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GEORGE ALCON, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF SOPHIA MARIA ALCON V. SOUTH PUEBLO MEDICAL INVESTORS, LTD. D/B/A LIFE CARE CENTER OF PUEBLO AND LIFE CARE CENTERS OF AMERICA, INC.  

Plaintiff George Alcon was awarded a unanimous verdict of $5,557,066.43 in the District Court of Pueblo County, Colorado on Friday, May 13, 2016. Attorneys from Reddick Moss, PLLC represented Mr. Alcon in the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of Mr. Alcon’s mother, against Life Care Center of Pueblo, a nursing home, and its corporate parent, Life Care Centers of America, Inc.
The jury awarded $500,000 in damages stemming from the wrongful death of Sophia Alcon, $57,066.43 in economic damages for negligence, and another $5 million in punitive damages for wrongful death. Both Defendants were held jointly liable for Ms. Alcon’s death after the jury concluded that the Pueblo nursing home was operated as a joint venture by Life Care Centers of America, Inc. and South Pueblo Medical Investors, LTD, a company doing business as Life Care Centers of Pueblo. 

Ms. Alcon, 77, had been admitted on April 30, 2013, as a resident of Life Care Center of Pueblo, 2118 Chatalet Lane, Pueblo, Colorado. While a resident there, she endured repeated instances of abuse and neglect that led to the development of multiple infections and bed sores, unexplained severe bruising covering half of her body, dehydration, and malnutrition. The neglect was so extensive that at one point, after having been transferred to the emergency room, hospital staff notified Ms. Alcon’s family that her vagina was packed with dried feces. Testimony from caregivers and family members revealed that Ms. Alcon was often found lying in her own urine and feces, including being found by one of her daughters naked from the waist down in her own feces with a bed sore on her coccyx or tailbone. Ms. Alcon also suffered from multiple bouts of aspiration pneumonia, urinary tract infections, severe dehydration and renal failure at the Life Care nursing home, all of which contributed to her death on November 20, 2013.  As a result of the poor care she received, Ms. Alcon suffered extreme pain, loss of dignity, and ultimately death. Ms. Alcon’s injuries and death caused severe anguish and emotional trauma to her ten children, most of whom regularly visited her in the nursing home. Nursing notes described members of her family being present almost daily during her nursing home residency and even giving her showers when nursing home staff would not.  

Ms. Alcon’s son, and personal representative of her Estate, George Alcon, filed this lawsuit on January 30, 2015, against the nursing home and its corporate owner, Life Care Centers of America, Inc. Denver based attorney Brent L. Moss, along with Brian D. Reddick and Robert Francis of Little Rock, Arkansas, all from the Reddick Moss, PLLC law firm, represented the Alcon family. Kevin Kuhn, Michele Choe, and Nick Boeving of Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell, LLP in Denver, Colorado represented the Defendants.
During the two-week trial, the jury heard from numerous witnesses including George Alcon and Theresa Espinosa (one of Ms. Alcon’s daughters), two certified nursing assistants and a Registered Nurse who cared for Ms. Alcon but that no longer worked at the nursing home, five current employees of the facility, four medical experts, multiple treating physicians of Ms. Alcon, and a physician who performed an autopsy on Ms. Alcon after her death. The jury also saw multiple surveys conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which cited Life Care Center of Pueblo for numerous regulatory violations similar to the deficiencies in care endured by Ms. Alcon. Absent from the trial was any corporate representative or witness on behalf of Life Care Centers of America, Inc.

Brent Moss, one of the attorneys for the Alcon family, noted that “it was an honor to represent this entire family on behalf of their mother. At the end of the day, we had a jury that really didn’t like this company putting profits ahead of patient care and then failing to come to Pueblo to answer for any of the poor care, gaps in the charting, and the staffing shortages, all of which led to a horrific outcome for Ms. Alcon.”

Following the trial, one of the jurors stated that the jury wanted to hear from somebody who actually set the staffing levels at the facility. The jury believed that the facility had serious problems with continuity of care and documentation, which they hoped would be addressed with their verdict. The juror further noted that the State of Colorado should be tougher on a facility like Life Care Center of Pueblo that has had repeated violations for the same deficiencies.