Plaintiff attorney Robert Gregory and defense counsel Dennis McCubbin presented their closing arguments to a jury in a Madison County negligence trial Friday describing images of birds in cages and grandchildren going through "no" phases.
The jury, in a case against Rosewood Care Center of Edwardsville, began deliberations that lasted hours after the courthouse closed.
Graves, representing plaintiff Paul Graves, argued that Rosewood failed to provide care to the plaintiff's father, Alfred Graves, when he was a resident in January 2003. This lack of care, according to the plaintiff, led Alfred Graves to fall, breaking his hip.
"You can tell us the truth," Gregory told the jury as he wrapped up his rebuttal argument. In his earlier closing, Gregory stressed that missing forms and checkmarks on nursing home forms showed that the nursing home had violated state guidelines. He further contended that the fall had taken away much of the elder Graves' mobility and enjoyment of life.
While Gregory acknowledged that Alfred Graves had been able to move about, he argued that his dementia and stubborn nature should have been taken into account by those caring for him at Rosewood. He compared the struggle of providing the right care to Alfred Graves to caring for his four year-old grandchild.
But, Gregory argued, the lack of documentation made it likely, in his view, that Rosewood didgn't give Graves the care he required.
"What he needed, he didn't get," he said.
McCubbin dismissed not only Gregory's closing argument but his case. He told jurors that the plaintiff had failed to prove that the nursing home caused the fall and that the conflicting assements of Graves' ability to walk unaided and missing checked boxes did not mean that Rosewood was responsible for Graves' injuries.
"Mr. Gregory wants to talk about papers," McCubbin said. "I want to talk about what really happened."
McCubbin went on to argue that there was no care Rosewood could have given Alfred Graves that would have prevented the accident.
"There's really nothing you can do to get rid of the risk of living," McCubbin said. "As long as you're alive, that's your risk. Nursing homes can't eliminate that risk." He likened a patient to a bird in a cage that would rather be free and free of risk.
The jury had not returned a verdict by 6:30 p.m. Friday.
The case is Madison case number 03-L-1166.