CHARLESTON -- A woman is suing Friends at Home Care Inc. and Elder Aide Services after her credit card was stolen by a home caregiver.

On Dec. 23, 2008, Helen E. Stilwell's niece contacted the defendants to provide caregiver services for Stilwell, according to a complaint filed Nov. 23 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Leah Marie Lowe became Stilwell's caregiver, according to the suit.

Stilwell claims on Jan. 5, Lowe wrongfully and without permission, took and used Stilwell's credit card.

According to the suit, as part of Lowe's plan to unlawfully use Stilwell's funds, she over medicated Stilwell with pain medications, and then left her unattended, greatly jeopardizing her health and safety.

Stilwell's neighbor, a registered nurse who often came to visit her, found her in an "incoherent and confused state induced by over medication."

The defendants failed to exercise reasonable care in selecting and hiring, or contracting with Lowe to perform work as a caregiver, according to the suit.

Stilwell is suing for compensatory and punitive damages for breach of contract and five counts of negligence. Robert B. Allen and Robert H. Akers of Allen, Guthrie & Thomas are representing her.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-2180

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