Preliminary Approval of Settlement Obtained

On September 10, 2010 the Honorable W. Bruce Watson granted preliminary approval to the settlement of the longest civil trial in Humboldt County history.   The settlement comes after the jury returned a $677 million dollar verdict in July.   Plaintiffs' counsel Timothy Needham and Michael Crowley advised the Eureka Times-Standard that they were confident the settlement was in the best interest of the class given the threat of bankruptcy that faced the nursing home entity after the verdict was announced, and given that the court’s injunction order will guarantee adequate staffing in Skilled Health’s facilities.

The case was in trial for 114 days, entailed over 100 depositions, over 140 law and motion matters, 12 writs and two appeals.  Additionally, more than 250,000 e-mails were produced in discovery, and the trial involved thousands of court documents.

The matter is scheduled for a final approval hearing on the class-action settlement agreement for November 29, 2010 before Judge Watson.

Portions of the recovery will go to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, as well as to the District Attorney offices of the counties in which Skilled has facilities outside of Humboldt County.

Humboldt County District Attorney, Paul Gallegos echoed the comments of Mr. Needham and Mr. Crowley, stating that getting the injunction in the case was the primary goal of the case all along, in order to protect the elders that are residents in these facilities.

The attorneys in the Janssen Law Firm are proud to have contributed to a case that has effected change in a positive direction, and will result in the protection of the elders in our community who require skilled nursing care.

Read the Times Standard Article here.