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Ridgeway Nursing & Rehabilitation Facility, LLC v. Lane

Supreme Court of Kentucky

December 19, 2013

RIDGEWAY NURSING & REHABILITATION FACILITY, LLC, D/B/A Hilltop Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility, and Provider Management and Development Corporation, Appellants
v.
Honorable William E. LANE, Judge, Bath Circuit Court, Division I, Appellee and Stella Collins, Executrix of the Estate of Roger Collins, Real Party In Interest.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Lawrence E. Forgy, Jr., John Lawrence Forgy, Counsel for Appellants.

William Evans Lane, Frenchburg, for Appellee.

Robert Earl Salyer, Richard Eric Circeo, Corey Tomas Fannin, Counsel for Real Party In Interest.

OPINION

MINTON, Chief Justice.

In an original action filed in the Court of Appeals, Ridgeway Nursing & Rehabilitation Facility sought a writ of mandamus requiring the dismissal of the claims brought against it or, alternatively, the disqualification of opposing counsel, Wilkes & McHugh. As grounds for the remedy it sought, Ridgeway alleges that an investigator working for Wilkes & McHugh contacted Ridgeway's employees in violation of Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct 4.2. The Court of Appeals declined to issue a writ, noting that Ridgeway did not meet the prerequisites for issuance of a writ because it had an adequate remedy by appeal or otherwise. Because we similarly find that a writ is not available to Ridgeway in this circumstance, we affirm.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY.

This litigation stems from the death of Roger Collins following an inpatient stay

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at Ridgeway Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Facility.[1] Collins came to Ridgeway for post-operative rehabilitation and was essentially wheelchair bound during his stay. About a month before leaving Ridgeway, Collins fell out of his wheelchair and injured his neck. He fell face-first onto the floor and was treated on-site after another resident saw him on the floor and called for help. One licensed practical nurse and four nurses' aides treated Collins by helping him back into his wheelchair, cleaning the abrasion on his nose, and then performing regular neurological checks even though he did not complain of any pain and had movement in all of his extremities. When Collins began to complain of neck pain, he was transported to a hospital where he was diagnosed with two fractured vertebrae in his neck.

Collins was treated with a halo — a metal brace placed around the head and affixed to the skull with screws to immobilize the head and neck. Upon release from the hospital, Collins returned to Ridgeway to recover. He stayed there about another month. During this time, the sites where the halo was affixed to Collins's skull became infected, leading to a brain infection and multiple brain surgeries.

Collins died a month after leaving Ridgeway. And following his death, Collins's wife, on behalf of his estate, brought the underlying tort action against Ridgeway alleging wrongful death and nursing home neglect, attributing Collins's death ...


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