Four day jury trial ends in mistrial

By Charlotte Caldwell - [email protected]

SIDNEY – The Shelby County Common Pleas Court declared a mistrial on the fourth day of an anticipated four-day civil jury trial on Jan. 20.

The narrative of the case – Maribeth Bolcavage v. Fair Haven Shelby County Home – started when Bolcavage’s father, James McGough, entered Fair Haven as a resident in November 2019 and ended when McGough died of a subdural hematoma – a collection of blood between the skull and the surface of the brain – from hitting his head during a fall while under Fair Haven’s care. McGough fell two other times at the facility before the fall that caused his death and the facility set him at a high risk of falling upon admission, according to Bolcavage’s attorney.

Bolcavage’s attorney made three claims against Fair Haven: negligence and breaching the standard of care for failing to prevent McGough from falling and properly and timely diagnose and treat McGough’s head injury; wrongful death from the negligence; and monetary compensation.

The jury and court heard testimony from nine witnesses, including one expert, before the mistrial occurred. As the defendants prepared to bring in their expert witness Friday morning, the court and counsel realized that the expert had been accidentally sent copies of interviews and surveys conducted at Fair Haven by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to review for the trial by the Fair Haven’s attorney’s office, which was different pieces of evidence than what other witnesses had been sent for review. Both parties agreed to not include ODH’s investigation in the trial, so no witnesses could discuss it during their testimonies.

Bolcavage’s attorney requested that the expert witness be removed from the trial, but the court decided that it would not be fair to Fair Haven’s party since Bolcavage’s party had an expert witness testify previously. The court also considered postponing the trial but was concerned about the jury receiving outside influences that could impact their final decisions.

The court and counsel will set a new trial date for the case, but it has not been determined yet.

By Charlotte Caldwell

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.