WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Supreme Court of the United States refused this week to review lower court decisions in a case which could cost a Lowndes County nursing home operator millions.
The high court ruled against Lowndes County Health Services, which does business as Heritage Health Care at Holly Hill, which was sued by Gregory Copeland and Marier House in connection with the 2012 death of Copeland’s father, Bobby, according to court documents. House is the administrator of Bobby Copeland’s estate.
The lawsuit, filed in 2014, claimed ordinary negligence and violation in the standard of care against Lowndes County Health Services, according to the jury verdict form.
In January 2018, Holly Hill was ordered to pay $7.6 million in damages, but fault for Bobby Copeland’s death was divided between the nursing home and four parties who weren’t part of the trial.
In its filing with the Georgia Court of Appeals, Holly Hill claimed the trial court made an error in rejecting a challenge to the use of a jury strike, court documents show. The debate over the jury strike centered on whether a potential juror was stricken for racial reasons, court documents show.
Copeland was Black while the juror was white, said Kenneth Connor, the attorney who represented the Copeland family in the state court trial.
The appeals judge ruled against Holly Hill, records show.
Lowndes County Health Services took its appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court, where it was again turned down, Connor said.
An appeal to review the Georgia Supreme Court decision was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on May 6, court records show. The case was listed on the high court’s website as having been denied without comment.
“This is the end of the line” for the case, Connor said.
Attorneys for Lowndes County Health Services had no immediate comment.
Terry Richards is senior reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times.