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Florida Investigation Sheds Light on Abuse of Disabled People

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on November 6, 2012

James O. Cunningham and other Orlando personal injury lawyers are closely following developments in a case involving abuse at a Central Florida care facility. State officials filed a complaint against the Lake County school and care center for disabled people after receiving numerous complaints about abuse at the facility. They say that complaints from residents about abuse by staff members are nothing new at the Carlton Palms Education Center, located in a remote orange grove outside Mount Dora. State officials began investigating residents’ complaints after hearing that they were being routinely beaten, choked and dragged across the floor at the center. One resident lost a tooth after being struck by a staffer, another reported being tripped by one of the employees and another resident was reportedly struck over the head with a large plastic trash bin until his head was bleeding profusely.

Records from the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities indicate that the facility has had at least eight confirmed cases of abuse since 2010, with three of the cases leading to felony arrests. The agency outlined several cases of abuse at the center, which included the following:

  • A January 2012 incident, where a 42-year-old staffer punched, kicked and choked a disabled man until he gagged
  • An incident this past April involving a developmentally disabled man who was struck repeatedly with a belt wielded by one worker while another watched from a nearby chair despite cries from the man for her to help him
  • Another worker accused in July of kicking a 16-year-old disabled boy in the head and choking him so that he would stop screaming (officials say that several employees knew about this incident but did not report it until nearly a month later)

Despite documented evidence of abuse, state officials say that the home, which houses 89 disabled children and adults, is still safe for residents. The facility received $24 million in Medicaid funding in 2011, and officials say that removing the residents would "unnecessarily disrupt" their lives.

If these and other cases of confirmed abuse don’t constitute grounds for removing residents and placing them in a safer facility, you have to wonder what state officials consider grounds for removal. This is one of the many reasons why people abused in any kind of assisted living facility need and deserve aggressive and experienced legal representation. Mr. Cunningham has used his experience, skills and resources to help victims of abuse receive the compensation they need to relocate to better facilities since 1977. He is an Orlando abuse lawyer dedicated to helping those least able to help themselves. If you know or suspect that someone is being abused, please call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873). If you would like to schedule a free consultation with Mr. Cunningham, call him today at 800-425-2004.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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