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Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Suffers Physical Assault in Care Facility

Garcia & Artigliere

Los Angeles, Calif. – Sylvia Mathes was admitted to Motion Picture & Television Fund, a residential care facility that was created by Hollywood’s earliest entertainment luminaries, such as Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith. Prior to her admittance, the facility’s staff were made specifically aware that Mathes suffered from a myriad of medical conditions, including dementia, which rendered her wheelchair-bound and susceptible to abuse from others. Rather than providing Mathes with the care she paid for and which the facility promised, it’s alleged that Motion Picture & Television Fund’s negligence allowed Mathes to be physically assaulted by a fellow resident who had sexually assaulted at least seven other of the facility’s residents over the course of the three months before he assaulted Mathes.

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Motion Picture & Television Fund for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“Motion Picture & Television Fund appears to have known full well that they were housing a predator and rather than protecting their residents such as Sylvia from this predator they actually laid her as prey by their shameful inaction,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Based on what we know now, it’s apparent that Motion Picture & Television Fund chose to use the money generously donated by luminaries in the entertainment industry to build new pretty buildings rather than investing the money in staff and training to protect the facility residents from a predator.”

Allegations and Background

According to the lawsuit, Mathes was admitted to Motion Picture & Television Fund; however, despite charging a premium for Mathes’ care and safety, she suffered for years due to Motion Picture & Television Fund’s pervasive neglect, including suffering a fall and fractured hip, as well as pneumonia, causing a lengthy rehabilitation process.

Moreover, it’s alleged that Motion Picture & Television Fund’s lack of qualified staff, both in number and in training, resulted in the multiple sexual assaults of their female residents by fellow resident Rafael Palacios. Palacios was found on top of women on several occasions, with the police being called numerous times.

On July 1, 2017, Mathes’ son notified Linda Healy, the Director of Palliative Care and Geriatric Services for the memory care unit that he had witnessed there being no sitter for Palacios despite his aberrant behavior.

The lawsuit states that in a note to Healy, Mathes’ son said, “While I’m sure you can appreciate my personal concerns as to how this potentially relates to my mom, I also see this as a potentially cataclysmic problem for the MPTF if something disastrous occurs between him and one of the residents.” Despite Mathes’ son’s efforts to keep his mother safe, the lawsuit states that July 24, 2017, Mathes was physically assaulted by Palacios. Almost immediately after Mathes’ assault, it’s alleged that the Motion Picture & Television Fund fraudulently concealed the assault from Mathes’ family and even threatened staff members to conceal the truth.


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