helping to change nursing homes' "Business as usual"
helping to change nursing homes' "Business as usual"
Because the California Legislature recognized that elders are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect, the EADACPA law was enacted “to enable interested persons to take up the cause of abused elderly persons and dependent adults.” The law provides that, if it can be shown by clear and convincing evidence that an individual or entity is responsible for elder abuse and that they acted with recklessness, oppression, fraud or malice, the Plaintiff (or a surviving loved one in their place) can recover for pain and suffering damages even if the elder is deceased.
EADACPA also provides that, if a Plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that elder abuse occurred, the Court shall award to the Plaintiff reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. This second provision proved an important step forward in the prosecution of elder abuse claims since such claims typically died with the decedent.
Delaney v. Baker, which Mr. Horowitz successfully brought all the way to the California Supreme Court, was instrumental in moving EADACPA law forward. Delaney v. Baker established that the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA), with its unique special remedies to punish “reckless neglect” of elders – even for deceased elders, applied to nursing homes as healthcare providers, thus allowing elders, dependent adults, and their families a legal avenue to enforce patient care over profits.
Rose Wallien was admitted to Meadowood Nursing Center, a Lake County nursing home, on April 20, 1993 for rehabilitation from a fractured right foot. In less than four months, she died from inexcusable neglect. Prior to entering the nursing home, Rose was not experiencing any significant health problems above and beyond those of an 88-year-old woman able to care for herself throughout the entire day in the home she shared with her loving daughter, Kay Delaney. Evidence developed during extensive litigation, and then presented at trial, proved that Defendants did not have adequate staff to care for the residents of their facility. As a direct result of understaffing, basic custodial care, such as answering call bells, turning Rose, providing bowel hygiene, monitoring her fluid and nutrition intake, and assessing her overall physical and mental status, was grossly deficient. Consequently, Rose developed multiple Stage IV pressure sores leading to sepsis (blood poisoning) and death. Sadly, all of this happened to Rose despite her daughter Kay’s pleas to the nursing home Administrator (and co-owner with his father who built the facility) and other staff to provide better care for her mother.
The case was filed, and after extensive contentious litigation, resulted in a successful trial verdict in 1995. Thereafter, with the help of many individuals, co-counsel, and organizations such as the Consumer Attorneys of California and AARP, Plaintiff was able to prevail over Defendants’ Appeal of the verdict at the First District level and finally at the California Supreme Court. Six years after her mother’s death, Kay Delaney, Rose Wallien, and the public at large were able to receive justice. Following the Delaney trial, two more successful cases were brought against the same nursing home by the Horowitz law office.
2023 Alberigi vs. Country Villa Corp./Novato Healthcare Center: Bob Alberigi, an 85-year-old retired San Francisco police officer, was admitted to Defendant's facility from his Marin County home to rehabilitate from back surgery. Defendant neglected Bob to the extent that he developed a large open pressure sore, which required painful surgery. Sadly, Bob was not able to recover and died from his injury. Defendant's engaged in despicable behavior included hiding Bob's dire condition from his family. Thereafter, when this lawsuit was filed, Defendant fraudulently attempted to move the matter to arbitration and withheld important litigation information for which they were sanctioned by the Court. Defendants were forced to pay significant money to resolve this case short of trial.
2022 Flores vs. Adventist Skilled Nursing Facility: In 2022 Mr. Horowitz was able to secure a settlement for a close family in Northern California on behalf of their father and husband against a free-standing nursing home affiliated with an Adventist hospital location. The signs of neglect were clear from the 40+ falls the victim was allowed to suffer to the victim’s dramatic weight loss- all exacerbated by the fact that, due to COVID-19, his family was unable to monitor him while in the care of the nursing home. All of these failures culminated in a long and painful suffering and death of the victim. Mr. Horowitz zealously pursued justice through countless depositions, consultations with multiple experts, and hours spent analyzing voluminous records. It is evident from the settlement amount that that the facility was essentially taking responsibility for the neglect they caused the victim.
2022 Goldberg vs. Nadhan Inc./Orchard Post Acute: Ron Goldberg was severely neglected at this Vacaville nursing home and developed life threatening pressure sores. The facility kept this information from his loving children and sisters and then tried to avoid responsibility based on the COVID pandemic. Investigation and aggressive litigation disabused the defendants of their false story, and a significant six figure settlement was achieved.
2020 Enwiya vs. Main West Post Acute Nursing Home: A tight-knit Iraqi-American family believed they were doing the best for their elderly mother with advancing dementia when they admitted her to a nursing home and were promised sufficient care. Little did they know that the facility was wrought with neglect that led to their mother developing multiple, deep pressure wounds that required painful surgery. Unfortunately, the stress of the wounds and surgeries was too much for the victim to bear and she passed away in great pain. The close family of the victim rallied together and sought help from Mr. Horowitz in holding the facility accountable for their reckless indifference in hopes of both honoring their mother and preventing future harm to other residents. Mr. Horowitz fought and negotiated a settlement that the family believed to be very fair in light of the horrific circumstances.
2019 Sepulveda vs. Betsy's 2 RCFE: Mr. Horowitz was able to prevail in helping a daughter seek justice on behalf of her mother who developed a severe pressure sore from being confined to her chair and generally neglected at a residential care facility. The facility took advantage of the fact that the victim’s daughter lived in a remote area of California and therefore, failed to timely notify her about her mother’s worsening condition. By the time the victim’s daughter was made aware, the wound had progressed to a Stage III, which is a prohibited condition for a residential care facility. This was a clear and convincing case of neglect, as is often the case with RCFEs (board & cares). The owner got greedy and ran three facilities without adequate resources. Mr. Horowitz was able to aggressively negotiate a sizeable settlement well in excess of $500,000 and bring some peace to the victim’s only surviving child.
