West Virginia Record

Monday, February 24, 2020

Estate administrator alleges negligence of VOCA caused man’s choking death

By Philip Gonzales | Dec 28, 2017

General court 07

LOGAN – An estate administrator has filed suit against a group home after her decedent choked while eating a peanut butter sandwich.

Barbara Meredith, as administratrix of the estate of Donnie E. Hale, filed a complaint Nov. 20 in Logan Circuit Court against VOCA Corp. of West Virginia Inc. alleging negligence.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that on Dec. 5, 2015, Donnie Hale, a mentally impaired man, was a client/consumer at defendant VOCA's group home facility in Amherstdale when he experienced choking after eating a peanut butter sandwich. The suit states he remained on life support until his death on Dec. 15, 2015. 

The plaintiff holds VOCA Corp. of West Virginia Inc. responsible because the defendant allegedly failed to properly prepare and present food to Hale in accordance with its group home diets and mainstay substitutes lists and failed to properly monitor Hale's ingestion and access to food and drink to prevent a known choking risk.

The plaintiff seeks economic, compensatory and punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs, attorney's fees and such other just and proper relief. She is represented by Chad S. Lovejoy and Kenneth R. Bannon of Duffield, Lovejoy, Stemple & Boggs PLLC in Huntington. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Eric H. O'Briant.

Logan Circuit Court case number 17-C-310

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Organizations in this Story

Duffield, Lovejoy, Stemple & Boggs PLLCLogan Circuit Court