James Halpin, Staff Writer Mar 16, 2015
The family of a developmentally disabled woman who died after workers at a Berwick group home failed to get her treatment for injuries she sustained in a car crash will soon receive about $4 million plus a new trial that could equate to millions more in damages, according to the Pisanchyn Law Firm.
Barbara Ann Maines, 31, died after suffering a liver laceration when the Hope Enterprises van she was riding in slammed into the rear side panel of another vehicle in a Bloomsburg parking lot on Sept. 8, 2009.
Maines, who had cerebral palsy and could not speak, continually moaned and whimpered from the apparent pain associated with her injuries, but workers at the Berwick facility waited until a previously scheduled appointment the next day to bring Maines to a doctor, according to the lawsuit.
Two days after the crash, employees of Hope Enterprises disclosed for the first time that Maines had been involved in a vehicle crash, according to the lawsuit. She died at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville after undergoing emergency surgery.
In October 2012, a Luzerne County jury awarded Maines’ family more than $3 million. The case has been in appellate courts since, and a ruling by the state Supreme Court on Friday means the family will immediately receive nearly $4 million as well as a new trial to determine additional punitive damages for the “outrageous” conduct by the Williamsport-based company, attorney Michael J. Pisanchyn Jr. said.
“The Pisanchyn Law Firm hopes the verdict/award will change the way defendant Hope Corporation and other group homes who take care of our society’s most fragile persons do business,” Pisanchyn said in a statement.
He noted the firm has another pending case against Hope Enterprises over the death of Nathan McHenry, who choked to death on a piece of bread while at a Williamsport residential facility.