A lawsuit filed Wednesday in California accuses Brookdale Senior Living of “dumping their poorest, neediest and most vulnerable residents” at 10 continuing care retirement communities in the state for “purely monetary” reasons.
The legal action, filed in Ventura County Superior Court by Johnson Moore of Thousand Oaks and BraunHagey & Borden LLP of San Francisco, names as defendants the company as a whole as well as five Brookdale CCRCs: Brookdale Camarillo, Brookdale Carmel Valley, Brookdale Rancho Mirage, Brookdale San Juan Capistrano and Brookdale Riverwalk. An additional five CCRCs also are named within the complaint: Brookdale Carlsbad, Brookdale San Dimas, Brookdale Yorba Linda, Brookdale Northridge and Brookdale Fountaingrove.
A spokeswoman for Brookdale told McKnight’s Senior Living that the company does not comment on pending litigation.
The plaintiffs are former Brookdale residents Francis B. Fleming and Paula Lange, as well as Lange’s guardian and daughter, Christine Lange, but the attorneys who filed the action are seeking class action status.
Fleming lived at Brookdale Camarillo, where he needed antibiotic injections three times a day after having his toe partially amputated, according to the lawsuit. Brookdale is alleged to have discharged him Oct. 1, 2017, when his Medicare coverage ran out, but his discharge summary reportedly was not signed until Oct. 30, 2017, and it reportedly was signed by a physician who wrote “rehab complete” but had not cared for Fleming.
“Defendants ignored their obligation to provide 30 days’ advance written notice of the discharge, failed to have a doctor evaluate Mr. Fleming and document the medical basis for his discharge in his medical chart, and refused to provide written notice of the planned discharge to the State Ombudsman,” the lawsuit states.
Lange also was a resident of Brookdale Camarillo, according to the lawsuit, which indicates that she had a broken femur and Alzheimer’s disease. She was released May 12 “without following the legally required procedures for discharging residents,” the claim says. On May 16, her discharge summary was signed by a physician who had not treated her, according to the legal document. “The entirety of his analysis, without ever having seen Ms. Lange, was ‘rehab completed,’ the lawsuit says.
“Defendants deliberately violate the statutory discharge procedures so they can get rid of residents such as Mr. Fleming and Ms. Lange as fast as possible and replace them with more lucrative short-term Medicare residents,” the lawsuit states. “This practice violates state and federal law.”
The lawsuit seeks an injunction prohibiting Brookdale from wrongfully discharging residents, the appointment of a monitor to ensure that defendants “stop violating the law” and statutory and punitive damages.