Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Jan 10, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

A 94 year old California woman with dementia was awarded $12.5 million after being sexually assaulted by a nursing home aide. Details of the assault, the way nursing home management handled the matter and how the company cut corners to save money are equally astounding – and the verdict is a victory for those injured while in nursing homes, assisted living facilities or adult day care.

This California nursing home injury lawsuit involves 94 year old Sophie Schwartz, a dementia patient who resided at an Oakdale Heights convalescent home. In December of 2007, Jose Vazquez, an illegal immigrant who was hired as a dietary aide, got drunk at work and sexually assaulted Schwartz. Although Vazquez was arrested and is serving eight years in prison for attempted rape, Schwartz and her family hired a California nursing home abuse lawyer and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the facility and others. What their attorney was able to show the jury at trial was simply astounding.

Fraud, deception & purgery

At the nursing home abuse trial, testimony revealed fraud, deception and purgery, such as:

  • Participating in a Ponzi scheme. The elder-care facility was part of a $200 million Ponzi scheme for which the owner was arrested in May 2009. The scheme involved purchasing assisted living facilities, selling them to one their affiliate companies and then bleeding the facilities dry by cutting costs, failing to adequately staff the centers and providing lax security and supervision.
  • Employing illegal aliens. Management allegedly knew that Vazquez was an illegal immigrant, that he had forged employment documents and provided multiple forms of identification – many with different names and identities – yet the company hired him anyway and gave him keys to every residents’ room.
  • Committing purgery. The facility’s executive administrator committed purgery by saying that there hadn’t been security on duty that night in a deposition, then changed her story at trial – finally revealing that she had lied on the stand and that there had not been any security on the night of the assault.

All of this damaging evidence presented by Schwartz’s lawyer led to a $12.5 million nursing home abuse jury verdict – one of the largest ever awarded for emotional trauma without evidence of physical injury.

Family and friends often last to know about elder care abuse

There are various forms of elder abuse including physical abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or abandonment by caregivers, financial exploitation and healthcare fraud and abuse. Unfortunately, the family and friends of nursing home patients are often the last know when abuse has occurred as they’ve placed their trust in the facility’s management. If your loved one has been injured in a facility, contact a healthcare/nursing home abuse attorney in your state to find out what you can do to help.