Sam Rios, Jr., former Sacramento State Professor

“We hope and pray this verdict sends the message loud and clear to nursing home operators across the nation that understaffing to increase profit at the expense of patient care will not be tolerated,” said attorney Jay Renneisen

Judgment was entered today on a $30.9 million jury verdict issued this week against long term care provider Plum Healthcare and its skilled nursing facility known as Pine Creek Care Center in Roseville, California. The plaintiffs in the case, Sam Rios, Jr., deceased, his wife and his eight adult children, were represented by attorneys Edward P. Dudensing, Jay P. Renneisen and Andrew J. Collins.

After a ten week trial, the Sacramento jury found defendants Plum Healthcare and its parent company Bay Bridge Capital Partners liable for reckless, malicious, oppressive and fraudulent conduct in the care of Sam Rios, Jr., who was an 86-year-old resident in their skilled nursing facility for two weeks in April of 2017. The verdict is believed to be the largest nursing home elder abuse verdict ever in the greater Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area regions.

The jury’s verdict was based on evidence that Mr. Rios acquired severe pressure sores, also known as bedsores, as a result of an ongoing pattern of neglect and understaffing at the nursing home. The main reason for the extreme failures in the care of Mr. Rios, according to the plaintiffs, was understaffing of the facility in order to increase profit.

“Mr. Rios suffered from a horrific Stage IV to-the-bone pressure ulcer for 330 days and then died because of Plum’s horrible plan to understaff this nursing facility despite knowing patient care and safety were being compromised,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Jay Renneisen who tried the case with attorneys Edward P. Dudensing and Andrew J. Collins. “In just two weeks, Plum staff’s utter neglect of Mr. Rios ruined his life, left him in constant agony, and ultimately helped lead to his death,” said attorney Ed Dudensing.

The total verdict in favor of plaintiffs was $5.9 million in compensatory damages plus $25 million in punitive damages.

“Sam Rios was a beloved husband of over 40 years to Christina, his soul mate, and he was loved so dearly by each of his eight kids, Sammy, Ruben, Velin, Reyes, Tomas, Bernardo, Tony and Olivia. He was also a professor of Chicano Studies at Sacramento State for over 30 years, a military veteran, a civil rights activist, and a true pillar of our community. He deserved better than what Plum did to him and his family. No one’s spouse or parent deserves to be treated like that,” said attorney Jay Renneisen.

The case is Sam Rios Jr., et al. v. Pine Creek Care Center, Plum Healthcare Group, LLC, et al., Sacramento Superior Court, Case No. 34-2018-00244263.