Nursing Home Lawsuit Settlements, News and Updates


The latest news and updates regarding California Nursing Home Lawsuits and Settlements

California Nursing Home Lawsuit Settlements, News and Updates


Nursing Home Lawsuit News: Texas Nursing Homes Appeal Wrongful Death Suit to State Supreme Court


September 24, 2018
Saying that that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals erred in overturning a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit against it, a Texas nursing home has appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court. The case involves allegations brought by the daughter of a deceased former resident who claims the skilled-nursing facility was grossly negligent in her father’s death from infected bed sores.

Agreeing with defendants that the plaintiff’s expert report did not satisfy the prevailing legal standards, a trial court judge had granted summary to judgement Ashford Hall Inc., a skilled-nursing facility in Irving, Texas. On appeal, however, that decision was reversed, and the case was remanded back to the lower court for trial. Rather than let that happen, Ashford decided to take its chances with the Texas Supreme Court.

Plaintiff Vickie Jones originally sued in December 2014, alleging that Ashford was responsible for the death of her father, Leroy Jones, who had been an Ashford resident from January 2013 until March 4, 2013, when he passed away. Though he was under Ashford’s care for less than three months, Jones alleges that during that time her father lost 40 pounds of body weight and developed severe bed sores, which, insufficiently treated, became infected, resulting in his death.

The trial court initially dismissed Jones’ complaint, finding that an export report prepared for the plaintiff by Dr. E. Rawson Griffin III did not meet the legal requirements set forth under Texas Supreme Court precedent. But in May 2018, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the lower-court decision, breathing new life into the lawsuit.

Ashford’s intent to appeal all the way to the Texas Supreme Court, reported on September 20 by Law360, shows the lengths the company will go to discredit a report that found “that Ashford’s failure to care for, monitor, and treat Mr. Jones caused his pressure ulcers to develop; and then, Ashford’s continuing failure to care for Mr. Jones and properly treat his pressure ulcers caused the pressure ulcers to worsen and become infected,” eventually killing him.

The Texas Supreme Court now will decide whether to reverse the Fifth Circuit’s decision, thereby upholding the trial court’s original dismissal of the lawsuit, or to remand the case back to the lower court for trial.

If you or a loved one ever suffers harm at the hands of an unscrupulous nursing home operator, contact the experienced team of attorneys at AdamsFietz.com for a free consultation!

Sources:
Law360

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Nursing Home Lawsuit News: Woman Can Sue Nursing Home for Not Stopping Homophobic Abuse, 7th Circuit Says


August 29, 2018
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has revived the lawsuit of an Illinois woman who sued the assisted-living facility at which she was a resident for allegedly failing to stop homophobic abuse leveled against her by other residents. The appellate decision, handed down Monday, August 27, 2018, reversed a lower-court ruling that had dismissed the lawsuit brought by Marsha Wetzel under the federal Fair Housing Act and the Illinois Human Rights Act.

Wetzel, 70, claims that when her fellow residents at Glen St. Andrew Living Community in Niles, Illinois learned that she was a lesbian, they engaged in a campaign of harassment that allegedly included the use of homophobic slurs, spitting on Wetzel, and physical attacks. Wetzel’s lawsuit further asserts that when she went reported the incidents to Glen St. Andrew staff seeking assistance, she was retaliated against instead.

According to the Seventh Circuit decision, “St. Andrew insists that the [Fair Housing] Act affords Wetzel no recourse, because it imposes liability only on those who act with discriminatory animus, an allegation Wetzel had not expressly made of any defendant. The district court agreed and dismissed Wetzel’s suit.”

However, the appellate court continues, “We read the FHA more broadly. Not only does it create liability when a landlord intentionally discriminates against a tenant based on a protected characteristic; it also creates liability against a landlord that has actual notice of tenant‐on‐tenant harassment based on a protected status, yet chooses not to take any reasonable steps within its control to stop that harassment.”

