Ex-nursing home employee wins $1 million in lawsuit

Ex-nursing home employee wins $1 million in lawsuit

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A former Orangeburg nursing home employee who was acquitted of charges he sexually assaulted a resident has been awarded $1 million in a lawsuit against two employees of the nursing home and against the company that owns the Whitman Street facility.

Ralph C. Williams Sr., 58, was awarded $897.500 in punitive damages and $102,500 in actual damages by an Orangeburg jury last month against defendants Patricia Johnson, Josette Peppers and UniHealth Post Acute Care, LLC for defamation, according to Orangeburg County court records.

Court records indicate UniHealth will need to pay $600,000, Johnson $200,000 and Peppers $97,500.

“We are satisfied with the jury’s verdict,” Williams’ attorney Java Warren said. “We felt like justice was served.”

Warren said the allegations against his client were horrific.

“A criminal and civil jury confirmed and vindicated him not just once but twice,” Warren said.

The defendants were represented by Atlanta, Georgia-based law firm Arnall, Golden, Gregory, LLP. Defense attorneys Tyler Arnold and Jason Bring could be reached for comment.

Williams was arrested and charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct and abuse of a vulnerable adult in June 2010.

Warren said the third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge was dismissed while the abuse of a vulnerable adult charge went to a jury trial.

Warren said Williams was encouraged to plead guilty but declined doing so.

“He was not going to plead guilty a crime he did not commit,” Warren said.

The jury returned a not guilty verdict February 2012, Warren said.

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