Elliott Greenleaf Wins Nonsuit in Defending Against Nursing Home Negligence Claims

After four weeks of jury trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Elliott Greenleaf won nonsuit in favor of Jefferson Health System, Inc. in a nursing home wrongful death case attempting to hold it liable on theories of corporate negligence and vicarious liability. The plaintiff (as executor of his mother’s estate) brought a wrongful death and survival action after his mother died during a two-year stay in a nursing home, claiming the nursing home’s negligent treatment caused her to develop over 10 bed sores that, according to plaintiff, caused her pain and suffering and ultimately her death. In addition to suing the nursing home, Plaintiff included Jefferson Health System as a defendant, arguing that its status as the ultimate parent company rendered it liable based on allegations of “corporate negligence” and vicarious liability. However, as established during the trial, Jefferson Health System’s corporate structure and the relationship with and among member hospital systems is such that it cannot be held liable under any viable theory including so-called “corporate negligence”, because it does not direct or control the delivery of health care provided by the hospitals and employees within the member health systems. During the fourth week of trial, in which the plaintiff presented numerous witnesses and expert testimony attempting to establish liability against Jefferson Health System, the Court granted a nonsuit on all claims against the health system. The case had been previously tried to a jury for three weeks, until a mistrial was declared during the plaintiff’s case, which precipitated the case being retried and the resultant nonsuit in favor of Jefferson Health System.


Frederick P. Santarelli
and Stewart J. Greenleaf, Jr. represented Jefferson Health System, Inc. in this matter.