Archive for the ‘Class Action’ Category

Texas Judge Says OK To Class-Action Suit For Over 12,000 Foster Children

September 2, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A class-action lawsuit accusing Texas of poorly supervising foster children can proceed.

Retired U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack has certified as a class more than 12,000 abused and neglected children permanently removed from their birth families. The lawsuit was brought by the group Children’s Rights.

The Dallas Morning News ( ) reports Jack ruled this week following a January hearing. Attorneys for Texas are reviewing the ruling.

The state continues to investigates the July death of 2-year-old Alexandria Hill. Her foster mother, who was recruited by contractor Texas Mentor, faces a capital murder charge.

State officials after the death examined 23 Texas Mentor homes. The Austin American-Statesman ( ) reports two children were removed amid concerns about how caretakers disciplined the youngsters.

Full Article and Source:
Texas Judge Says OK To Class-Action Suit For Over 12,000 Foster Children

AARP Joins Class Action Suit Against CA Nursing Facility

May 5, 2012

The AARP has joined what lawyers call an unprecedented class-action lawsuit accusing a Ventura nursing home of using powerful drugs without the informed consent of residents or family members.

Lawyers from the powerful advocacy group’s foundation will serve as co-counsel in a case alleging that Ventura Convalescent Hospital skirted California’s regulations in providing antipsychotic drugs to residents. While state law requires nursing homes to verify that a doctor has received a patient’s or family member’s consent, the lawsuit contends the nursing home did not.

Although targeted at the nursing home, the suit also alleges Dr. Gary Proffett, a prominent Ventura County physician, routinely relied on nursing homes to obtain consent rather than doing it himself as the law requires.

“The nursing home is literally the one that is putting the pill in the mouth and they are doing it without permission,” said Gregory Johnson, the Oxnard lawyer who filed the class-action suit in November along with attorney Jody Moore of Thousand Oaks.

The case underscores the bristling debate over the use of chemical restraints to control the behavior of people in nursing homes with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia.

Full Article and Source:
AARP Joins Antipsychotic Drug Lawsuit Against Ventura Nursing Home

VT Seeks Dismissal of Abuse Lawsuit Against APS

March 28, 2012

A lawyer for Vermont told a judge Monday that a disability-rights group can’t sue the state over the alleged failings of its Adult Protective Services Division, because the people named as bringing suit haven’t suffered any injuries.

“There’s no allegation of specific harm to the plaintiffs,” Assistant Attorney General Todd Daloz told Judge Michael Kupersmith.

The state has filed a motion to dismiss a suit brought against the state by Vermont Legal Aid for the groups Disability Rights Vermont and the Community of Vermont Elders.

Legal Aid lawyer Barbara Prine said in courtroom arguments and in interviews that the state was trying to use a legal technicality to avoid fixing a system she called “dysfunctional” and a “wholesale failure.”

The groups filed the lawsuit in December, saying Adult Protective Services routinely violates the law that requires it to begin investigating reports of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults within 48 hours of receiving them, and that the state in recent years frequently has had a backlog of as many as 300 open investigations.

“This has gone on for years,” Prine said in court Monday. “We spent a year negotiating with them trying to get it to improve and it did not improve. … The system is dysfunctional.”

Full Article and Source:
State Seeks Dismissal of Abuse Lawsuit

DC Class Action Nursing Home Lawsuit to Go Forward

February 23, 2012

The District has lost an effort to have a federal judge throw out a class-action suit brought on behalf of nearly 3,000 nursing home residents.

Judge Ellen Huvelle on Tuesday rejected the city’s contention that it has complied with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) by providing services to nursing home residents who want to live in the community. The ADA requires states and local governments to provide services to people with disabilities in the most integrated setting possible.

Huvelle ruled that the District’s claims fell short of those requirements on several fronts, including that the city has no meaningful plan to integrate nursing-home residents into community settings.

The case, Day v. the District of Columbia, was brought by University Legal Services, AARP Foundation Litigation and Arent Fox LLP.

DC Class Action Nursing-Home Lawsuit to Go Forward

Civil Suits Against Rita Hunter Pending

December 28, 2011

A 12-count indictment handed up last week will demand Rita Hunter’s appearance in federal court, but the former Jasper County public administrator also has court dates pending in state court on civil lawsuits filed against her by county wards.

