Florida Court Explains Nursing Home Negligence Law – Gilmore v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc.

The legal theory of negligence arises in a wide variety of situations in which a person is injured, from car and boat accidents to the selection of home building materials and operation of theme parks. For the Sunshine State’s many senior residents, negligence can also come up in another context: nursing homes. In Gilmore v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc., the District Court for the Middle District of Florida explains how to sue a nursing home for negligence.

Ronald Gilmore filed the complaint on behalf of his mother’s estate. A resident at Life Care Center of Estero, a long term care facility owned by Defendant Life Care Centers of America, Inc., Vera Gilmore died after sustaining a fall on the premises. Mr. Gilmore asserts that Defendant acted negligently by failing to prevent the fall. In particular, he alleges that his mother was observed to be disoriented and having trouble walking before she fell.

The Court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss both of Gilmore’s claims – one for negligence and the other for negligence per se – but left open the door for him to amend his complaint so as to properly state the negligence claim. In so doing, the Court explained that a person seeking to bring a negligence claim arising from the personal injury or death of a nursing home resident must raise the claim pursuant to Florida Statutes §§ 400.023-400.0238, which according to the Court provide the “exclusive remedy” in such cases. In order to properly state a claim under the statutes, a Plaintiff must allege the following:

(a) The defendant owed a duty to the resident;
(b) The defendant breached the duty to the resident;
(c) The breach of the duty is a legal cause of loss, injury, death, or damage to the resident; and (d)The resident sustained loss, injury, death, or damage as a result of the breach.

In this case, the Court found that Plaintiff failed to adequately specify the duty owed by Defendant to Ms. Gilmore. “A complaint requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do,” the Court noted, quoting the Supreme Court’s decision in Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly. As a result, the Court dismissed the claims while allowing Gilmore to file an amended complaint within 21 days of the ruling.

As this case makes clear, the term “negligence” has a very specific meaning when used in a courtroom, particularly in a case involving an injury sustained at a nursing home. The South Florida personal injury attorneys at Anidjar & Levine have vast experience bringing negligence claims on behalf of injured clients throughout the area, including in Coral Springs, Boca Raton and Pompano Beach. If you were or a loved one was injured in an accident due to another person’s negligent behavior, call our Ft. Lauderdale office for a free consultation. Our negligence lawyers can speak with you about whether you might be entitled to compensation for your injury. You can reach our office at 800-747-3733 or submit a contact form online.

Related blog posts:

In Order to Recover Damages for Personal Injury, First You Must Know Which Laws Apply – Schippers v. US

Collateral Source Benefits and Comparative Negligence in Florida Personal Injury Cases – Hester v. United States

Injured on Another Person’s Property? Liability May Depend on the Fine Print – Marler v. U-Store-It Mini Warehouse Co.