2018 Kriensky vs. Ensign/Broadway Villa Post Acute: Three sister were shocked and dismayed by their mother’s sudden hospitalization and subsequent death after residing at a Sonoma county nursing home for only 20 days. What was supposed to be a very brief rehabilitation residency, turned into a nightmare when the facility allowed a small pressure ulcer to rapidly develop into an unstageable, infected wound causing the septic infection leading to Ms. Kriensky’s death. Mr. Horowitz, along with seasoned co-counsel Michael Molland, was able to achieve sufficient justice on behalf of Ms. Kriensky in a substantial settlement after their diligence and professional perseverance led them through numerous corporate and staff depositions as well as tedious motions.
2018 Pittman vs. Kindred Walnut Creek: Mr. Horowitz succeeded in a just settlement for a large, loving family who suffered the unexpected loss of their mother at a skilled nursing facility in the East Bay. The facility neglected to follow care plans resulting in haphazard oversights involving over-medication, neglect of feeding requirements, and faulty fall risk assessments. These multiple failures caused various injuries to Ms. Pittman causing her slow decline and untimely death. Through an investigative series of depositions, Mr. Horowitz was able to uncover the disorganization and lack of structure plaguing the facility.
2017 Bates vs. Camino Alto Inc.: In 2017, Mr. Horowitz joined forces with Jeremy Fietz and prevailed in a $2M settlement for the wrongful deaths of husband and wife Leon and Clareen Bates. Leon and Clareen were residents of a Vallejo residential care facility for the elderly (RCFE), which recklessly neglected both Leon and Clareen’s care, so causing their deaths within days of each other, and after just 2-3 months of residency. Leon died due to multiple infected pressure sores and Clareen from a sepsis-inducing, untreated UTI. The loving children of Leon and Clareen were devastated by the untimely deaths of their parents and sought help and remedy through Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Fietz. Analysis of records and depositions of defendants’ staff discovered multiple, yet unfortunately common problems with the administration of the RCFE and focus was placed on the issues of inadequate staffing and training, as well as absentee ownership, all leading to the tragic, reckless neglect and deaths.
2016 Buckingham vs. Emeritus Corp.: In partnership with the Adams Fietz law firm, Mr. Horowitz was victorious in his litigation against nursing home giant Corporation Emeritus/Brookdale regarding their Fountaingrove Santa Rosa Skilled Nursing facility/Memory Care Units. Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Fietz were able to secure a $1M settlement for the wrongful death and reckless care of Eleanor Buckingham who suffered severe neglect at Brookdale Fountaingrove in Santa Rosa. What was supposed to be a “short term” rehab residency turned into a nightmare because while Brookdale marketed themselves as a “high-end” facility, they allowed Eleanor to develop an unstageable pressure ulcer. Eleanor succumbed to her wound and died a premature death at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. On behalf of Eleanor’s concerned and caring family, Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Fietz, through the diligent examination of records, were able to find many atrocious oversights by the supposed “high-end” facility which the Defense could not ignore or justify. The Corporation hired new lawyers near Trial after the prior Southern California law firm defending defendants ran up obscene fees with obstructive tactics up against strong evidence. The new lawyers eventually agreed that $1M was the appropriate settlement for such appalling actions and accepted Plaintiffs’ CCP 998 for the entire Insurance Policy. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat published a front page article on this case 2/24/2016.
Plaintiff was a 21-year-old disabled autistic resident of a residential care facility in Contra Costa County, California. She was left in a scalding hot bath tub and ultimately suffered fatal hot water burns. After extensive litigation, it was discovered that only one inexperienced caregiver was on duty at the time of the incident, even though the law required two caregivers to be present. Plaintiff was treated in the burn unit at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley but was not able to recover. Evidence showed that the owner of the RCFE, who had earlier been ordered by the State regulatory agency of Community Care Licensing to adjust the hot water temperature, was not experienced in operating a facility for the developmentally disabled. Plaintiff’s parents alleged that Defendants tried to cover up their failure to adjust the hot water. Plaintiffs also sued the Regional Center that placed their daughter in the dangerous home for failure to provide adequate oversight and staffing. This tragic case settled for a substantial sum in a settlement conference with the Trial Judge.
Due to her landlord’s grossly negligent maintenance of electrical appliances, a fire broke out in a Berkeley apartment unit rented by Plaintiff, an elderly immigrant with numerous medical issues that had left her paralyzed and bedridden with her loving family caring for her at home. Due to these limitations, and despite her family’s heroic efforts to avoid injury, Plaintiff sustained second and third degree burns to the left upper extremity of her back and arm and needed to have an operation for excision and grafting, which then required extensive and painful healing in a hospital burn unit. Experts were hired to ascertain the cause of the fire, and a medical burn expert retained by Plaintiff provided Defendant’s insurance company and their independent insurance investigators with important information regarding Plaintiff’s pain and suffering. A complaint was filed, and the Court was petitioned for an advanced trial date based on age and need. Once all of these steps were taken, the insurance company admitted fault and paid the entire policy.
Worthy vs. U-Save Smoke Shop: Mr. Horowitz, with Co-Counsel John Feder of San Francisco, represented family members in a wrongful death case involving a 19-year-old who was hit and killed while lawfully operating his motorcycle in Sacramento. The U-Save Smoke Shop company van that collided with McDonald was negligently driven by a permitted driver, who after the collision, pulled over and criminally left the scene on foot (he had a prior record). Through diligent investigation, counsel proved the owner of the vehicle was lying about important facts. The distraught family pursued justice through Mr. Horowitz and Feder and, through perseverance and the exploration of the backgrounds and business practices of defendants, achieved a settlement of $1,175,000.00 despite strongly asserted comparative fault by Plaintiff/decedent.
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