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decedent’s treating doctors were later
substituted in for “Doe” defendants,
but they settled out of the case prior
to trial. Thus, the matter proceeded to
trial against Pacifica of the Valley only.
Plaintiff’s counsel contended that
Romansky’s physicians had noted that
he presented a danger to himself and
others, and that he had suicidal and
homicidal tendencies. In addition,
he was hearing voices “telling him
to hurt others” and Pacifica failed to
direct staff to monitor him at appropriate intervals. Instead he was given
the lowest level of supervision and left
unmonitored for 30 minutes at a time.
Counsel argued that Pacifica completely
disregarded Camacho’s and Romansky’s
safety and failed to adhere to policies
and procedures that were specifically designed to ensure patients’ safety.
Pacifica’s counsel argued that Roman-
sky’s physicians agreed that he was im-
proving and were debating whether or
not to discharge him. They also contend-
ed that the bracket in the bathroom had
been inspected by accrediting agencies
and the state of California, and no one
considered the item to be dangerous.
The jury returned a unanimous
verdict against Pacifica of the Valley
Corp., finding them 100 percent liable
for Camacho’s wrongful death. They
determined that Pacifica should pay
the plaintiff compensatory damages,
including funeral and burial expenses, totaling $2.26 million. Since they
found that Pacifica acted with malice
or oppression, they also considered
punitive damages, awarding Camacho’s father $3 million in punitive
damages against Pacifica for a total recovery of $5.26 million. Pacifica’s counsel
moved for a new trial and is contemplating an appeal.
Compiled and edited by Patricia L. Harman
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