HOUSTON (Dec. 22, 2021) — A Harris County jury awarded a verdict in the amount of $7,110,000.00 on Thursday afternoon, December 17, 2021, to a local nursing assistant who was injured in 2016 while transferring a bariatric patient from bed to wheelchair at the Courtyards of Pasadena nursing home facility in Pasadena, Texas.
Abraham Watkins attorney Christopher Mahfouz secured the verdict after a week of trial in Harris County’s 55th District Court with Judge Latosha Lewis Payne presiding. Mr. Mahfouz was assisted in trial by Abraham Watkins associate Taylor Pace and attorney Ramsey Al-Azem.
The plaintiff, Nicole Tarpley, was injured in May of 2016 when she, along with other certified nursing assistants, at the facility were improperly trained on the protocol for transferring a bariatric patient weighing in excess of 300-400 lbs. Mrs. Tarpley was transferring the bariatric patient from bed to wheelchair when the wheelchair brakes failed, and the pair fell to the ground as Mrs. Tarpley attempted to stop the fall. As a result of the incident, Mrs. Tarpley suffered severe injuries that ultimately necessitated a life-altering neck surgery.
At trial, the jury heard evidence that the nursing home: (1) failed to train nursing assistants at the facility on the specific transfer protocol for the patient; and (2) failed to adequately inspect and maintain its wheelchairs, leading to brake failure. After a week of trial, the jury awarded damages for her past and future medical expenses, pain, mental anguish, and physical impairment totaling $7,110,000.00—over fifty times the pretrial offer. Mrs. Tarpley’s past medical expenses were $360,000.00.
“We are extremely grateful that the Harris County jurors saw the righteousness of the case and ensured that justice was delivered to Mrs. Tarpley after the more than five years it was denied to her by the nursing home,” said Mahfouz. “The case was contested from the start with the nursing home refusing to accept any responsibility and blaming Mrs. Tarpley completely for the fall. We believe this verdict will put nursing home companies on notice that they cannot put their employees and patients in a position to fail. If they forget the sacred trust they owe to their patients, then this verdict hitting their pocketbook may help them remember.”