Bloomberg.com on Sep 22, 2014
Juanita Jackson died in July 2003, five weeks after she was removed from a Florida nursing home where her family said continual neglect led to multiple bedsores, malnutrition and a fall that injured her head.
Trying to collect a $110 million verdict against two nursing home companies has led her family on a four-year odyssey through a maze of private-equity firms and shell companies to a bankruptcy court trial that began today.
A corporate structure designed to transfer liabilities from the nursing home operator to a shell company without assets also has kept five other families from pursuing wrongful death lawsuits or collecting judgments, said lawyers for the family of Jackson, who was 76 when she died.
Trans Healthcare Inc. and Trans Health Management Inc., which the plaintiffs claimed operated the homes, never appealed or paid the 2010 verdict — $55 million each — awarded by a state court jury in Bartow, Florida. Collection was thwarted through a complex transaction that sent Trans Healthcare’s liabilities to a shell company called Fundamental Long Term Care Inc., which had no assets, while creating a solvent nursing home chain that was protected from judgments, lawyers for Jackson’s family contend.