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Doing the right thing: Gruber finds senior care is good for business — and society

Saul Gruber, chair of the Long Term Care Litigation Department, Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins.-(PHOTO BY AARON HOUSTON)

Only puréed foods were supposed to be fed to one of the nursing home’s residents, but solid foods ended up on the plate.

An aide later found the resident had choked to death.

Saul Gruber, the New Jersey attorney who won the case on this person’s behalf, still remembers it well because of the outcome: The facility overhauled its entire feeding protocol.

And it also brought some peace to a grieving family.

Gruber feels his Mount Laurel legal practice — and others handling nursing home abuse and neglect cases in New Jersey — are doing work that really makes a difference.

Despite that, one hand would be enough to count the amount of Garden State firms specializing in this. It’s a niche area of law. But, if the interest in it on the part of the state’s larger firms is any indication, it might not remain so forever.

Gruber’s firm, one of four New Jersey firms that are dedicated to nursing home abuse and neglect, merged with Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins at the start of the year.

The nearly 40 lawyers of Springfield-based Javerbaum Wurgaft focus on personal injury cases, but the firm never had nursing home law experts.

“What we’re seeing now is more personal injury lawyers realizing that, from a business point of view, (nursing home law is) a viable option, so they’re taking those cases instead of sending it to the four that do it,” Gruber said. “They know they want to be a part of this.”

Javerbaum Wurgaft was in a similar position to many personal injury firms in the state; it had been referring these cases out, according to one of its partners, Eric Kahn.

“We were getting enough calls that we thought it was better business for us to have someone on board who knew these cases,” Kahn said. “He started working for us Jan. 1 and, with the combination of our size and his expertise, we’ve already pulled in (a lot of) cases.”

Brett Johnson

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