Several lawsuits still are making their way through the courts, though in other instances, courts have ruled in favor of the former administrator who left office Dec. 31, 2008. One Jasper County Circuit Court jury also has found in favor of Hunter, who thus far has been defended by attorneys for the county’s insurance carrier. In addition, Hunter has not been released in final financial settlements she filed on wards when she left office, because of challenges filed questioning how wards’ money was handled and reported.

Hunter, 59, of rural Joplin, now faces federal charges of health care fraud, theft of government property, document fraud, Social Security fraud and Medicaid fraud, in connection with the operation of her office when she was administrator from January 2005 through December 2008. The indictment alleges financial misdeeds started as early as April 2005, four months after the start of her term.

The indictment alleges Hunter collected nearly $200,000 to which her office was not entitled. That came either by falsifying reports to apply for Medicaid benefits to which wards were not entitled, or collecting fees from what wards were receiving from Social Security, without authorization and without reporting to the federal agency. In those cases, more than $121,000 from Medicaid and nearly $60,000 from Social Security were used for the fees for administrative charges by her office and to pay attorney fees and tax preparation fees, authorities allege.

Hunter is to report Jan. 5 for arraignment on the charges. In an appearance before U.S Magistrate James C. England on Wednesday, she was assigned a public defender and released on a personal recognizance bond, according to Don Ledford, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips.

Springfield attorney Lynn Myers said he expects both sides will be back in Jasper County Circuit Court soon on a lawsuit filed in July 2008 on behalf of several former wards. The suit seeks damages from Hunter and the county’s insurance company, alleging she overcharged wards and mishandled their funds.

The lawsuit currently lists wards including Guy Sesler, Treba Benson and the late Emma France, but Myers is asking the court to approve the case as a class action, contending overcharging was common among all wards’ accounts.

Full Article and Source:
Civil Suits Pending on Local Level

See Also:
Former Jasper County MO Administrator Rita Hunter Indicted for Fraud Scheme!

>Advocates Set to Sue DC on Behalf of Disabled Confined to Facilities

December 26, 2010

>Vietress Bacon had been living in the Washington Nursing Facility near Skyland Terrace in Southeast Washington for only a few months when she realized she wanted out.

The 46-year-old mother of two has bipolar disorder, is partially paralyzed because of a childhood car accident and uses a motorized wheelchair.

She ended up at the nursing home after she was no longer able to live with her mother. Once at the facility, she discovered that she needed permission from her mother to leave the nursing facility. She was not able to see her son, a musician and rapper, perform. And she missed mundane freedoms such as being able to eat a hamburger and french fries in the middle of the night.

“It’s like you’re stripped of all your adulthood,” Bacon said.

Eleven years after the Supreme Court ruled that state and local governments must provide services to the disabled in the least restrictive settings possible, more than 500 disabled D.C. residents are confined to nursing homes against their wishes because the city has not provided services that would allow them to live independently, according to a lawsuit that disability rights advocates plan to file in federal court.

The lawsuit alleges that the District has failed to provide in-home help with bathing, dressing, transferring people in and out of wheelchairs, and other activities – although such services cost much less than the $60,000 annual price tag of nursing home care, and most of the services are funded under Medicaid. One program to help seniors and the disabled stay in the community has 4,000 slots. As of last week, 1,000 slots were open. Failing to provide such services is a violation of the American With Disabilities Act, the lawsuit argues.

“The whole point of the ADA is to end unnecessary segregation. And that’s what nursing homes are,” said Marjorie Rifkin, a lawyer with University Legal Services. That group, Arent Fox and AARP Foundation Litigation filed the class-action lawsuit on behalf of disabled residents of D.C. nursing homes. “The District is long overdue in taking steps to transition people into the community.”

Full Article and Source:
Advocates Set to Sue DC on Behalf of Disabled Confined to Nursing Homes

>CA Class Action Suit: Patients Suffer Sub-Par Care at CA Facilities

December 26, 2010

>A group of California skilled nursing facilities operated by Paksn Inc. has “systematically” failed to meet state minimums for direct patient care and staffing, according to a state court class action.

