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Judge dismisses lawsuit against Beverly Healthcare

By By Suzanne Monk/The Meridian Star
Aug. 17, 2001
Circuit Judge Robert Bailey has dismissed one of three lawsuits filed by Wilkes &McHugh in recent months against Lauderdale County nursing homes.
Beverly Healthcare-Broadmoor in Meridian was the defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Florida-based law firm in January of this year and dismissed by Bailey on July 18. Wilkes &McHugh claims a 97 percent success rate in nursing home litigation.
Chance Becnel is the executive director of Beverly Healthcare-Broadmoor.
While two other local nursing home administrators facing Wilkes and McHugh lawsuits were either unavailable or declined to comment, Becnel said he is aware of the firm's national reputation.
Beverly Enterprises, the largest owner of nursing homes in the country, owns Beverly Healthcare-Broadmoor. The parent company announced the sale of almost all its Florida holdings July 16, after a series of high-dollar judgments in Wilkes &McHugh lawsuits. Company officials did not verify a connection between the two events.
Beverly Healthcare-Broadmoor employs more than 125 people and currently houses 117 people, three shy of its 120-patient capacity. It is a two-time winner of Malcolm Baldridge Award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Suzanne Monk is managing editor of The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3229, or e-mail her at smonk@themeridianstar.com.
Here is a look at lawsuits filed this year against local nursing homes by the Florida-based law firm Wilkes &McHugh. In each case, the plaintiff's attorney is Timothy McHugh, a founding partner.
Estate of Hazel Cooper vs. Beverly Enterprises. The
75-year-old was admitted to Beverly Healthcare-Broadmoor Dec. 15, 1995. The wrongful death lawsuit claimed that poor care caused malnutrition, dehydration, urinary tract infections, staph infections, poor hygiene, contractures and multiple pressure sores. Cooper died Jan. 29, 1999. The lawsuit was dismissed July 18 by Circuit Judge Robert Bailey.
Estate of Ernest McWilliams vs. Benchmark Health Care. The 73-year-old was admitted in 1992. The wrongful death lawsuit claims that poor care caused pneumonia, multiple falls, unexplained injuries, lacerations, bone fractures, poor hygiene, contracture and multiple pressure sores. McWilliams died Oct. 30, 1999. Administrator Guy Howard could not be reached for comment.
Charley C. Reed vs. Kings Daughters &Sons Rest Home. Reed was a resident from Aug. 8, 1994, to May 26, 1997, and from Oct. 30, 1997, to Feb. 19, 1998. The lawsuit filed in his behalf claims that Reed was of unsound mind and unable to care for himself. It cites the development and worsening of pressure sores, pneumonia, urinary tract infections,
malnutrition and gangrene ultimately resulting in an above-the-knee amputation of Reed's left leg.
Administrator Mike Hatten declined to comment because of the pending litigation.

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