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Brannock Berman & Seider Defends Multimillion-Dollar Jury Verdict

The Sixth District Court of Appeal sided with Brannock Berman & Seider’s arguments on behalf of a plaintiff who was awarded millions by a jury after suffering gruesome injuries due to the negligence of an Orlando-area nursing home.

The case involved a remarkable plaintiff. Born with spina bifida and paralyzed from the waist down, she earned a master’s degree, taught at local schools for 33 years, and lived a self-sufficient and full life with friends and family. At age 67, she broke her right leg—an injury that had to be repaired surgically—and she was sent to a nursing facility to recover. Because of the severity of the injury and her paralysis, she was at high risk for a pressure wound. To avoid one developing, the nursing facility’s own procedures, which align with the accepted medical standard of care, required the staff to turn her at least once every two hours. But by its own admission, the facility failed to do so. The resulting pressure wound was so severe that it spread all the way down to the bone and became infected. The plaintiff’s life was never the same.

Following a two-week trial, the jury found the facility negligent and awarded the plaintiff more than $10.7 million in damages. The facility appealed, challenging the denial of its motion for directed verdict, the adequacy of the jury instructions, and the denial of its motion for a new trial. In an exhaustive written brief and at oral argument, Brannock Berman & Seider persuasively dispelled the idea that any harmful error had occurred at trial. The firm argued—and the Sixth District agreed—that there was substantial evidence to support the jury’s finding of negligence, that the trial court properly instructed the jury on the applicable law, and that no new trial was warranted. The plaintiff will thus be entitled to the full amount of the jury’s award.