Lane Country Circuit Court – Case Number 16-09-03668
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February 19, 2009
Eugene, Ore—Elderberry Square, an assisted living facility located in Florence, Oregon is today the subject of a second lawsuit in as many years, alleging severe neglect and abuse. The $1,000,000 lawsuit was filed today in Lane County Circuit Court against Elderberry Square, brought by the wife and guardian of an 80-year old man, who at the time of his admission to the facility was suffering from advanced dementia.
This suit alleges he was left alone and unsupervised, resulting in repeated falls, one of which resulted in a broken wrist. In addition, the man’s wife, on numerous visits to Elderberry, found her husband unattended and soiled with his own waste matter. All of this occurred in the little more than two-month period following his admission to Elderberry.
“Our position is that you don’t get a second chance, let alone a third, when it comes to protecting vulnerable senior citizens,” said Kelly Clark of the firm O’Donnell Clark & Crew LLP, which filed the lawsuit. “What is enraging beyond belief is that this is the second time – just that we know of – that this kind of thing has happened at Elderberry.”
A similar lawsuit was filed by Clark against Elderberry in 2007, involving an Alzheimer’s patient who was repeatedly left unattended, resulting in numerous falls within the two-week period of time following his admission to Elderberry. The last of these falls, according to the lawsuit, caused his death. In that case, a state investigation determined the allegations of neglect to be substantiated. In the current case, investigators from the Oregon Department of Human Services looked into two complaints against Elderberry and determined the allegations of wrongdoing to be substantiated. However, the agency’s final report on one of the complaints reversed the investigator’s conclusions. Mr. Clark and his client plan to challenge this finding through an appeal.
Both lawsuits allege that the management and admissions personnel at Elderberry actively misrepresented that they have the expertise, experience, and staffing necessary for the labor-intensive work of caring for Alzheimer’s and senile dementia patients. “It was classic bait and switch,” said Clark, adding, “We believe they knowingly misled these vulnerable families.”