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Former Football Player’s Estate Wins Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Nursing Home

Former Football Player’s Estate Wins Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Nursing Home

In his youth, Paul Sutton was offered contracts to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants. A recurring knee issue kept him from a football career. Instead, he and his wife raised a family, and he worked for the New York Central Railroad as a conductor. In his spare time, he coached youth baseball. 

Shortly before his death at 92, Sutton told family members he felt has treated “like a criminal” at the Williamsville Suburban, a nursing home in upper New York State. In late July, the Appellate Division reversed a State Supreme Court justice’s decision denying Sutton’s estate a default judgment. The unanimous decision by the Appellate Division judges states the nursing home failed to provide a “meritorious defense” against its negligence in Sutton’s care.

Constant Falls and Bedsores

Sutton entered the Williamsville Suburban facility in 2014 after he could no longer live on his own in his home in Amherst. Sutton resided at the nursing home for just over a year before his death on January 26, 2016. His death certificate listed the cause of death “acute respiratory failure, sepsis and a bacterial infection in the large intestines.” His family says Sutton’s time at the nursing home was marked by constant falls and bedsores, evidence of staff neglect. 

According to his grandson, who shares the same name, Sutton’s room at the nursing home was always filthy, and he was placed in a bed far too small for his large frame. Sutton stood 6’5” and weighed 280 pounds, but the bed he was given could not contain his long legs, which always hung over the sides. 

Citations for Untreated Bedsores

Less than two weeks after Sutton’s death, the Williamsville Suburban was cited by New York State Health Department inspectors. According to their report, the nursing home failed to provide treatment to two residents for bedsore prevention and healing. Although the patients were not named in the report, it is clear one of them was Sutton, because the report stated one resident was placed in hospice and soon died. The Sutton family attorney said, “Williamsville Suburban was negligent at best and in violation of state and federal law by allowing Mr. Sutton to develop horrific bedsores and to fall with alarming frequency.” 

His grandson says, “mistreatment and poor care and filthy conditions” at the nursing home led to Sutton getting sick and dying. He notes his grandfather’s condition was painful before his passing. 

A One-Star Rating

The federal government rates nursing homes on a one to five-star rating basis, with five as the highest. The 220-bed Williamsville Suburban facility is rated a one, the lowest ranking. 

Owned by Williamsville Suburban LLC, the facility has been operated for the past seven years by downstate nursing home investors under a purchase agreement. 

As for a settlement, the Sutton family attorney says it is likely the case will involve an out-of-court settlement. Should that occur, the amount of money agreed to between the nursing home and the plaintiffs may remain secret. 

If you or a loved one died or suffered a serious injury from a fall, abuse or neglect at an assisted living facility, call us. Our experienced team and national network of assisted living facility neglect lawyers can help. For more information, contact us online or by phone at 833.201.1555. You can also visit our nursing home abuse page.

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Related topics: neglect (23) | substandard care (20)


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