The owner of a personal care home who acted as his own attorney in a civil suit brought by a Tamaqua area man for the death of his father, found out how difficult it was to defend himself as a jury returned a verdict of $125,000 against him after a one day trial Wednesday in the Schuylkill County court.
James F. McGill Jr., Sixth Street, Kelayres, Kline Township, was owner of White Owl Manor Personal Care Home, 5 White Owl Drive, Mahanoy City, was found negligent in the case. He learned quickly that serving as his own attorney was not an easy task and the trial judge, James P. Goodman, showed a great deal of patience. Time after time McGill was cautioned by the judge while he was questioning a witness that he could only ask questions of the witness and not make statements.
The suit against McGill and the personal care manor was brought by Albert Williams Sr., of 459 Valley St., Tamaqua R.D., who has been designated the executor of the estate of Evan J. Williams, his father, who died June 27, 2011, at the White Owl Manor.
According to the suit Evan J. Williams was admitted on Oct. 7, 2010, as a patient/resident and was diagnosed as being at risk of choking and/or aspirating while eating. The suit stated that Williams was placed on a soft diet and was to have constant supervision while eating.
The suit claimed on June 27, 2011, he was allegedly served or otherwise allowed to eat and consume a meal containing non-soft meat and it is alleged he died of choking.
The key witness in the trial was Dr. Richad Bindie, pathologist, who performed the autopsy. He testified Williams died from choking. The manor was closed July 1, 2011, by the State Department of Public Welfare for various violations, it was noted.