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Recent Pa. Supreme Court Decision Protects Rights for Nursing Home Residents

Scampone v. Highland Park Care Center, LLC, Pa. Supreme Court, November 2012.

In November of 2012, the Pa. Supreme Court sent a case back to the trial court with instructions to reconsider whether a nursing home and the corporate entity operating a nursing home could be held directly responsible for failures like understaffing and failing to provide the resources necessary for nursing home employees to do their job.

Ms. Scampone had passed away because of heart problems related to dehydration and failure to timely recognize urinary tract infections. A jury had awarded her estate, approximately $190,000. That was just against the owner of the nursing home, though, and it only considered the actions of the people providing the service and treatment to Ms. Scampone.

The question before the Supreme Court was whether the home could itself be liable for the personnel and supply decisions it made, and whether the operator of the nursing home, a separate legal entity could itself be held responsible for similar decisions.

The Pa. Supreme Court’s opinion, determined that the nursing home could be held directly liable, and that the operator itself could be liable for its role in failing to provide the resources necessary to protect Ms. Scampone.

This was an important decision for nursing home residents in Pennsylvania, and for those who have loved ones in nursing homes. In a climate where many nursing homes are structured in a manner, legally, which puts different parts of the operations under different legal entities, this opinion will provide traction against the corporate “person” who may be most negligent.  Schmidt Kramer injury lawyers in Harrisburg may be able to help if you or a loved one has been injured because of the neglect of a nursing home.


Joe Chapman

January 9, 2013