Knox County, MO $ 625,000 Settlement


The family of Vivian Jane Roller, now deceased, settled with employees of Clark County Nursing Home in Kahoka, Mo., for her wrongful death due to allegations of multiple state and federal violations occurring at the facility.

The recovery in the amount of $625,000 is believed to be the largest wrongful death recovery or verdict in Knox County history. The lawsuit for wrongful death alleged that employees of Clark County Nursing Home violated physicians’ orders and state and federal regulations relating to the presence of a lap buddy on 81-year-old Vivian Roller’s wheelchair, a device that would prevent her from falling and injuring herself.

Because a number of the nursing staff failed in their duty to keep Roller restrained, she fell, causing severe injuries to her head including an intracranial bleed, said attorney Tim Dollar of Kansas City, Mo., who represented the Roller family. Dollar said she remained at the facility for more than eight hours before anyone at the facility transported her to the hospital. By the time she arrived at the hospital, it was too late to save her, he said.

Roller fell on or about Oct. 28, 2000, and died Nov. 15, 2000.

Dollar said nursing home employees testified under oath in depositions of their failure to properly restrain Roller.

“The family’s wish is to improve care and the training of staff and staffing requirements at the nursing home so other families will not have to suffer the unnecessary loss of loved ones,” Dollar said.

“There is no such thing as a vindication for the wrongful and senseless death of a loved one, but the family is relieved that the defendants will not escape punishment or be exonerated from the negligence resulting in her death,” Dollar said.

The total recovery also included a contribution from Matthew Cormier, D.O., who was notified of her condition, but, according to the lawsuit, failed to timely diagnose her condition or see that she was timely transported to the hospital.

Vivian Roller was born March 17, 1919, in Fairfield, Iowa, the daughter of William Addison and Mary Gertrude Calhoun Berrie. She was survived by seven sons and six daughters, 41 grandchildren and 42 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.

The hearing approving the recovery was scheduled at the Knox County Courthouse in Edina, Mo. As many as 13 family members of Vivian Roller will be in attendance.

Dollar said the lawsuit was filed in Knox County because one of the defendants, Deborah Anderson, was from Knox County. Anderson is a resident of Newark, Mo.