Lawsuit Filed: Nursing Home Director Wrongfully Terminated After Blowing the Whistle on Illegal Activities at Royal Care Skilled Nursing Center

Long Beach, Calif. — Carmelito Dosdos was hired as the Director of Nursing of Royal Care Skilled Nursing Center on or about February 16, 2016. It’s alleged that on April 24, 2016 and on numerous occasions thereafter, Dosdos alerted his superiors via emails, texts, phone calls and verbal conversations that the facility was dangerously understaffed and that nurses were taking narcotics without completing the E-Kit Narcotic Medication Log, all of which were in direct violation of California Health & Safety Codes and Regulations. Despite alleged documentation confirming facility management was aware of the ongoing issues, Executive Director of the facility, Maxim Brodsky, provided a letter to Dosdos on May 16, 2016 that purportedly detailed the aspects of Dosdos’ job expectations that he was not meeting. Following this, Dosdos continued his attempts to alert management of understaffing and the unsafe conditions for facility residents. On May 23, 2016, the facility provided Dosdos with a termination letter ending his employment under the false pretense of poor work performance when in reality, it’s alleged the facility terminated Dosdos as retaliation for the repeated complaints he made to his superiors regarding the facility’s regulatory violations.

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Royal Care Skilled Nursing Center for whistleblower retaliation, unfair business practices and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

“Each of the allegations against Carmelito in the May 16, 2016 letter from Mr. Brodsky is false, highly mischaracterized and/or taken completely out of context,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Rather than being an accurate and bona fide performance evaluation, the May 16 letter did not comply with the facility’s policy and procedure for job performance evaluations, and was nothing more than manufactured pretext and the facility’s attempt to create a false record to later justify the future retaliatory and discriminatory termination of Carmelito. Our Complaint demonstrates that facility management engaged in outrageous conduct toward Carmelito with the intent to cause severe emotional distress and to cover up its purposeful misconduct, all at the expense of resident health and safety.”

Allegations and Background

On April 24, 2016, Dosdos alerted his superiors that the facility was understaffed in violation of Health & Safety Code §1276.5 and Title 22 California Code of Regulations §72329.1 by sending an email to Brodsky. On April 24, 2016, Brodsky sent Dosdos a responsive email, which copied Mary Dwyer, Regional Director of Clinical Operations for Covenant Care California, LLC, offering his full support.

Later that same day, Dosdos responded to Brodsky’s email, also copied to Dwyer, wherein Dosdos also informed his superiors of missing narcotics at the facility. Dwyer responded to Dosdos’ email requesting additional information. On April 25, 2016, Dosdos informed Dwyer that nurses were taking narcotics without completing the E-Kit Narcotic Medication Log in violation of applicable regulations mandating the proper maintenance of drug administration records, including but not limited to, 22 California Code of Regulations §72369.

Dosdos also alerted Brodsky that the facility was understaffed in violation of Health & Safety Code §1276.5 and Title 22 California Code of Regulations §72329.1 in a series of text messages to Brodsky and Julianne Baltazar, facility Director of Staff Development.

On May 8, 2016, Dosdos telephoned Brodsky and Baltzar regarding multiple call-ins by nurses that they would not be coming into work, and that therefore, the facility would be short staffed. Because neither Brodsky nor Baltzar was responsive, Dosdos telephoned Joshua Torres, the corporate Regional Director of Operations for Covenant Care California, LLC and informed Torres that the facility is non-compliant with required nurse-patient ratios and that the nursing staffing is way below comparable facilities.

On May 9, 2016, Torres came to the facility and Dosdos informed Torres that the main cause of the understaffing was the underperforming Baltazar, who was a full-time student without any set work schedule. Dosdos further informed Torres that the issue with Baltazar and understaffing at the facility was ongoing and that he had been pleading with Brodsky to do something about it, to no avail.

On May 16, 2016, Dosdos emailed Lance Hassel, Vice President of Operations, wherein Dosdos detailed some of his allegations and his efforts to address the understaffing at the facility. Later that day, Brodsky furnished Dosdos with a letter detailing how he was not meeting job expectations. Prior to receiving this letter and during his time serving as the Director of Nursing at the facility, it’s alleged Dosdos had received an excellent performance evaluation from the facility and had never been disciplined.

On May 17, 2016, Dosdos worked as a Registered Nurse Supervisor and Director of Nursing due to an alleged lack of adequate nursing staff. On the same day, Andrea Seneriches, the Assistant Director of Nursing, worked as a charge nurse due to an alleged lack of adequate nursing staff. On that day Dosdos called Hassel and left a message to inform him of the understaffing, but received no return call.

On May 18, 2016, Dosdos was again forced to work both as a Registered Nurse Supervisor and the Director of Nursing due to a lack of nursing staff. On that date, Dosdos also emailed Brodsky, Dwyer and Emily Padget (facility Recruiting Manager) regarding the effects of understaffing to the nursing staff.

On May 22, 2016, Dosdos spoke with Hassel via telephone to discuss his May 16 email regarding residents of the facility being unsafe due to lack of adequate nursing staff and noncompliance with the minimum 3.2 nursing hours per patient day required by Health & Safety Code §1276.5. Hassel informed Dosdos that Hassel “would look into it.”

On May 23, 2016, Brodsky and Torres went to Dosdos’ office and provided Dosdos with a termination letter ending his employment with the facility.

By allegedly terminating Dosdos in retaliation for complaining to Brodsky, Torres, Hassel and Dwyer, the facility violated Labor Code§ 1102.5.