$1.5 Million Settlement in Death of an Assisted Living Resident

Date: June 9, 2014

A $1.5 million settlement has been reached in the case of a Rock Hill assisted-living resident who was smothered to death by an employee in 2011 – setting off criminal and civil actions alleging elder abuse and staff failures.

Pauline Cook, 82, was found dead in her room at an assisted-living facility at Park Pointe Village – a retirement community owned by ACTS Retirement-Life Communities.

Braquette Wykina Walton confessed to killing Cook in 2012 after she stole several checks from Cook, withdrawing $1,200. Cook notified staff about the fraud in November 2011 after finding checks made out to Walton.

Walton was alerted of criminal accusations against her by another employee and later smothered Cook in her sleep, beating her and dragging her to a shower.

According to documents, the shower was kept running and Cook’s clothes were laid out on a bed to cover up the crime. Blood-soaked linens were disposed of by Walton.

The incident was one of several that prompted the York County Coroner’s Office to change its procedures. Coroner Sabrina Gast said that prior to 2011, the office did not investigate all deaths at nursing homes or assisted-living facilities.

“Had our investigator not gone out that day it would have gotten missed,” said Gast of the Cook case. “She probably would have gotten away with it.”

If you suspect that you or someone you love has suffered a medical error or an adverse event from improper care at a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, don’t wait to take action. You have rights; there is no reason to tolerate such despicable behavior. Call an attorney today.

Attorney Sean McDonough has been a partner with Dougherty, Leventhal and Price for over twenty years. He specializes in personal injury cases, emphasizing, nursing home abuse cases. His experience with nursing home abuse cases provided him the opportunity to present expert witness testimony in a Congressional Hearing addressing the issue of sexual abuse in nursing homes in 2008. Allow Attorney McDonough to be a part of the solution. Don’t wait any longer call DLP today and schedule your meeting with Sean McDonough.

All information was gathered from the article in the Lake Wylie Pilot by Jie Jenny Zue. For more information please view the article at http://www.lakewyliepilot.com/2014/06/03/2453070/15m-settlement-in-death-of-assisted.html?sp=/99/426/444/.

Sean McDonough
Upon graduation from law school, he entered the private practice of law with Dougherty, Leventhal & Price. He has been a partner with the firm since 1993. Over the years, Sean has concentrated his practice in the areas of personal injury litigation; he has also represented governmental entities and officials in federal civil rights and employment lawsuits. Sean also works on many of DLP's Nursing Home Abuse cases.