The Allegations

The largest personal injury verdict of the year was for $900 million, which included $700 million in punitive damages. In Webb v. Trans Healthcare Inc., the plaintiff was a resident at a nursing home operated by the defendant. He claimed to have suffered numerous injuries, including multiple infections and large bedsores.

The complaint alleged that after Webb entered the facility following a stroke, he suffered paralysis and was in need of 24-hour care. Webb had pressure sores on his feet, legs and buttocks. He also had unexplained weight loss and multiple infections. The complaint claimed that the defendant corporations were withdrawing money from the nursing home they owned, resulting in substandard care.

Trans Health Management Inc. is no longer in business, and its parent corporation, Trans Healthcare Inc., is in receivership. The Maryland receivership stopped defending the case in 2010, after the plaintiff’s firm promised not to bring any further claims, according to the receivership’s attorney, Maria Chavez-Ruark. Circuit Judge Victor Hulslander did not grant Chavez-Ruark’s motion to delay the trial, and he barred her from the courtroom. She vowed to appeal if a new trial is not granted. With the company in receivership, Webb’s widow’s ability to collect on the judgment is uncertain. Webb died in 2010.

A Similar Case

Another nursing home resident was awarded $200 million, which included $140 million in punitive damages after a jury found the defendant liable for her death after a fall in Nunziata v. Trans Health Management. The defendant is part of the same set of corporations that were defendants in the Webb case.

Elvira Nunziata was 92 years old when she suffered a fall down a stairwell in the nursing home where she lived. Nunziata had dementia and was strapped into a wheelchair. She entered the stairwell through a door likely left open by employees taking a cigarette break. By the time of the jury award, the company that operated the nursing home no longer existed. One company had inherited the company’s assets and another its liabilities. The defendant was not represented at trial and the ability to collect on the judgment is in question.

By Paul Greenberg

At Maya Murphy, P.C., our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to achieving the best results for individuals and their families and loved ones whose daily lives have been disrupted by injury.  Our personal injury attorneys assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and throughout Fairfield County. If you have any questions relating nursing home care or a personal injury claim or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact Joseph Maya and the other experienced attorneys at our Westport office by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at