After two careful days of deliberation, citizens in Ventura County, California determined that stroke victim Maria Arellano had been harmed profoundly - so profoundly that they measured the harms at $7.75 million dollars. Mrs. Arellano was nearly seventy years old, when she entered the Fillmore Convalescent Center for care, after she had suffered a debilitating stroke.
During a visit with her in 2006, Mrs. Arellano's family members noticed that she had unexplained bruises. Alarmed, they notified the administrators of the nursing home. The nursing home, however, decided not to investigate at all, according to reports. Still concerned, the family set up a hidden camera on a side table, to capture what was happening when they could not be there. You see, Mrs. Arellano could not speak because of the stroke.
What the family saw shocked them.
Nursing home employee Monica Garcia was seen slapping Mrs. Arellano. Garcia bent back her wrists and fingers. She pulled Mrs. Arellano by her hair. Garcia was violent and cruel in her treatment of her helpless patient.
What's worse is that the nursing home knew there was a problem with Garcia, but they allowed her to work with the residents anyway. At the trial, the jury saw evidence that a number of families had complained about potential abuse inside the nursing home, and at least one other family had named Garcia in writing.
The Arellano family offered to settle their legal claims for $500,000 - but the Fillmore Convalescent Center offered them nothing - not a penny - to settle the case.