Garcia & Artigliere, a nationally-known law firm focusing on nursing home litigation and elder rights, has filed a class action lawsuit in the Orange County Superior Court on behalf of residents of Oakmont Management Group, LLC’s 90 California licensed residential care facilities for the elderly. The lawsuit alleges the each of the 90 facilities failed to have sufficient staff on duty at all times to meet the needs of their residents in violations of California’s “resident rights” afforded to every resident of a residential care facility for the elderly.

About the class action lawsuit

In California, residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFE) provide an “intermediate step” for individuals aged 60 and older who do not require the medical treatment that nursing homes provide but who can no longer live fully independently. They are governed by the California Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly Act (1989) (Health & Safety Code, §§ 1569-1569.87). These facilities are intended to provide a “humane approach to meeting the housing, social, and service needs of older persons,” by providing a home life environment for older persons who require a variety of care and needs. (§ 1559.1(g)).

RCFEs are legally obligated under California law to “prescribe standards of safety and sanitation for the physical plant and standards for basic care and supervision, personal care, and services to be provided” (Health & Safety Code, § 1569.31) and “be sufficient in numbers, and competent to provide the services necessary to meet resident needs” in terms of staffing and personnel (Code of Regulations, tit. 22, § 87411).

RCFEs are also legally required to provide, as part of the admission process into that facility, a copy of the “Personal Rights of Residents in All Facilities” (Code of Regulations, § 87468.1) and “Additional Personal Rights of Residents in Privately Operated Facilities” (§ 87468.2).

This lawsuit alleges that Oakmont Management Group’s representation of its services provided, to the residents in all 90 of its facilities, would meet the particularized standards as set forth on the Resident Bill of Rights, despite not having the right amount of personnel (on duty) at all times to meet the needs of the facility’s residents.

Attorney Stephen Garcia noted that “it is vital that California’s RCFE’s ensure they have sufficient staff to meet the needs of residents. This is the most fundamental of responsibilities. The United States Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Staffing Study, among other research, found, in at least an analogous situation a clear and negative correlation between a lack of caregiver staff and quality of care.”

Garcia added that the “the studies are accurate in my judgment, and it is a simple metric – more staff equates to better care, whether that care is given in a nursing home or an RCFE. With this lawsuit, we seek to compel Oakmont Management Group to staff all 90 of their facilities at the proper levels necessary to meet the needs of its residents. This is an essential obligation of these conglomerates and a basic and recognized right of the California citizens who fill their coffers.”

Residents of RCFEs are considered “dependent adults,” and in fact the California Legislature in the enactment of the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act declared that elder (over the age of 65) and Dependent adults are a “particularly vulnerable segment of our population” which the lawsuit seeks to address.  When the residents of these various facilities signed their admission agreements, they did so with the understanding that their resident rights would be respected and that there would be enough staff to meet their needs. The lawsuit alleges that this did not occur.

Under the law, all residential care facilities for the elderly must have staff numbers that meet the needs of their patients. This can and often does mean more than the bare minimum. These numbers are determined by measuring the needs of each resident to determine “acuity points.” This lawsuit alleges that, to minimize labor costs and increase their own profits, Oakmont Management Group “intentionally designed their algorithm to result in staffing levels which are insufficient and lower than actually necessary to meet resident needs based on the actual collective acuity of the residents” in each of the 90 facilities.

This lawsuit is filed by Diana Sencerbox, on behalf of herself and the class, in Superior Court of California, County of Orange. The lawsuit seeks to prevent the facility from continuing to violate its residents’ rights, such as:

  • Increasing its average ratio of caregivers to residents by 15% of that presently utilized
  • Reporting any acts (or suspected acts) of abuse to the appropriate authorities
  • Compliance with reporting requirements
  • Quarterly surveys of residents
  • More

The lawsuit also seeks damages on behalf of the members of this class, as well as attorney fees.

Garcia & Artigliere maintains multiple offices across the United States and has served as legal counsel in matters leading to more than $3 billion in awards for consumers. The attorneys focus on helping injured people and disenfranchised consumers in litigation involving nursing home abuse and neglect, wrongful death, and delayed treatment of stroke.

To learn more, visit Garcia & Artigliere, or contact the firm.

See Campaign:

Contact Information:

Name: Stephen M. Garcia
Email: [email protected]
Job Title: Partner

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