Estate of Henry Gibson v. Magnolia Healthcare, Inc.Annotate this Case
Henry Gibson was a resident of Arnold Avenue Nursing Home (AA) in Greenville from 2001 until 2002. After being hospitalized in December 2002, Gibson was moved to another nursing home and died on January 26, 2003. Gibson's estate filed a wrongful-death action in 2004 seeking compensatory and punitive damages. The plaintiffs averred that Magnolia Healthcare, Inc., the owner of AA, and Foundation Health Services, Inc. were negligent in causing various injuries, some of which contributed to Gibson's death. The jury awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages, which the trial court reduced to $500,000 for noneconomic damages and $75,000 for permanent disfigurement. The trial court refused to allow the jury to consider punitive damages. Plaintiffs appealed asserting: (1) whether the trial court erred in refusing to allow the jury to consider punitive damages; and (2) whether the statutory cap for noneconomic damages was constitutional. Upon review, the Supreme Court found no error in the trial court's refusing to allow the jury to consider punitive damages. The Court found that Plaintiffs failed to raise the constitutionality of the statutory cap before the trial court; thus that issue was procedurally barred.