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The Associated Press July 7, 2010, 8:26AM ET

Jury hits Skilled Healthcare with hefty damages

Skilled Healthcare Group Inc. said Wednesday a jury returned a verdict awarding damages of $671 million against the nursing facility operator in a case that accuses it of failing to provide adequate staffing.

Skilled Healthcare Chairman and CEO Boyd Hendrickson said in a statement the company was "deeply disappointed" in the verdict and believes its nursing homes are adequately staffed.

The company, which is based in Foothill Ranch, Calif., said it intends to "vigorously pursue various post-trial motions, as well as an appeal, if necessary."

The company said a Humboldt County, Calif., jury awarded $613 million in statutory damages and $58 million in damages for restitution. The jury has yet to hear the punitive damages phase of the trial.

Skilled Healthcare said its main professional liability insurance coverage is exhausted for the policy year applicable to the case. It noted that even if it obtains coverage, the jury verdict amount far exceeds the policy limits of its insurance.

Skilled Healthcare Group's subsidiary healthcare services companies collectively had annual revenue of almost $760 million and employed 14,000 people as of March 31.

The company operates long-term care facilities in California, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas, including 78 skilled nursing facilities and 22 assisted living facilities that provide room and board and social services.

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