LACONIA — A wrongful death suit brought by the estate of a resident at Golden View Health Care Center in Meredith who died at the hands of another resident, has been settled, according to court records.
“The case is settled and an agreement will be filed with the court” by Dec. 30, states the notice filed in the case last Friday. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
The suit was brought by the executors of the estate of Barbara Whittier against Metro Health Foundation of New Hampshire Inc., the legal entity which operates Golden View.
Whittier died on March 16, 2016, after she was assaulted by Donald Sleeper. The state Attorney General's office ruled the death a homicide. An autopsy determined that Whittier, then 82, died of hypertensive and coronary heart disease, with a contributing cause of attempted strangulation.
The AG’s Office said Sleeper, who was 87 at the time, suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. He has not been charged in connection with Whittier’s death. He was moved shortly after the incident to another medical facility.
The suit, filed in June 2018, charged Golden View with wrongful death and medical negligence.
The complaint stated the supervisors and management of the skilled-nursing facility knew about Sleeper’s intimidating and assaultive behavior, but “failed to provide sufficient security to protect Whittier.”
The complaint said that, given Sleeper’s behavior, the nursing home should have have never admitted him to Golden View in the first place, and once he was there should have then moved him to a more secure part of the facility or “remove him from the facility altogether.”
The most recent court proceeding in the case occurred in May when Judge James D. O’Neill III ruled against a plaintiff’s motion that Golden View be ordered to turn over certain documents about staffing and training for Golden View patient care workers.
In that ruling, O’Neill wrote that the records the plaintiff's attorney, Matthew Lahey, was seeking “are not original or other records kept relative to any patient,” and so do not have to be turned over to the court.
Whittier had previously lived in Laconia for many years and operated a housekeeping business and a downtown restaurant.