathryn Clay.

Decedent, then age 73, was admitted to Boone Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in late May 2010, and she died Sept. 3, 2011.

The complaint claims Clay suffered personal injuries and damages while residing in the Danville skilled nursing facility.

Defendants are headed by Advocate, Inc., a Delaware corporation with principal location at Brentwood, Tenn. Others named include: Diversicare Leasing Corp.; Diversicare Management Services Co.; Sterling Health Care Management, Inc.; Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc.; Steven Gardner, administrator of accused nursing home; John Does 1 through 10; and Unidentified Entities 1 through 10 (as to Boone Nursing & Rehabilitation Center).

The suit says, "Defendants owned, operated, managed and/or controlled Boone Nursing & Rehabilitation Center...and are therefore directly liable for all the care provided."

Fuller's complaint "package," measuring some inch-and-a-quarter thick, spells out 12 counts, mentioning accusations such as negligence for non-lethal and lethal injuries, violations of state nursing home requirements, medical malpractices, willful, wanton, or reckless disregard for Clay's safety, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

The complaint prays for a jury to determine damages exceeding the minimum jurisdictional amount and adequate to compensate for all injuries and damage sustained, litigating costs, punitive damage sufficient to punish Defendants for egregious conduct and deter repeating such atrocities, plus all other legally entitled relief.

Counsel for Defendants, Steptoe & Johnson Attorney Michael D. Mullins of Charleston, responds by listing 13 defenses. Included is a motion to stay proceedings pending resolution of arbitration requested in U.S. District Court for Southern District of West Virginia. Mullins presents that "On May 21, 2010, Plaintiff executed and contractually agreed to arbitrate on any and all claims...on behalf of his mother, Kathryn Clay."

No trial date is projected for Boone Circuit Court and Judge William S. Thompson.

Boone Circuit Court case number: 12-C-221

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