Allen v. Freedom Village Healthcare Center

 

 

Alexander F. Giovanniello of Giovanniello & Michels in Diamond Bar, California obtained a defense award in a binding arbitration where plaintiff alleges Elder Abuse, Fraud and Financial Elder. Plaintiff maintained that Decedent was neglected in a continuing care community where she suffered several falls, the last of which she incurred a facial bruise allegedly leading to decreased mental function; that she was financially abused because no there was no refund of and entrance fee; that defendant wrongfully permitted her to transfer to a Board and Care Home and that defendant should have paid for a one-on-one sitter.


 

On March 27, 2002, Decedent became a resident of Freedom Village, a continuing care retirement community composed of an independent living facility, an assisted living facility and a skilled nursing facility. The residents pay a statutorily approved entrance fee required by the State of California to ensure the continued solvency of the community which entitles the resident to lifetime care.  The contract expires on its own terms when the resident dies and in this case was non-refundable after 2 years. 

 

Towards the end of 2005 decedent had a series falls in independent living sustaining no injuries.  She was prescribed physical therapy by her primary care physician.  After another fall she agreed to be transferred to assisted living where she remained until she fell again on February 5, 2006. Decedent sustained hematoma (bruise) above the right eye.  A head CT scan confirmed that there was no bleeding within the skull and only a superficial bruise of the forehead. 

 

She returned from the hospital and was placed in the Skilled Nursing Facility remaining there free from falls and employing a sitter until she moved to a Board and Care facility on March 6, 2006.  Decedent’s son maintained he moved his mother at the direction of defendant, though it was later learned he got the idea to move her to a Board and Care from  a social worker from the home health care agency.    

 

She remained ambulatory, alert and oriented until March 20, 2006, when she fell again and fractured of her left forearm. She was also diagnosed with a systemic urinary tract infection and discharged back to the Board and Care. The next day she developed a new onset of acute confusion, was sent back to the hospital and diagnosed with acute congestive heart failure. Her condition improved over the week, however during a swallow study test, she aspirated, coded and, because of her DNR status, was permitted to pass away without any heroic measures. 

 

The arbitrator after hearing all the evidence found the evidence was overwhelming in favor o Freedom Village and entering an award for Freedom Village.

 

 

Alex Giovanniello

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