Jurors award $58K in Rosewood case

Ann Knef Oct. 19, 2007, 5:29pm

Craig Jensen

After three long days of deliberations, a Madison County jury sided with the family of Rosewood Care Center resident Margaret Schwab, but only awarded it $58,000, a fraction of the $1 million in damages they requested.

The jury reached its verdict late Friday evening.

The lawsuit was brought in 2004 by Thomas Schwab, who claimed Margaret Schwab's neck and back injuries suffered during a fall in her room on Dec. 21, 2003 led to her death.

During closing arguments, plaintiff attorney Craig Jensen of the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River insisted his case wasn't about the money.

"What it's been about is the only justice available," Jensen said.

"It's about (their) failure to take responsibility for Ms. Schwab," he said. "They didn't do it then and they're not doing it now."

Jensen said the case was not aimed personally at Rosewood's employees, including the various staff members who testified during the five-day trial.

"This case has never been about hurting any of the employees," Jensen said. "It's the corporation."

Rosewood attorney Stephen Strum said the nursing staff witnesses put before the jury were "mentally beaten up" by attorney Jensen.

"And they didn't deserve it," Strum said.

He said that people who care for the elderly are "very special" people.

"Rather than beat them up and make them look like fools and idiots we ought to embrace them," he said.

Strum said that Mrs. Schwab's family was happy with her treatment and that there was "not one single complaint from them." He said that good nursing judgment was used in her care.

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