Texas Jury Returns $160 Million Verdict for Vicious Beating of 81-Year-Old Nursing Home Resident by Violent Roommate

Although the award will likely be substantially reduced by the trial judge or a Texas appellate court, a San Antonio jury has returned a verdict $160 million in favor of the family of Tranquilino Mendoza, an 81-year-old man who was viciously beaten by a mentally disturbed roommate at the Comanche Trail Nursing Center in 1997.

The jury found that Summit Care Corp., its Texas affiliate, and two of its employees shared responsibility for this particularly brutal beating and its aftermath. Mr. Mendoza survived the attack but died less than three years later from unrelated causes.

“I wish my daddy was here. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to finish what he started.” said an emotional Rosamarie Paradez, who brought the action on behalf of Mr. Mendoza’s estate as his administratrix.

The attorney for the defendants said members Mendoza’s family had testified that he had received excellent care the Mr. Mendoza received at the Comanche Trail Nursing Center before the attack. Moreover, defendants argued that, despite the severity of the beating he received, Mendoza made a full and speedy recovery from his injuries.

Defense counsel claimed that, while defendants always wanted “to reasonably compensate Mr. Mendoza and his family for the injuries he sustained,” the “enormity of the jury’s verdict” makes it necessary for defendants “to pursue available legal remedies.”

The evidence at trial showed that Mendoza’s roommate had been involved in some 30 assaults prior to his being moved in with the elderly Mendoza on September 26, 1997.

Only two days later, the violent roommate brutally attacked Mendoza with a water pitcher, a glass, and his fists. Although he lived for almost three years after the attack, the jury was convinced that Mendoza never recovered from the severe trauma he suffered as a result of the beating.

(Source: Express-News [San Antonio] 2/23/06)

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