$16 Million Awarded in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

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Sam Graham, 37, of Hamilton was killed Aug. 24, 2013 by a drunk driver near Hamilton, and members of his family suffered various injuries. A Tarrant County jury awarded his family $16 million in a lawsuit against the Southlake company that owns the healthcare center where the driver worked. SAMUEL GRAHAM FAMILY COURTESY. If a family member has been involved in an wronful death accident please contact vancouver wrongful death attorney

In Fort Worth Texas, a jury awarded over $16 million in a lawsuit against Senior Living to the Graham family for the wrongful death of Samuel Dale Graham reported by The Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Thursday.

Hamilton Healthcare Center, one of 34 nursing homes owned by Senior Living, hired Alisa Prueitt in 2012 as a certified nurse’s aide.

In May 2013, a nurse on duty reported to the nursing director that Prueitt was unable to work because she was intoxicated.  She was driven home by another nurse.

In July 2013, another incident was reported that Prueitt was intoxicated but was not tested or terminated.

Then on August 24, 2013, Prueitt was found intoxicated for the third time.  They did not test her and decided to send her home.

Prueitt swerved into oncoming traffic and struck Graham’s vehicle, killing Sam Graham and seriously injuring his wife and two children.

Hamilton Healthcare Center’s company policy requires immediate termination of an employee if found intoxicated or influenced by drugs while on duty.

On November 25, 2013, Prueitt plead guilty to intoxication manslaughter and received an 18-year prison sentence and an additional 10 years for intoxication assault. Prueitt’s blood alcohol content was four times the legal limit.  A driver is considered intoxicated at 0.08.

When a nursing supervisor was question about why Prueitt was sent home, she stated, she was “unfocused”.

Laura Brown of Waco, the lead attorney for the Graham family said in an email to Star-Telegram:

“It would have been a very simple thing to prevent this employee from driving. Instead, Senior Living Properties … chose to disregard its policies and its basic obligations to protect the public because they didn’t pay their nurse aides well, they were understaffed and they wanted to have this employee return to work another day.”

“It is very simple,” Brown said. “An employee who is too drunk to work is too drunk to drive. According to Texas law, if a company sends an employee home from work because the employee is intoxicated, the company must take reasonable steps to prevent the intoxicated employee from causing an unreasonable risk of harm to the public — such as drive the employee home; call a cab; call a family member; call the police if necessary.”

“Hopefully, this will make companies take responsibility,” Sharla Graham said. “But no one really wins in something like this. Our family has to live my husband’s death every day.”

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