This aspect of the Seventh Circuit ruling—the declaration that landlords have a duty to take reasonable action to stop tenant-on-tenant harassment of which they are aware—has been hailed as an important victory by both LGBT-rights and fair-housing advocates, who predict a wide-ranging impact from the ruling.

“Marsha Wetzel’s tenacity will help thousands of victims of housing discrimination,” read a message posted on the Twitter account for the National Fair Housing Alliance, one of seven housing-advocacy groups to file an amicus brief in the case, according to The Washington Post.

“She, just like all people living in rental housing, whether LGBT or not, should be assured that they will at least be safe from discriminatory harassment in their own homes,” read a statement issued by Karen Loewy, senior legal counsel for Lambda Legal, an LGBT-advocacy group that is representing Wetzel in court. “What happened to Marsha was illegal and unconscionable, and the Court has now put all landlords on notice that they have an obligation to take action to stop known harassment.”

If you or a loved one ever suffers harm at the hands of an unscrupulous nursing home operator, contact the experienced team of attorneys at AdamsFietz.com for a free consultation!

Sources:
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
Marsha Wetzel v. Glen St. Andrew Assisted Living Community, LLC et al.

Sources:
The Washington Post

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California Nursing Home Lawsuit News: California Appellate Court Rules Nursing Home Arbitration Agreement Invalid


August 20, 2018
In another victory against nursing home operators seeking to shield themselves from liability behind binding arbitration agreements, a California appellate panel has ruled that an arbitration agreement with an 81-year-old resident was invalid because he lacked the capacity to enter into the agreement at the time of his signing, affirming a lower-court ruling.

According to the panel’s decision, plaintiff Lawrence Baker had been prescribed the powerful painkiller Tramadol following knee surgery, and he had taken the drug on March 24, 2015, prior to signing the arbitration agreement under which he waived all medical malpractice claims against Anberry Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. According to evidence presented to the lower court, Tramadol produced severe disorientation as well as hallucinations in Baker.

Baker later sued Anberry and its operator TJD LLC after Anberry staff allegedly dropped him during a trip to the bathroom, causing him to re-injure his surgically repaired knee, requiring additional surgeries. The defendant skilled-nursing-facility operators petitioned the lower court to have the case removed to arbitration, but the court found the agreement invalid on the basis that Baker lacked the capacity to enter into the agreement at the time of signing.

An Anberry employee present at the time of signing testified that he had no recollection of the meeting in question, and therefore could not provide any information as to Baker’s state at the time. Similarly, Baker had no memory of the meeting or of signing the arbitration agreement, which the panel found to be evidence that he “was not processing information about the events occurring immediately before he signed the agreement,” a relevant legal standard involving an individual’s mental capacity to enter into a contract.

Additionally, the panel found that the lower court did not err in relying on the testimony of Baker’s wife as to the irregularity of her husband’s signature on the arbitration agreement in assessing his state of mind at the time of signing, writing in its decision that “the trial court reasonably could infer that [Baker’s wife of 54 years] could identify when her husband’s signature looked normal and when it did not,” according to Law360.

With unscrupulous, profit-driven nursing-home operators increasingly relying on arbitration agreements to escape or severely limit their liability for malpractice claims, it is more important than ever to have on your side experienced, knowledgeable attorneys who know how to get you the justice you or your loved one deserves. Hopefully you’ll never need an attorney on your side, but when you do, remember to head to AdamsFietz.com for a free legal consultation!
Nursing HOme / Elder Abuse Hotline
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Source:

Law360


Nursing Home Lawsuit: Law Professor Warns Nursing Home Lawsuits Against Children of Residents May Increase


July 30, 2018
Consider the following real-life scenario:

A son enters into a contract for deed under which he will ultimately take ownership of his father’s land. In furtherance of the contract, the son puts money and labor toward improvements to the property and pays an agreed-upon sum, ultimately receiving title to the land.

