Courtroom, gavel

Four former employees of a Wisconsin assisted living facility will pay a total of $156,000 to settle a defamation lawsuit brought by their former employer, who maintained that they lied to the media and on social media about the facility in an effort to harm its reputation.

The owner of Prairie Ridge Assisted Living, Beaver Dam, WI, filed the lawsuit after a March 2017 incident in which caregiver Nikki Terlisner called residents’ family members, saying she was alone and needed their help getting residents into bed, reported. One of the family members called 911, reportedly at Terlisner’s suggestion.

Terlisner repeated the claims to a television station and newspaper and on a Facebook post and said that she had been fired, according to the media report. As part of the settlement, she was ordered to pay $100,000. She also recanted her assertion that the facility was understaffed, saying that another worker had been present on that March night.

Prairie Ridge is licensed for 34 assisted living and memory care beds, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

The other former employees involved in the settlement reportedly made false statements about the financial condition of the business or their departure from the company. Claims against two additional former employees were dropped, according to the website.

Mike Eisenga of Advantage Management Beaver Dam LLC, which owns the facility, told that he was pleased with the outcome of the case and that he hoped those involved could “learn something from it” and “move on with their lives.”

“I harbor no malice towards any of them,” he said.