San Diego County Pays $2 Million To Settle Wrongful Death Case

The County of San Diego has agreed to pay $2 million to the family of Alton Stovall Sr., who died in the county-run skilled nursing facility Edgemoor Hospital. The payment was the result of a lawsuit brought against the facility for the neglect of Stovall, who died under very suspicious circumstances (to say the least).

According to news accounts, in the early hours of May 30, 2010 the 50-year-old Stovall, who had a preexisting leg wound, fell out of his bed and on to the floor. His leg began to bleed profusely while on the floor, but he could not reach his call light. His roommates were alerted by his fall, and began using their own call lights to summon help. The nurses on duty did not respond. A half-hour later, a nursing assistant entered Stovall’s room and found him on the floor in a pool of blood and with labored and erratic breathing.

Even after being discovered, Stovall did not receive appropriate care. It was nearly 15 minutes later that the nursing assistant called a supervisor, who, after assessing the situation, told the nursing home staff to call 911. When medics arrived an hour-and-a-half after Stovall’s fall from bed, it was too late. He died minutes before they arrived.

The Stovall family hired attorney William Berman to investigate and prosecute a civil lawsuit against the County of San Diego for Stovall’s death. Berman’s investigation revealed a cover-up at the facility, which no doubt contributed heavily to the County’s decision to pay such a large settlement.


Edgemoor is a public hospital that serves a primarily indigent patient population with few other healthcare options. Berman said he hoped that the Stovall’s story, and the lawsuit, would improve the quality of care provided by Edgemoor.

“In death, Alton Stovall Sr. helped make a difference for others requiring care,” Berman said. “While unfortunate, it sometimes takes the most shocking of circumstances to signal a wake-up call and change a system that is not working as it should be.”

Source: NC Times

The Walton Law Firm provide free consultations to individuals and families throughout San Diego County who believe a loved one has been abused or neglected in the hospital, nursing home, assisted living, board and care, or home health care setting. Call (760) 571-5500 or (866) 607-1325 for a free and confidential case evaluation.