Lawsuit Filed: Fullerton Nursing Facility Sued for Chronic Understaffing; Issued Multiple Citations by California Department of Public Health

Fullerton, Calif. — Garcia, Artigliere & Medby filed a lawsuit for Violations of Resident Rights against The Pavilion at Sunny Hills nursing facility on behalf of Karen Elaine Porter. The lawsuit asserts The Pavilion at Sunny Hills intentionally concealed from Porter that the facility was chronically understaffed in order to deceive her into becoming a resident of the facility. This scheme was allegedly implemented to wrongfully increase business profits at the expense and health of residents, including Porter.

“Karen had a legal right and paid good money to live in a facility that employs an adequate number of qualified personnel to protect the health and safety of residents and ensure resident rights were not violated; however, it’s clear The Pavilion at Sunny Hills diverted resources to create ill-begotten profits for facility management,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “In fact, as evidenced by citations of deficiencies issued to The Pavilion at Sunny Hills by the State of California Department of Public Health for the provision of substandard care to residents and the facility’s violation of regulations, the facility systematically violated a myriad of regulations governing the operation of skilled nursing facilities.”

Allegations and Background

The lawsuit states that if a skilled nursing facility’s staffing levels are lower than the level of staffing required to meet the needs of residents as determined by their collective acuity, then the facility has violated its residents’ statutory, affirmative and actionable right to reside in a skilled nursing facility that employs “an adequate number of qualified personnel to carry out all of the functions of the facility.”

The Pavilion at Sunny Hills allegedly reported that it maintained a total of 3.66-3.79 nurse staffing hours per resident per day even though required total nurse staffing hours per resident per day ranged from 4.34-4.40, given the high acuity levels of residents at the facility.

In direct contradiction to the representation in their uniform admission agreement that the facility would “employ an adequate number of qualified personnel to carry out all functions of the facility” and to meet the needs of their residents, the facility’s staff chronically understaffed the facility and chronically failed to meet the particularized standards as set forth in the Resident Bill of Rights relating to the mandatory requirements of California Health & Safety Code §1599.1(a).

It’s alleged evidence of these violations exists in the exchange of directional documents and reports shared among facility management relating to issues including staffing, census, interaction of the facility with the State of California’s Department of Public Health Services, and regulatory compliance which were utilized by facility management to make operational decisions. Further, facility management allegedly siphoned off huge amounts of money under the guise of providing “Administrative Services” and vast amounts of money was laundered through “Related Party Transactions” as reported by facility management.