A defense attorney for Rockmart Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and it’s parent company, Subacute Services Inc., told jurors and a nearly full courtroom that those caring for 82-year-old Ruby Mae Tyler were “neighbors, people you know” and that this suit filed by Tyler’s daughter, Elizabeth Costlow, was to “strike back at mortality.”
Tyler died April 2008 after being a resident in the nursing home for around three months.
The defense attorney, peppering his closing argument with Biblical phrases and Southern colloquialisms, said Tyler was sick with many illnesses, so sick that she could have been successfully sustained anywhere.
The fact was she was going to die, the attorney said.
“She was going home. She knew it,” he said.
The plaintiffs attorney said Tyler may have been in the last stages of life, but didn’t want or need any help dying.
His argument were the pressure ulcers, which he claimed were rooted in neglect at the nursing home, directly contributed to Tyler’s death.
“It was too much for this poor lady to happen and she passed,” he said.
The attorney said the argument wasn’t that Tyler would die so much that she wasn’t allowed to “die with dignity.”
The closing argument for the plaintiff didn’t focus as much on a verdict as it did on how much to award the plaintiff.
Plaintiff’s counsel used the amount the defense paid its expert witness, $750 an hour, as the standard.
Under their formula, plaintiff’s counsel asked for approximately $2.65 million in negligence damages and between $3.24 to $9.7 million in punitive damages.