SOURCE: Steele Sturm PLLC

September 21, 2007 20:06 ET

Nursing Home Faces Trial for Rita Evacuation Death

GALVESTON, TX--(Marketwire - September 21, 2007) - A lawsuit against a Friendswood, Texas nursing home for the wrongful death of one of its patients is scheduled to begin on Monday in Galveston, Texas.

The case, brought by the son of Jessie Hood, accuses the owners of Friendship Haven of negligence and gross negligence in the care and treatment of Hood during her evacuation from Hurricane Rita. The suit alleges that Hood, 91, of Pearland, died of hyperthermia and dehydration while being transported by bus to another facility outside of Houston.

According to the suit, Friendship Haven's senior management knew the bus it planned to use for the evacuation did not have functioning air-conditioning, but allowed the bus to be used anyway. The suit also alleges that Friendship Haven's staff did not properly monitor Hood for signs of heat injury, despite hours of exposure to extreme temperatures.

"Although we don't blame them for getting stuck in traffic with everyone else, we do blame them for not providing even minimal care to Jessie," said Charles A. Sturm, a principal at Steele Sturm PLLC and the lead lawyer for the Hood family. "Her death was totally preventable."

The defendants are Friendship Haven Nursing Centers, Ltd., which operates Friendship Haven, and its individual owners, Kent Ballard, Hugh Burris, and William P. Jones.

The case is scheduled to begin Monday morning in the 122nd District Court of Galveston County, Texas.

To view the most recent case petitition, click here: http://media.marketwire.com/attachments/200709/367644_Plntfs4thAmendedPet.9-05-07.pdf.

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