Shortly after the deed to the land exchanges hands, the son’s parents are forced to seek nursing home care. Several years later, both parents pass away, leaving a debt of nearly $100,000 allegedly owed to the nursing home.

Under an archaic statute that some commentators say had not been enforced in nearly fifty years, the nursing-home operator sues the son for payment of the parents’ alleged debt. Additionally, the nursing home alleges that the transfer of land from father to son—which was conducted according to contract—was fraudulent.

At trial, the nursing home succeeds in convincing the court that the conveyance of land was indeed fraudulent, and the court holds the son liable for his parents’ unpaid nursing home bills. The landmark case is appealed all the way to the state supreme court, which not only affirms that the son is liable but that his siblings are, as well.

This case, known as Four Seasons Healthcare Services v. Linderkamp, actually took place in North Dakota under that state’s so-called familial support law. Although the statutes in question had not been tested before a court in decades, legal observers are increasingly sounding the alarm that such cases may become increasingly prevalent as the baby-boomer generation continues to age and healthcare costs continue to soar.

In a piece published in the West Fargo Observer on July 28, 2018, University of North Dakota assistant law professor Tammy Oltz issued just such a warning.

Noting that before the 2013 Linderkamp case the filial support statute had not been litigated in North Dakota since 1968, Oltz observed, “I think what's interesting about [Linderkamp] and what it did is that it reaffirmed that these statutes can be enforced.”

Such a precedent may encourage other nursing-home operators to bring similar suits against the children of residents or former residents who cannot pay the massive bills associated with full-time elder care.

Most concerning, other states have similar laws on the books, though some only allow parents to bring suit against their children. In 1995, North Dakota revised its law to allow third parties to bring suit, according to Oltz, who specializes in the study of family law.

Stay tuned to AdamsFietz.com for the latest legal developments involving nursing home care.
Nursing HOme / Elder Abuse Hotline
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Source:

Wells Fargo Observer


Nursing Home Lawsuit News: California Class Action Lawsuits Allege Chronic Understaffing at Brius Nursing Homes


July 30, 2018
Citing inappropriate profit-maximization practices that put nursing-home residents at risk, two northern California law firms have brought class-action lawsuits against Brius Healthcare Services, affiliated company Rockport Administrative Services, and Brius CEO Shlomo Rechnitz, alleging systemic violations of nursing-home staffing requirements that infringed on the rights of residents, the Eureka Times Standard reported July 28, 2018.

In a statement, attorney Stephen Garcia of Garcia Artigliere & Medby, one of the firms bringing the class-action lawsuits, declared, “To knowingly understaff these facilities in violation of promised resident rights so as to unlawfully maximize profit victimizes our important resource of elders and needs to end.”

Per the Times Standard, the statement continued, “These lawsuits are an effort on behalf of these vulnerable citizens to ensure that their needs are met and services, for which operators are paid incredibly large sums mostly by us through our Government, are actually provided.”

Among other remedies, the lawsuits request that the court impose a decade-long injunction on Brius nursing homes, forcing them to maintain adequate staffing levels and to comply with other requirements relating to operating safe facilities run by knowledgeable, responsive staffers.

As readers of TheLawFirm.com know, the allegations of substandard care delivered by understaffed nursing homes run by profit-driven enterprises are hardly unique to these cases. Rather, they are reflective of an industry-wide phenomenon that will only grow worse as an aging population in the developed world increases demand for nursing homes and other elder-care services.

Lawsuits such as those brought against Brius Healthcare Services and CEO Shlomo Rechnitz are a key component of efforts to curtail these dangerous trends, as they seek not only to hold to account the individuals and companies involved in those specific cases, but they also serve to expose to policymakers and the public the epidemic of unscrupulous practices overtaking this vital industry.

Increasingly, the nursing-home industry is facing consolidation under large, profit-driven enterprises whose main objective is to get a piece of the billions of dollars that government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid spend each year on reimbursements for nursing-home care.

