April 11, 2014

 Contact: Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
Managing Partner/Operations
305-670-1101 Ext. 1023


Negligence / Breach of Duty

Scott Teich

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida ― Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. (QPWB) trial attorney Scott M. Teich, a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office, received a defense verdict arbitrated before the American Arbitration Association (AAA) on behalf of a Broward County community with independent living and assisted living options involving an 89-year-old Claimant who said she chose this Community because it offered an “I’m okay” button.
The residents were to push the “I’m okay” button each morning, upon waking, to let the Community know that they were okay.  Those residents who did not push the button by 10 a.m. were telephoned.  Those residents who did not push the button, and did not respond to the telephone call, were checked on by security personnel.  The Claimant introduced testimony regarding promises made by the Community regarding this system and she claimed to have selected the Community because of the existence of the system.
On June 14, 2009 the Claimant slipped and fell in her shower at 4 p.m.  She did not push the button on June 15, 2009 and she did not push the button on June 16, 2009.  She claimed to lay on the shower floor without food or water, for 41 hours, until being found by a housekeeper at approximately 9 a.m. on June 16, 2009.  Fire rescue responded and had to remove the shower door to extract her from the shower.  The Claimant refused treatment and refused to be transferred to the hospital.  She presented to her primary care physician several days later with back pain, neck pain, alleged bruising and claiming to be dehydrated.  The physician told her to follow up in six months.  At arbitration she introduced testimony that she required extensive therapy, skilled nursing care and private duty aides since the incident and as a result of this incident.  This was all supported by expert testimony.
The defense obtained all of the Claimant’s records and found extensive pre-existing arthritis in the shoulders, neck and back, prior back surgery and extensive medical treatment over the years for neck, back and shoulder complaints.  Our geriatric medicine expert reviewed, in detail, all of the prior and subsequent records.  She opined that there were no injuries from the fall, but instead, that the Claimant’s current problems were pre-existing in nature, and were the result of the aging process, degenerative arthritis and a subsequent fall.  She opined that therapy, private duty assistance and skilled nursing care were not related to the 2009 incident.
After extensive pre-arbitration briefs, a full day hearing and post-hearing briefs, the Arbitrator found that the Claimant failed to prove damages proximately caused by the Community’s conduct.

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