Wilson Elser issued the following announcement on July 3.
Jacqueline Harding (Partner-Los Angeles) obtained a reduced charge in a case involving the death of a 54-year-old patient at a behavioral residential facility. When the resident suddenly collapsed, the staff administered CPR, but the first oxygen tank malfunctioned and there was a delay in administering a second tank. Shortly after the EMTs arrived, the resident died.
The Department of Public Health (DHP) issued a Class AA citation for regulatory violations that allegedly caused the death of a resident. The AA citation imposes a $100,000 civil penalty. Our client, the residential mental health facility, argued that the delay in administering oxygen was not the cause of death because the resident died of a pulmonary embolism. At trial, the court found that (1) DPH failed to establish the cause of death and (2) the resident’s death was not proximately caused by the regulatory violation. The Court reduced the Class AA violation to a Class A violation, which imposes a civil penalty of $20,000.
Original source can be found here.