Family of frozen woman sues Manteno care facility, alleging negligence

By Carol Ostrow | Oct 23, 2015

A deceased woman’s family is suing her Manteno care facility, alleging common law negligence and wrongful death when her body was discovered outdoors on the facility’s grounds.

Dennis Corriveau, as independent administrator of the estate of Jeanette James filed a lawsuit Oct. 8 in Cook County Circuit Court against DSI Manteno Owner, doing business as Heritage Woods Manteno and Gardant Management Solutions Inc., also known as BMA Management, alleging negligence in allowing James to freeze to death in snowy woods outside the facility in 2014.

DSI Manteno Operator Heritage Woods Watseka/Manteno, facility administrator Beverly Fetherling, and nursing supervisor Donna Fox were named as respondents in discovery for the case.

According to the complaint, James was a resident of the defendants’ supportive living facility at 355 Diversatech Drive, Manteno, from mid-November 2012 until her death Feb. 9, 2014.

The suit says James had a high risk for falls coupled with a history of exiting the facility regularly and required supervision at all times. The lawsuit states the woman was able to leave through an unlocked door on the evening of Feb. 9, 2014, and was found dead outside the facility the next day.

The lawsuit states that “the geographic area of Heritage Woods Manteno was covered in snow and experienced severe winter weather with temperatures below zero Fahrenheit” that evening and the next morning, and that the Kankakee County Coroner’s Office determined James died of hypothermia due to cold exposure.

The defendants are charged with failure to safeguard James’ well being, have round-the-clock supervision and electronic devices for emergency in place, and monitor the patient. The woman’s estate administrator argues Jones suffered pain, disability, trauma and death.

The plaintiff alleges wrongful death and loss of society for James’ surviving son and daughter along with common law negligence.

Cooriveau seeks more than $50,000, plus attorney fees and costs. The plaintiff is represented by attorneys Steven Levin and Michelle Wesley of Levin & Perconti in Chicago and Y. Kevin Williams of Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial in Atlanta.

Cook County Circuit Court case number 2015L010295.

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