This case involves a class-action lawsuit that was launched against the defendant firm, which operated a network of residential care facilities for elderly and disabled clients in the northwestern United States. The company was accused of failing to adequately staff their residential care centers, which resulted systemic issues related to resident well-being. In order to redress claims of substandard care, the suit sought to return the yearly fees paid by residents in order to stay at the facilities. Consequently, an expert in financial damages was requested to determine if this method would result in adequate compensation for the plaintiff class.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. What is your experience as a financial damages expert in a class action suit?
- 2. Why or why not, in your opinion, is it appropriate to measure damages this way in a class-action litigation?
Expert Witness Response E-038768
I have been evaluating economic and punitive damages since 2004 and have been testifying with regard to such matters since 2010. I have a PhD in economics with a specialty in health economics. I have analyzed economics damages in hundreds, if not thousands, of cases. I have previously prepared opinions regarding measures of punitive damages and evaluated the defendant’s ability to pay punitive damages in other matters. In order to answer this question it is necessary to review the complaint and understand exactly what the plaintiffs are claiming and what they are entitled to under relevant law. Based on the limited information available, it appears the plaintiffs may be attempting to value their pain and suffering by using the admissions fees as a measure of this. Valuation of pain and suffering losses is not permissible expert testimony under relevant law. If the plaintiff(s) suffered an injury or illness as a result of the alleged understaffing, their economic losses would be based on the cost of their medical care. In my opinion, a measure of punitive damages would be the defendant’s unjust enrichment as measured by their gained profits. Specifically, how much did the defendant save in labor costs by understaffing. This could be computed by comparing the staffing level at the defendant’s facilities with the statewide average and valued at the average wage for the labor involved.