Lawsuit Filed: Class Action Alleges Downey Nursing Facility Violated Patient Rights

Los Angeles, Calif. – Garcia & Artigliere filed a class action lawsuit against Morris Weiss & Stanley Diller Partnership, a skilled nursing management company, and its nursing facilities for violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and violations of residents’ rights. The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the estate of Ira Lee Kimble, who resided at Downey Community Health Center, as well as members of the class who resided at any of Morris Weiss & Stanley Diller Partnership’s facilities in the last three years. The lawsuit alleges the defendants did not devote sufficient financial resources to their facilities and, as a result, they were chronically understaffed, which led to numerous citations from the California Department of Public Health. The defendants allegedly concealed this from residents despite knowing that they were not able to provide sufficient care.

Health & Safety Code §1599.74 requires that nursing facilities provide a bill of rights to patients before admitting them. This bill of rights sets forth the level of care that residents can expect to receive. In this case, the defendants failed to keep up their end of the bargain, putting residents at risk of serious injury or death,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “The defendants counted on the fact that their residents, who represent some of the most vulnerable people in our community, would not realize that they were being duped. By filing this class action lawsuit, we’re seeking justice for Ira and all residents who suffered while they were in the defendants’ care.”

Allegations and Background

According to the lawsuit, Downey Community Health Center and Morris Weiss & Stanley Diller Partnership were required to provide and sign a “California Standard Admission Agreement” with a Resident Bill of Rights to each resident admitted to the facility, as mandated by Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations, §72516. Health & Safety Code §1599.74. The Agreement and Bill of Rights set forth the services the defendants were expected to provide, and specifically gave residents the right to live in a facility that employs “an adequate number of qualified personnel to carry about all the functions of the facility.”

However, the lawsuit states that before, during and after the admissions process of each class member, the defendants actively and intentionally concealed the fact that they did not devote sufficient financial resources to the proper operation of the facilities. Instead, money was diverted from the care of residents to create ill-begotten profits for the defendants.

The defendants also concealed that the facilities were chronically understaffed to carry out the function of the facilities, therefore violating the rights of all residents of their skilled nursing facilities under Health & Safety Code §1599.1(a) and 22 Code of Regulations §72527(a)(25). The lawsuit alleges that this concealment was intended to deceive the plaintiff and members of the class into believing that the facilities were properly staffed to induce them into becoming residents.

As a result of this alleged underfunding and understaffing, the defendants provided substandard care to their residents as evidenced by numerous citations the facility received from the California Department of Public Health, which found that the facilities consistently violated the rights of their residents. The lawsuit states that Downey Community Health Center received 63 citations in the last three years, including 46 notices in 2017 alone. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants concealed from residents their long history as serial violators of skilled nursing industry laws.

The complaint asserts that the representations made by the defendants were intended to lure elderly residents into agreeing to be admitted to the facilities despite the knowledge that the facilities could not provide the level and quality and care that was promised. As a result, the defendants have violated and continue to violate the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Civil Code §1770 et seq. (CLRA), in addition to their violation of patient rights per Health & Safety Code §1430(b).

Had the members of the class known the truth about the defendants, they would not have moved into the facilities and would not have paid for the poor care they received there. The lawsuit asks for several remedies, including that the facilities retroactively report any unreported incidents of actual or suspected abuse or neglect from the last three years, and that they provide proof to the court of their increased compliance efforts.