On March 25, 2009, an Arizona jury carefully considered the evidence, and deliberated, before compensating Lydia Scherrer $11 million for the harms and losses she suffered for the wrongful death of her 36 year old husband, Earl Scherrer.
The United States has never seen a larger verdict for this type of case, and there is good reason that the jury reached the decision they did. In 1996 Mr. Scherrer was involved in an automobile collision that left him in a coma with critical brain damage that doctors diagnosed as irreversible. Against doctor’s advice, Mrs. Scherrer refused to remove her husband from life support. She wanted to do everything possible to save him, and diligently waited by his bedside for nearly a year and half - hoping and praying that he would come back to her.
Finally, Mr. Scherrer began to emerge from his coma. His wife encouraged and coaxed her husband every day to relearn simple first and second grade reading and math - trying desperately to keep his brain stimulated.
Eventually, the financial pressures became too crushing. Mrs. Scherrer had to return to work. She had to rely on assisted living facilities and group homes to take care of her husband while she worked to support his care.
On her days off of work, she would faithfully check him out of the facility and take him home and cared for him herself. In April of 2006, Mrs. Scherrer started using Liberty Manor Residency, an assisted living facility which touted that it provided 24 hour a day care.
Exactly one month later, Mrs. Scherrer received a phone call from the facility. Liberty Manor told her that her husband was sick and vomiting. Mrs. Scherrer promptly left work and checked him out. She took him home to care for him. She immediately ran a bath for him and was washing him up when he started vomiting a black substance.
Mr. Scherrer then died in her arms. An autopsy was performed and it was found that Mr. Scherrer died from hypertensive heart disease due to mechanical obstruction of the GI from foreign objects. Mr. Scherrer was found to have plastic bags, unopened ketchup packets, candy wrappers and paper towels in his stomach and small intestines which caused the hypertension.
At trial, it was proven that Liberty Manor falsified Mr. Scherrer’s records - by adding daily care notes to his records that included days that Mrs. Scherrer had checked him out to care for him on her own.
The courageous members of the jury did not take kindly to the outrageous neglect that caused Mr. Scherrer's death. Liberty Manor betrayed the trust that Mr. Scherrer's loving wife placed in them. For shame. For shame!