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has put in place measures reversing transparency rules previously in place, making it more difficult for the public and would-be litigants to obtain clear, objective information about the track record of various operators.

If you or a loved one ever suffers harm at the hands of a nursing-home operator offering substandard care, contact the experienced team of attorneys at AdamsFietz.com right away for a free legal consultation with an actual attorney!
Nursing HOme / Elder Abuse Hotline
Free Consultation


Source:

Eureka Times Standard


Nursing Home Lawsuit News: California’s Largest Nursing Home Operators Push Back Against Class Action Allegations Despite State Audit Findings


July 30, 2018
In response to class-action lawsuits brought against 15 California nursing homes, the defendant facility operators are pushing back hard against allegations of understaffing, as well as engaging in an effort to disparage the reputation of one of the main attorneys behind the lawsuits. However, at least some of the claims against California’s largest nursing home operators—as well as the broader industry trends on which the lawsuits are based—appear to have been substantiated by the findings of a state audit released May 1, 2018.

“The elderly and infirm are among the most important yet most vulnerable segments of our population,” argued Stephen Garcia, one of the attorneys representing nursing home patients in the class-action suits, according to a piece that appeared in the Marin Independent Journal on July 29. “To knowingly understaff these facilities in violation of promised resident rights so as to unlawfully maximize profit, victimizes our important resource of our elders and needs to end.”

However, Jill Basinger, a spokesperson for Shlomo Rechnitz, CEO of nursing home operator Brius and the individual behind a web of affiliated entities named in the lawsuits, took direct aim at the plaintiffs’ attorney in response.

“There is nothing new here,” Basinger said, according to the Marin Independent Journal. “All these lawsuits are completely duplicative of a 4-year-old class action which Mr. Garcia is desperately concerned he will lose…It is evident that Mr. Garcia is using the court system to harass, vex and annoy Mr. Rechnitz.”

The claims that “there is nothing new here” and that Garcia is merely acting on a personal vendetta against Rechnitz contradict the findings of the recent state audit, which was conducted by the California State Auditor at the request of elected representatives who had expressed concern that Rechnitz-controlled companies, among others, were artificially inflating prices in order to receive larger-than-appropriate compensation from Medi-Cal, the state program that reimburses healthcare suppliers for certain expenses.

Among other findings, the state audit reported an enormous recent surge in profitability among the state’s three largest nursing home operators, including companies controlled by Rechnitz. Along with Rechnitz’s Brius, the state auditor also examined nursing home operators Longwood Management Corp. and Plum Healthcare Group.

“All three companies made less than $10 million in net income in 2006,” the auditor’s report stated, according to the Marin Independent Journal. “But by 2015 their net incomes had increased to between $35.2 million and $53.8 million.”

Put differently, in less than a decade, these companies somehow managed to increase net income by between 300% and 500%.

In a phenomenon running rampant throughout the United States nursing home industry, these large operators exist within a network of affiliated companies to which they outsource much of their services. According to critics—including plaintiffs attorneys suing the companies in question—this creates the potential for corruption, as related companies controlled by the same few individuals overcharge for services in order to maximize profits.

With federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and similar state programs paying out billions of dollars annually in reimbursements for nursing home services, the victims of such schemes are not limited to the nursing homes’ residents and their families but also include taxpayers generally.

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest legal developments relating to unscrupulous nursing home operators. And if you or a loved one ever is injured by an understaffed nursing home providing substandard care, contact the experienced team of attorneys at AdamFietz.com right away for a free legal consultation with an actual attorney!
Nursing HOme / Elder Abuse Hotline
Free Consultation


Source:

Marin Independent Journal

Attorney Jeremy Fietz

The Elderly who cannot care for themselves deserve to be cared for in clean, safe and caring enviroment.

Sonoma County Attorney Jeremy Fietz has represented many local residents who couldn't stand up for themselves. Jeremy makes sure those who are guilty of elder abuse and neglect pay for their neglect!

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