Posts tagged with "nursing home"

State of Mind Hearsay Exception Did Not Apply to Letter Allegedly Condoning Larcenous Actions

Appellate Court of Connecticut: Larceny-Related Convictions

In a criminal law matter involving a hearsay exception, the Appellate Court of Connecticut affirmed the defendant’s larceny-related convictions, finding the trial court did not improperly exclude evidence.

In this case, the defendant was the victim’s resident health care aide. Over the course of two-and-a-half years, the defendant used the victim’s signature stamp to draft more than $300,000 in checks, drawn from the victim’s life savings, payable to herself and her relatives. When the victim was hospitalized, to his shock and dismay, he learned that his savings were wiped out. He had to obtain State financial assistance and could not return home, instead dying in a nursing home ten months later.

The defendant was charged with larceny in the first degree, larceny in the first degree by embezzlement, and larceny in the second degree. At trial, she attempted to introduce a letter drafted by her daughter, allegedly signed by the victim and permitting the transfer of money from him to the defendant. On the signature line was an “X,” and the daughter testified that she did not know who put it on the writing. The defendant admitted that the document was hearsay, but fell under the “state of mind” exception.

The State objected to its admission, arguing that it was past looking and lacked authentication, thus making it unreliable. The trial court agreed and sustained the objection. Subsequently, the defendant was convicted on all counts and appealed, arguing that the trial court improperly excluded the letter from evidence.

§ 8-3(4) of the Connecticut Code of Evidence

Under § 8-3(4) of the Connecticut Code of Evidence one will find the state of mind exception to the hearsay rule. This section provides:

[A] statement of the declarant’s then-existing mental or emotional condition, including a statement indicating a present intention to do a particular act in the immediate future, provided that the statement is a natural expression of the condition and is not a statement of memory or belief to prove the fact remembered or believed [will not be excludable hearsay].

In this case, the Appellate Court agreed that the document did not fall under the state of mind exception. The trial court did not err in excluding it from evidence, finding it not sufficiently reliable to qualify: the document could not be authenticated because the victim was dead, and the placement of the X could not be explained. Therefore, the judgment was affirmed.

Written by Lindsay E. Raber, Esq.

When faced with a charge of larceny, an individual is best served by consulting with an experienced criminal law practitioner. Should you have any questions regarding criminal defense, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at

$900 Million Verdict Against Nursing Home with Substandard Care

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.

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 our Westport office by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at

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