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Friday, Jan. 25, 2019 01:45 pm

Nursing home ordered to pay $6.75 million

Jury award comes after government fines

A Sangamon County jury on Thursday awarded $6.75 million to the family of Robert Folder.


A Sangamon County jury has awarded $6.75 million to the family of Robert Folder, who died in 2014 after a mishap at Lewis Memorial Christian Village in Springfield.

Folder, 78, was being loaded into a van outside the nursing home when the van’s wheelchair lift became stuck, according to a lawsuit filed by his widow Mary and the couple’s two sons. While the van’s driver called for help, the lift sprang upward without warning, catapulting Folder to the ground, according to the lawsuit and a report prepared by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Folder suffered a broken neck.

Mary Folder was present and asked that the staff call 911, according to the lawsuit. Instead, the nursing home’s staff wheeled her husband back into the nursing home, then transferred him from his wheelchair to a bed without checking for neck injuries. Robert Folder wasn’t taken to a hospital until an hour after the mishap. He died less than three weeks later.

According to Folder’s death certificate, he died of respiratory failure caused by a broken neck. He’d been admitted to the nursing home five months earlier after suffering a broken leg.

The state fined the nursing home $50,000 after finding the wheelchair lift had broken parts and hadn’t been properly maintained. Federal regulators levied a $344,500 fine.

Neither attorneys for Folder’s kin nor the nursing home could be reached for comment on the case that concluded Thursday.

Folder was an avid fisherman who became a maker of fishing lures that became famous throughout the world. He made lures fulltime from 1977 until 2012, succeeding in the internet age despite never having a website. Former President Jimmy Carter was a fan and sent thank-you letters to Folder for lures.

After graduating from Feitshans High School, he was drafted into the Army. He returned to Springfield in 1962 and got a job as glazier at Capitol Glass Co., where he once repaired and replaced leaded glass at the Dana-Thomas House before it came under public ownership.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.


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