Group home operator to pay $7.2M in wrongful-death case

OKLAHOMA CITY — A jury has found that the operator of an Oklahoma City group home acted recklessly in connection to a man who died soon after he was relocated to the home.

Mitchell Boles, 52, lived at a state-run center for the developmentally disabled in Pauls Valley for 40 years, The Oklahoman (http://bit.ly/2dSIM8T ) reported.

Boles was relocated to the group home in January 2014 and died from pneumonia in March 2014. Attorneys for Boles’ estate argued that Renaissance Management Group Inc. knew it didn’t have the ability to provide the care Boles needed and that he was improperly fed, medicated and supervised.

Renaissance Management Group Inc., which denied negligence, has been ordered to pay Boles’ estate $7.2 million in damages in the wrongful-death case.

“My brother finally got justice,” said Boles’ sister Shannon Adams.

The company said it is not a medical provide. They claimed that doctors, a nurse and the hospital responsible for Boles’ medical care acted in negligence. While jurors found that medical providers were 20 percent to blame for the death, Boles’ estate did not sue them, resulting in the providers staying financially unaffected.

Commissioners overseeing the Oklahoma Department of Human Services voted to close the Pauls Valley center in November 2012 instead of investing in building repairs. Many of the residents’ family members were angered and worried, including Boles’ family.

A lawsuit filed against the state agency in 2014 claimed that 18 former Pauls Valley center residents died unexpectedly “after being coerced to leave.” Jurors found that the agency was not negligent.

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