On the Pulse… Following the Bouncing Ball in Long-Term Care

Defense Digest, Vol. 24, No. 4, December 2018

By T. Kevin FitzPatrick, Esq. & Robin B. Snyder, Esq.*

Our Health Care Department has many experienced lawyers who are accomplished in handling law suits in the ever-changing landscape of long-term care litigation. These cases include defending nursing homes, personal care homes, and assisted living facilities against claims ranging from pressure ulcers to amputations, falls and elopements, and allegations of "typical" medical negligence. They can involve tricky licensing issues where citations have been issued by the Department of Health, uneducated and disinterested witnesses with little loyalty to the defendant, catastrophic injuries to a sympathetic elderly population, and large Medicare conditional payments. 

The defense of long-term care matters continues to present multiple challenges. Care generally involves an at-risk patient population, staff turnover is common, documentation issues are common, and policies and procedures are scrutinized. Additionally, since the Pennsylvania Superior Court's 2017 decision in Scampone v. Grane Healthcare Co., (2017 Pa.Super. LEXIS (Pa.Super. Aug. 8, 2017)), management companies can now be implicated and Department of Health surveys can be used to support claims for punitive damages.

Our Long-Term Care Litigation Practice Group is led by Leslie Jenny, managing attorney of our Cleveland, Ohio office, and Lynne Nahmani, supervising health care attorney in our Mount Laurel, New Jersey office. Both women have substantial trial experience and strong long-term care client bases. Lynne has litigated hundreds of cases in the state and federal courts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and before  professional boards. She provides legal counsel to physicians, hospitals, nurses, allied health professionals, dentists, nursing homes and physician practices. Leslie is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM) and assists clients in litigation involving catastrophic future damages. In fact, she litigated one of the very first cases where the trial court allowed defense counsel to utilize the Affordable Care Act to reduce an award for future damages. In Jones v. Metro Health, decided May 2015 in Cuyahoga County Ohio, Judge Suster relied upon provisions of the ACA and portions of Ohio law related to damage caps to reduce a $14.5 million jury award of medical expenses by $11 million.

Stacy Starcher practices alongside Leslie in Cleveland. Board certified in Trial Advocacy and Civil Procedure by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Stacy has tried dozens of cases of alleged medical negligence to verdict throughout Ohio. She also defends health care professionals in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Keith Hansbrough, Jillian Dinehart  and Jason Ferrante round out the Ohio long-term care team.

Sharon Campbell Suplee is also highly experienced in litigating long-term care cases. Working with Lynne in southern New Jersey, Sharon concentrates her practice in medical malpractice and nursing home negligence and has represented a large number of long-term care and sub-acute rehabilitation facilities. On the other end of the Garden State, Rosalind Herschthal, Julia Klubenspies and Frank Leanza are the "go-to" attorneys for long-term care clients. The combined effort of all of our New Jersey health care attorneys led to the group's recognition as a finalist in the 2018 The American Lawyer Regional (New Jersey) Litigation Department of the Year competition.

In Pennsylvania, we are proud that our Health Care Department has twice—2016 and 2012—been honored with the "Litigation Department of the Year" award from The Legal Intelligencer and ALM Media. Clients appreciate that we can offer statewide representation from our Philadelphia headquarters and our seven regional offices. In Allentown, Candy Barr Heimbach, Paul Laughlin and Michelle Wilson advocate on behalf of a variety of long-term care clients; in Philadelphia, William Banton leads the group; in Scranton, Victoria Scanlon, Matthew Keris and Robert Aldrich represent numerous long-term care clients; in Harrisburg, Kevin Osborne and Michael Mongiello manage these cases; in Pittsburgh, Anthony Williott has a large long-term care client base; and in King of Prussia, Daniel Sherry, Donna Modestine, Joan Orsini-Ford and Jacqueline Reynolds make up our experienced team.

In Florida, Janice Merrill, Bradley Blystone and Chanel Mosley comprise the long-term care litigation team. Brad has 26 years of experience handling high-exposure medical malpractice cases in Florida, and Janice has 30 years of experience. In addition to her litigation practice, Janice serves on a health care client's Quality Assurance Committee where she regularly receives calls to conduct investigations before litigation is filed and helps write admission agreement and vendor contracts for her clients.

Finally, in Wilmington, Delaware, Bradley Goewert, Lori Wolhar and Thomas Marcoz defend long-term care cases for a variety of nursing home and assisted living clients.

Wherever you are located, our long-term care attorneys are here to help and assist clients with the myriad issues and ever-changing landscape in the long-term care arena.  Current clients and potential clients are encouraged to reach out to any of our practitioners should they have a need for support with a pending claim or lawsuit. 

*Kevin, director of the Health Care Department, and Robin, assistant director of the department, work in our King of Prussia, Pennsylvania office. Kevin can be reached at 610.354.8252 or tkfitzpatrick@mdwcg.com, and Robin can be reached at 484.754.7818 or rbsnyder@mdwcg.com.


Defense Digest, Vol. 24, No. 4, December 2018. Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING pursuant to New York RPC 7.1. © 2018 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm. For reprints, contact tamontemuro@mdwcg.com.