Developmentally disabled adult dies while in care. $22.75M. San Bernardino County.


Psych drug builds up in plaintiff's system, causing her death, allegedly after she demonstrated symptoms that were ignored by defendants.

The Case

  • Case Name: Carla Thomas v. Nineteenee Corp. & Yodites and Assoc. Mgmt. LLC
  • Court and Case Number: San Bernardino Superior Court / CIVDS1937151
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, April 26, 2023
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, December 09, 2019
  • Type of Case: Wrongful Death
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Janet Frangie
  • Plaintiffs:
    Carla Thomas
  • Defendants:
    Nineteenee Corp.
    Yodites and Assoc. Mgmt. LLC
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $22,750,000
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Nineteenee Corp.: $11,375,000

    Yodites and Assoc. Mgmt. LLC: $11,375,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $4,000,000

    Future: $18,750,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 23 court days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1:52

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Sweet James, LLP by Ashkahn Mohamadi and Bobby Taghavi, Newport Beach.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Beach Law Group by Tom Beach and Paul Singer, Oxnard. (For Yodites and Assoc. Mgmt. LLC.)

    Wilcox Dunakin Chrisopoulos, LLP by Chad Wilcox and Chris Dunakin, San Juan Capistrano. (For Nineteenee Corp.)

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Stephen Ornish, M.D., forensic psychiatry.

    Robert Goldweber, M.D., emergency medicine.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Richard Ruffalo M.D., pharmacology and anesthesiology.

    Andrew Lawson M.D., emergency medicine.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Cyndy Minnery, standard of care for adult residential facilities and adult day cares.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On February 07, 2019, Casarah Thomas, a severely developmentally disabled adult died while in the care of Shelley's House (an adult residential facility owned and operated by Nineteenee Corp.). While living at the facility, Casarah had been attending an adult day care program called BOT (owned and operated by Yodites and Assoc. Mgmt. LLC).

    An autopsy revealed she had died from a gradual buildup of Doxepin (TCA) in her system due to a previously unidentified CYP2D6 genetic deficiency, which made her a slow metabolizer of that drug.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    On February 05, 2019, and February 06, 2019, the two days preceding Casarah's death, her caretakers at BOT and Shelley's House were aware of new symptoms that she had developed, which qualified as a change in her condition. These symptoms were signs of the underlying Doxepin intoxication in Casarah's body, combined with Shelley's House making a medication error and administering the drug Topiramate to Casarah, which had been specifically discontinued by her psychiatrist due to  a previous bad reaction. Per their policies and procedures, as well as the California Code of Regulation, both defendants were required to obtain medical care for Casarah on those days due to what they observed. If they had done so, she would have survived.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    1. Casarah had a long history of being sleepy, closing her eyes and losing balance. Her condition on 2/5 and 2/6 was not noticeably different to a degree that would reasonably have triggered a call for medical attention.

    2. Dr. Jose Gamboa negligently caused Casarah’s death by increasing her Doxepin inappropriately, not performing doxepin blood levels to check for toxicity, not performing “routine EKGs.”

    3. BOT claimed that their own documents explaining Casarah’s symptoms on 2/5 and 2/6 were exaggerated and she was actually relatively normal those days.

    4. Shelley’s claimed that they never observed her to have a change in condition on 2/5 and 2/6 and that she was completely normal (this was a much stronger argument because their records didn’t indicate any issues when she arrived home on 2/5 and 2/6).

    5. It was not their conduct that killed Casarah; rather, it was her unknowable genetic defect and the silent buildup of Doxepin in her system.

    6. Even if Casarah had been taken to the ER on 2/5 or 2/6, it is not known what would have happened as it is too speculative without knowing “additional data points” – ER expert Andrew Lawson.

    7. Casarah was violent and aggressive and her mother had admitted her to their care for those reasons. That should diminish her damages.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Past and future loss of love, companionship, care, affection and society.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: To Nineteenee for $1,000,000; to Yodites for $1,000,000.

Additional Notes

At mediation defendants made a global offer of $600,000.
At start of trial defendants made a global offer of $1,700,000, including tender of $1,000,000 policy limit by Nineteenee.
Prior to the verdict, Yodites offered $4,000,000 (policy limit), resulting in a global offer of $5,000,000 if you include the tender of $1,000,000 policy limit by Nineteenee.

Per defense counsel:

Nineteenee's carrier  tendered the $1 million policy limits a few months before trial at the MSC.