Cases of businesses being charged with murder, manslaughter or unlawful death (depending on the laws of the country they happen in), are rare, but not completely unheard of. When a person’s death is thought to be the result of negligence or mistreatment, not only the staff actually involved but also those at the head of a company can be held accountable, and cases of corporate murder can occur.
One company currently embroiled in such a case is US alcohol and drug rehabilitation firm AAC Holdings – a case which is especially notable as it has sparked a dramatic downturn in the company’s stock, which was previously thought to have been one of America’s hottest investments.
So, what is the story behind the corporate murder case that has brought one of the New York Stock Exchange’s best performing companies to its knees?
The Case of Gary Benefield and A Better Tomorrow Rehab Center
The murder indictments recently brought to the door of AAC Holdings pertain to the death of one Gary Benefield, previously of Springerville, Arizona, who met his end in July 2010 at A Better Tomorrow treatment center in Murrieta, which is a California town in the vicinity of Los Angeles.
Gary Benefield was a married, 52 year old coal power plant worker, who had been plagued by health problems. The nature of any addiction that may have prompted him to put himself in the hands of American Addiction Centers and A Better Tomorrow has not been disclosed, but we do know that Gary Benefield was a long term emphysema sufferer, had recently had pneumonia for which he was hospitalized, and had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is what the coroner ruled had eventually killed him.
As a consequence of his various health issues, he was in a weak condition when he set out for A Better Tomorrow drug and alcohol treatment center, and was using a tank of oxygen to help with his breathing. His oxygen tank got emptied at the airport.
What Happened to Gary Benefield at A Better Tomorrow?
Once Gary Benefield was received at A Better Tomorrow rehab center, the staff on duty gave him some anti-anxiety drugs, combined with antidepressants, but crucially did not give him oxygen.
Gary Benefield was then left unsupervised throughout the night, a 2012 report by the California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes into his death, along with some other events at A Better Tomorrow revealed.
The following day was not ‘a better tomorrow’ for Mr Benefield, who passed away. To make the story even sadder, it was also his 53rd birthday.
The Indictment of Jerrod Nathan Menz and Other AAC Associates
While it came five years on from the death of Gary Benefield, the impact that the murder indictment from California prosecutors took effect very quickly.
The AAC Holdings board filed following the indictment announcing that it did not accept liability for Gary Benefield’s death, and would put its resources into the defense of those indicted with murder. It also announced that Jerrod Nathan Menz, company president, co-founder of AAC Holdings, and second biggest shareholder with $200 million invested in AAC, was going to stand down from his role on the board, but would still be working with AAC very closely.
Jerrod Nathan Menz himself has posted bond, and is expected to appear on the charges in around October. One of the other people indicted with the murder of Gary Benefield was Mignon Dean, who is still employed by AAC. Two other people face the murder indictment, who were working at A Better Tomorrow when Gary Benefield was admitted, though they had left AAC in the time between his death and the current criminal charges. One additional person was indicted with abuse of a dependent adult, but not murder.
Following the indictment, the market shrunk back from its previous confidence in AAC. Share prices fell by up to 53% in once day.
While it remains to be seen whether or not AAC will be found guilty of causing the death of Gary Benefield, it is difficult to see the market regaining confidence in the previously robust stock any time soon. You can read on more interesting health related news and tips at healthannotation.com