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Legislators target 'renegade' law firm with nursing home bill

Jim WilkesJim Wilkes has a target on his back.

The Tampa-based trial lawyer whose success at suing nursing homes for neglect and abuse of residents has drawn millions in damages from the industry.

It has also brought their wrath — and they’ve turned to the Florida Legislature to stop him. 

Wilkes’ model, which has been successfully employed in Florida and eight states where he has offices, is to not only target the owners and management companies — which can often be shell companies that shield the assets of owners and investors — but to target the investors, vendors and contractors, when he can show they have a role in the company’s decision-making. He also seeks large punitive damages.

In Polk County, where a nursing home shut down its management company after Wilkes sued, he won a $1 billion judgment in 2012 when the company didn’t put up a defense. In Pinellas County, a jury awarded $200 million to the family of a nursing home patient who died of neglect.

“They keep putting companies in bankruptcy and transferring assets, and we follow the assets and now the courts are able to go up the ladder,’’ said Wilkes, 63.

The result, the industry says, is having a chilling effect on investment income into nursing homes in Florida — at a time when older nursing homes want to update and retrofit in preparation for a surge in growth with the aging of baby boomers. Story here. 

Comments

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Ed Jenkins

The citizens greatly approve of this measure but would like to see it expanded to all lawsuits and the elimination of these scumbag lawyers from being able to receive any fees for what are essentially government oversight and enforcement actions. These horrible lawyers only raise costs for all citizens in any area that they touch.

Bill Thompson

If the nursing home industry and the state of florida did their jobs to police and regulate the industry, there wouldn't be a demand for this lawyer's services. He is doing their work that they refuse to do. Instead, the industry sends its lobbyist to Tallahassee to buy influence with the GOP controlled legislature to make this lawyer go away. It is shameful and the elderly of our great family friendly state deserve better.

I can just imagine what the late great Governor Reubin Askew would have thought of the current behavior in Tallahassee.

Can't take anymore

It is a well known fact that buying Florida legislators is one of the cheapest and high rate of return investments you can make. Poisoning the aquifer? Selling land you know is full of waiting to collapse sink holes? Selling dangerous toys to kids? Neglecting and/or abuse of old folks in your nursing homes? Just cough up some dough for you local lobbyist to go out and buy you some friendly Florida legislators to make those troubles go away.

D

shut up already thompson you loser how much of a moron are you that you can't figure out no one cares about your whining. Get a job already you leach so you won't have time to complain on message boards all day about how much your life sucks and you want all of us to pay you for sitting on your butt.

Bill Thompson

Hmmm, someone just came into the room and farted and stunk up the room. The readers of the Herald have previously stated that they do not want unwise people farting in the room and stinking up the place.

D

You loser thompson you probably didn't know since you never graduated but fart jokes stopped being funny after middle school you failure.

Bill Thompson

P-U, there it is again, stinking up the place. The Herald readers wish this horrible person that keeps farting needs to stay away.

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