Freudeman v. Landing of Canton, No. 12-3130 (6th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Dorothy resided at the Landing assisted living facility from 2001 until 2007. She was 80 years old in 2007. She had Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and had suffered a stroke in 2001. She had no history of diabetes or hypoglycemia. She was able to groom herself, use the restroom, walk with a walker, and feed herself. An employee discovered Dorothy in an unresponsive state in her room. She spent 15 months in a semicomatose state before dying. Her son sued for negligence, violation of Ohio’s Patients’ Bill of Rights (OH Rev Code 3721.17), and wrongful death. He alleged that employees mistakenly gave Dorothy antidiabetic medication, which caused hypoglycemia and resulted in permanent brain dysfunction. Because he could not prove exactly how Dorothy received the medication, he requested a jury instruction on res ipsa loquitur, which the district court gave. The jury awarded $680,000 in compensatory damages and $1,250,000 in punitive damages, plus attorney fees. The Sixth Circuit affirmed with respect to jury instructions on res ipsa and punitive damages and rejected a claim of judicial bias, but remanded with instructions to reduce the punitive damages award to $800,000.