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Cook County, Illinois

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Barry Doyle
Barry Doyle
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"Mercy killings" investigated at McHenry nursing home

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The McHenry County State’s Attorney obtained a court order to exhume at least three bodies of deceased residents of a local nursing home. This is part of an ongoing investigation into allegations that a member of the nursing staff deliberately killed residents of the facility.

The residents were allegedly killed with a fatal overdose of morphine.

Normally, the law holds employers responsible for injuries caused by their employees. The law refers to this doctrine as respondeat superior. As long as the action was in the course and scope of their employment, the employer is responsible for the misconduct of its employees.

However, when the employee commits intentional misconduct that results in injury, sometimes the employer will defend against the suit by claiming that the employee was not acting in the course and scope of his employment — after all, the employer did not hire the employee to deliberately hurt people.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care act puts and end to that defense because it explicitly makes the facility liable for both the intentional and negligent misconduct of its employees.