Requests for Admission of Facts -- An Underused Discovery Tool in Maryland Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuits -- Sample Requests in Decubitus Ulcer (Bedsore) Wrongful Death Case

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It can be difficult for Plaintiffs' attorneys to obtain timely discovery responses from Defendants in nursing home negligence cases.  It is not uncommon for months to elapse before Plaintiffs' counsel is able to even receive responses to written discovery and documents requests from the nursing home's lawyers. 

Maryland Rule 2-424, entitled "Admission of acts and genuineness of documents," provides Plaintiffs' lawyers with a powerful discovery tool that can help streamline the issues in the case in the early phases of litigation.  This Rule requires a party to admit or deny the truth of matters of fact set forth in separate requests for admission.  Importantly, a party must file responses to requests for admission of facts within thirty (30) days or the request shall be deemed admitted.  See Maryland Rule 2-424(b).  Nursing home defendants are therefore forced to take a position on various factual issues at the outset of the case before their attorneys and in-house risk managers have an opportunity to fully evaluate the issues.  In the event that defense counsel does not file timely responses, the value of the case can potentially increase. 

Our firm regularly serves Defendant nursing homes with detailed Requests for Admission of Facts along with the Complaint and initial pleadings in all of our nursing home neglect cases.  These requests cover a range of important topics such as: (1) ensuring that the proper corporate entities have been named as Defendants; (2) ensuring that the healthcare providers at issue are employees or agents of the Defendants; and (3) ensuring that information contained in medical records or other documents is accurate.  Detailed requests for admission of facts also force defense lawyers to focus on and evaluate the factual circumstances of the case at an early stage and may help to facilitate early mediation or settlement.

A sample set of Requests for Admission of Facts in a nursing home neglect bedsore/pressure sore/decubitus ulcer wrongful death lawsuit follows:

1. [Insert name of defendant] owns [insert name of nursing home facility].
2. [Insert name of defendant] operates [insert name of nursing home facility].
3. [Insert name of defendant] owned [insert name of nursing home facility] during the time period of [insert time period at issue in case].
4. [Insert name of defendant] operated [insert name of nursing home facility] during the time period of [insert time period at issue in case].
5. All of the individuals at [insert name of nursing home facility] who participated in the care provided to Plaintiff during his stay in [insert dates] as alleged in the Complaint were acting on behalf of and within the scope of their employment and/or agency with [insert name of Defendant].
6. On or about [insert date], Plaintiff was transferred to [insert name of nursing home facility] for short-term rehabilitation.
7. At the time of his admission to [insert name of nursing home facility], Plaintiff was examined by the admitting nurse who noted that his skin integrity was intact with no  skin breakdown, wounds or pressure ulcers.
8. At the time of his admission to [insert name of nursing home facility], Plaintiff was examined by the admitting nurse and noted to have no pressure wounds or decubitus ulcers on his sacrum.
9. At the time of his admission to [insert name of nursing home facility], Plaintiff was examined by the admitting nurse and noted to have no pressure wounds or decubitus ulcers on his sacrum or elsewhere on his body.
10. Around the time of Plaintiff's admission to [insert name of nursing home facility] a nurse completed a Braden scale for Plaintiff indicating that he was at mild risk for developing future pressure wounds or decubitus ulcers.
11. Physician orders at the time of admission to [insert name of nursing home facility] called for the nursing staff to reposition and turn Plaintiff every two hours and perform a full body inspection every week.
12. Over the next several months, [insert name of nursing home facility] failed to reposition Plaintiff every two hours and/or perform a full body inspection every week, as ordered by his physicians.
13. Over the next few months, the family found Plaintiff in soiled undergarments that had not been changed for long periods of time. 
14. On or about [insert date], nurses at [insert name of nursing home facility] documented that [Plaintiff] was suffering from a stage II sacral decubitus ulcer.
15. On or about [insert date], nurses at [insert name of nursing home facility] documented that [Plaintiff] was suffering from a stage III decubitus ulcer on his buttocks.
16. Plaintiff's sacral decubitus ulcer subsequently grew larger and became infected.
17. Plaintiff developed additional decubitus ulcers on his left buttocks and left heel.
18. Plaintiff was not assessed by a dietician at [insert name of nursing home facility].
19. Plaintiff was evaluated by the wound care team at [insert name of hospital] and diagnosed with a stage IV sacral decubitus ulcer.
20. Plaintiff was evaluated by the wound care team at [insert name of hospital] and diagnosed with a stage IV sacral decubitus ulcer with purulent drainage, necrosis, and deep tunneling.
21. Hospital records dated [insert date] indicate that doctors advised Plaintiff's family that his sacral decubitus would likely never heal and would require chronic care.
22. Plaintiff was ultimately discharged from [insert name of hospital] on [insert date] and transferred to [insert name of facilty].
23. Over the next six months, Plaintiff continued to suffer from his stage IV sacral ulcer and related complications.
24. Over the next six months, Plaintiff continued to suffer from his stage IV sacral ulcer and related complications until he ultimately succumbed to these conditions on [insert date].
25.  The Death Certificate lists the cause of death as sepsis due to a sacral decubitus ulcer with osteomyelitis.
26. Defendant failed to take reasonable and appropriate measures to maintain Plaintiff's skin integrity, which resulted in the development of multiple decubitus ulcers.
27. Defendant failed to ensure that Plaintiff received adequate wound care, as well as the diet and nutrition necessary for wound prevention and healing.
28. Defendant failed to adequately and timely assess, diagnose, and treat Plaintiff's pressure wounds and skin breakdown.

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Please feel free to contact the nursing home neglect lawyers at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of bed sores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), nursing home falls, dehydration/malnutrition, medication administration error/prescription mistake, elder abuse or elder neglect.

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