Maryann N. Valentine says Vacaville, Calif.-based Paksn, Thekkek Health Services, and seven nursing homes and licensees owned by Antony and Prema Thekkek have continuously failed to provide 3.2 hours of daily, direct nursing care to each patient as mandated by Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1276.5.

The complaint in the Alameda County Superior Court asks the court to hold the defendants liable for up to $500 per violation and treble damages because the infractions involve senior citizens and disabled people.

Valentine filed suit as guardian of her ex-husband, George E. Valentine II, 61, who suffered a brain injury and has “extremely limited” mobility. He has lived at Gateway Rehabilitation & Care Center in Hayward, Calif., since 2000, she says.

According to the suit, the level of care that Valentine receives faltered when the defendants acquired Gateway in 2003. Since that time, the facility routinely has failed to meet the state minimum for direct nursing care hours and maintains an inadequate number of nurses on staff.

George Valentine has experienced infrequent and painful turning and repositioning that resulted in pressure sores, and also has experienced infrequent assistance with toileting, frequent urinary tract infections and unsanitary living conditions, the suit asserts.

The facility has also failed to provide Valentine with necessary fluids or assistance with grooming, bathing and eating, and has failed to respond to his medical and dental problems and falls, the complaint says.

Other California facilities owned by the Thekkeks and operated by Paksn have provided similarly deficient care since 2006, according to the suit.

Full Article and Source:
Patients Suffer Sub-Par Care at California Facilities, Class Action Says

>TX Disability Rights Advocates to File Class-Action Lawsuit

December 18, 2010

>Disability rights advocates will file a class-action lawsuit on Monday, alleging that Texas leaders have violated the Americans with Disabiltiies Act by confining some 4,500 Texans with disabilities in nursing homes.

The suit, which will be filed in U.S. District Court in San Antonio, will argue that the individuals have been segregated and not provided with treatment and services they need, according to a press release sent out this afternoon.

Among the advocates filing the suit are Garth Corbett, senior attorney at Advocacy Inc.; Rob Velevis, litigation associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges; Mike Bright, executive director of The Arc of Texas; and Dennis Borel, executive director of the Coalition for Texans with Disabilities.

Advocates Filing Suit Over Disabled in Nursing Homes

CA: Class Action Against Skilled Healthcare Group Settles for $62.8 Mil

September 20, 2010

A class action involving violations of nursing home staffing regulations at Skilled Healthcare Group nursing facilities in California settled for $62.8 million on Sept. 8.

The parties came to an agreement after a jury in the Humboldt County Superior Court awarded the class plaintiffs $671 million for violations of state nursing home staffing requirements in July (Vinnie Lavender, et al. v. Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc., No. DR060264, Calif. Super., Humboldt Co.).

California Nursing Home Class Action Settles For $62.8 Million

See Also:
Motion for Mistrial or New Trial Denied to Skilled Healthcare Corp, Inc.

Nursing Home Chain Loses Class Action Lawsuit Big

July 14, 2010

I guess there’s probably a lot a screaming and yelling going on at the Skilled Healthcare Group (SKH) headquarters in California. Perhaps the anger derives from the miserable looking financial chart for the company showing a whopping 75% decline in price per share in one day!

Another portion of the companies anger is probably being misdirected at the lawyers who defended the company in a class action lawsuit brought against Skilled Healthcare based on systematic under-staffing at 22 nursing homes owned by the corporate giant. Really, the only people to blame are the managers in the company who intentionally chose to limit that staffing at their facilities.

After hearing months of evidence regarding staffing levels at the nursing homes operated by Skilled Healthcare, the jury awarded the maximum amount permissible under the California Health and Safety Code— a whopping $671 million to the members of the class.

The massive jury award is hardly an arbitrary number. Rather, the compensatory damages were awarded based on a statutory violation of $500 per-patient per-day at the 22 subject facilities for not providing that state minimum staffing of 3.2 hours for each patient living at the nursing homes on a daily basis.

In addition to the compensatory damages, the lawsuit also seeks punitive damages against Skilled Healthcare. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer for their acts. The punitive aspect of the lawsuit will move forward in the coming weeks.

Full Article and Source:
Nursing Home Chain Hit With Landmark Verdict in Under-Staffing Class Action Lawsuit