A long-term resident of a central Pennsylvania, large chain nursing home was permitted to continue his lifelong habit of cigarette smoking while in the presence of a staff member for safety. One day while smoking alone on a bench in front of the building his clothing caught on fire and he was burned over 60% of his body and died three days later after the necessary amputation of both legs which were irreparably burned.
When the family retrieved his clothing they found small cigarette burn holes in all of his pants. They also found a box of matches and a package of cigarettes in his night table although these were only supposed to be given to him by staff when requested and under supervision.
We determined that a $25 fireproof smoking apron would have kept his clothes from igniting, however, there were none in the building. A nursing home 20 miles away owned by the same company had purchased them for its residents at the insistence of the administrator. The national company had no policies for protecting smokers in their facilities despite the fact that there had been a series of burning incidents nationwide.
Two months after his death the family received a card inviting them to a birthday party for him.
The case settled shortly after filing suit for $750,000.