Torts Keyed to Goldberg
Myers v. Heritage Enters., Inc.
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Mary Prillmayer lived in a nursing home owned and run by Heritage Enterprises, Inc., Defendant. In August 2000, two certified nurse’s aides (“CNAs”) tried to transfer Prillmayer from a wheelchair to a bed by using a device, the “Hoyer lift”. As the CAN’s were trying to do so, Prillmayer fell and fractured both of her legs. Two weeks later, Prillmayer died, allegedly from causes unrelated to her fall. The executor of Prillmayer’s estate, Michael Myers, Plaintiff, brought suit against Defendant under a state statute, which imposed liability upon nursing-home facilities for any injury to residents that was the result of a “failure ….to provide adequate physical or personal care or maintenance.” At trial, the parties introduced conflicting evidence. Defendant’s case was founded on an expert witness who testified about the standard of care in using the Hoyer lift. On the last day of trial, at a jury, Plaintiff proposed that instructions on ordinary negligence be given to define the standard of care to be what a reasonably careful person would have done under the circumstances. Nonetheless, despite Plaintiff’s objection, the court chose to give Defendant’s proposed instructions on professional negligence, which states that the CNAs were professionally negligent if they failed to use the knowledge, skill, and care used by reasonably competent CNAs in similar circumstances. The instructions further provided that this determination could only be made by evaluating the expert witness’ testimony, not by relying on personal knowledge. Thereafter, the jury found for Defendant. Plaintiff appealed.
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