A jury has awarded $7.7 million to the parents of a woman diagnosed with schizophrenia who died during a scuffle with her caregivers.
The sum announced Friday after five days of deliberation was significantly larger than the $5 million Lauren Arcady’s parents had sought, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported in Saturday’s editions.
Arcady, 33, died in 2010 during a struggle with her caregivers. Arcady had moved into her own house in Santa Maria about 150 miles north of Los Angeles after living in a state-run facility for people with developmental disabilities. Two caregivers were hired to stay with her during the day.
Arcady, who was tentatively diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 13, became angry when one of the caretakers took a picture of her. She marched into her room as they followed.
During the trial, plaintiffs’ attorney James Murphy told jurors that Arcady suffocated because the caregivers improperly restrained her on a bed. Murphy said the caregivers did not have CPR training and did not try to revive Arcady.
But attorneys for the company that hired the caregivers countered that they tried to help Arcady, who had a habit of hurting herself. They contended her death was caused by medications and stress. The coroner’s office could not conclusively determine a cause of death.
The caregivers were not charged. Arcady’s parents, Kathleen Reed and Alexander Arcady, filed a wrongful death complaint against the caretakers’ employer, alleging negligence and abuse of a dependent adult.
Friday’s verdict came almost a year after a different jury awarded $74 million to a San Luis Obispo couple, who alleged their doctor’s botched delivery of their daughter resulted in her developing cerebral palsy.