Stephen M. Garcia Honored With California Lawyer of the Year Award for His Role in Protecting Seniors from Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect.

Stephen M. Garcia Honored With California Lawyer of the Year Award for His Role in Protecting Seniors from Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect.

On March 2, plaintiff attorney Stephen M. Garcia of The Garcia Law Firm received aCalifornia Lawyer 2009 Attorney of the Year (CLAY) award in the Elder Law category for his work in protecting seniors and vulnerable adults from nursing home abuse and neglect.

Using California’s Legal Remedies Act, originally designed to protect consumers against fast-talking sales people, Garcia secured more than $21.5 million in class action settlements from some of the largest long-term care facilities in the country. These facilities included Longwood Management, Sunwest Management, Sun-Mar Health Care, Pleasant Care, Horizon West HealthCare and Ensign Group.

In the suits, Garcia alleged that the nursing homes intentionally misrepresented that they provided a particular standard and quality of care that they did not actually provide. The settlement included such innovative characteristics that any money not paid out to class members must be used for resident care and that the facility must hire an independent monitor, selected by Garcia and paid for by the facility, who would do periodic inspections of select facilities.

“This is an enormous honor,” says Garcia. “I have been fighting nursing homes and long-term care facilities for quality care for seniors and vulnerable adults for 14 years. The only thing that could be better than this honor from my peers is if long-term care facilities would begin providing the excellent care and services they promise to provide our parents and grandparents.”

California Lawyer magazine named 43 attorneys around the state to receive the thirteenth annual California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Awards. In total, 22 accomplishments in 13 areas of legal practice, reflecting the breadth of the California State Bar, were recognized for their profound impact in 2008.