An appeals court in New Mexico last week reversed a $53 million nursing home wrongful death jury verdict which had been returned against Manor Care, one of the nation’s largest operators of nursing homes. The basis of the nursing home abuse and neglect suit was that the nursing home staff failed to recognize and treat the gastrointestinal bleeding that a resident was suffering from, resulting in the woman bleeding to death. The decision included approximately $3 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages. The law in Illinois does not permit the recovery of punitive damages where the victim is deceased.The case in New Mexico had been commenced against Manor Care, which was the parent corporation of a subsidiary corporation which operated the nursing home. The basis of the appellate decision in New Mexico was that there was conflicting evidence as to whether the parent corporation controlled the actions of the employees of the subsidiary. The case was returned to the trial court for a new trial.Nursing home chains are notorious for developing complex business structures which are designed to minimze the exposure of the parent corporation to legal liability for abuse and neglect of nursing home residents. However, many parent corporations still retain extensive control over the day-to-day operations of nursing homes and set up the nursing home at the local level to deliver poor quality care to nursing home residents by providing inadequate resources to get the job done and by instilling a profits over people mindset with regard to the operations of the nursing home.The moral of the story for anyone considering a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit is this: the sooner you get the case into the hands of an experienced Chicago nursing home lawyer, the better. Nursing home cases involve extensive investigation not only of the medical aspects of the case, but the legal ones as well. The more time that the lawyer has to investigate the case before the expiration of the statute of limitations for nursing home cases, the better the outcome is likely to be.