$13.5 million class action settlement finalized

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$13.5 million class action settlement finalized
$13.5 million class action settlement finalized

A $13.5 million class action lawsuit settlement against the former Emeritus Corp. has been finalized in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Plaintiffs in Arville Winans v. Emeritus Corp., residents of Emeritus' assisted living communities in California between July 29, 2009, and May 15, 2015, alleged that Emeritus misled them about its use of a computerized system to evaluate residents and the system's role in determining sufficient staffing and care for residents, leading them to pay for additional services that were not included in their contracts.

Emeritus merged with Brookdale Senior Living in 2014 in a $2.8 billion deal to form the largest senior living company in the United States. In the lawsuit settlement, which was finalized Jan. 11, Brookdale admitted no wrongdoing.

“Since the merger of our companies, this particular system has been phased out and is no longer in use,” Kristin Puckett, Brookdale public relations manager, told McKnight's Senior Living. “We denied all allegations and ultimately decided to resolve this case to put our focus on what matters most, the health and well-being of our residents.” Brookdale had agreed to the settlement in May.

According to a website set up for plaintiffs, the settlement fund will total $8.5 million after attorneys' fees and expenses related to the class action notice and the administration of payments. A settlement administrator will use a formula to determine the amount that each plaintiff will receive. Attorney W. Timothy Needham of the firm Janssen Malloy, who is representing some of the plaintiffs, told the “Times-Standard” that about 21,000 people are eligible for a share of the settlement and could receive about $500 each.

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