Nursing Home Litigation

Bagneris Law Firm, along with attorneys Madro Bandaries and Steven Rando, has filed a lawsuit against the owners and operators of seven nursing homes that made a negligent administrative decision to evacuate residents to a warehouse during Hurricane Ida. With at least five (5) days warning prior, on August 29, 2021, in mid-afternoon, Hurricane IDA with Category 4 winds impacted south Louisiana, including Orleans and Jefferson Parish. Bob Dean along with administrators working at his direction representing seven (7) nursing homes, made the administrative decision to remove the some 900 residents of the six nursing homes listed as defendants above, to a remote area in Tangipahoa Parish near the town of Independence. The physical address of the evacuation site was 129 Calhoun Street, Independence, Louisiana 70443. The nursing homes included in the evacuation were: 1) South Lafourche Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (South Lafourche); 2) Maison De’Ville Nursing Home of Houma; 3) River Palms Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 4) Maison Orleans Healthcare of New Orleans, 5) Maison De’Ville Nursing Home of Harvey; 6) West Jefferson Healthcare Center of Harvey; and 7) Park Place Healthcare, LLC of Gretna (Park Place). All of the nursing homes involved in the evacuation are owned by New Orleans businessman Bob Dean who also owned the warehouses that were turned into a shelter. The warehouse was expected to hold around 300 people, according to authorities in Tangipahoa Parish. However, the total of people housed in the warehouse was near 900.

Relatives of the residents were not told of the removal of their loved ones, nor advised as to how to contact them or where they were being taken and as of this date, many relatives still have no knowledge of the whereabouts of these plaintiffs. Louisiana Revised Statutes and promulgated Administrate laws control and regulate Louisiana-based nursing homes, in particular Title 40. 1 Nursing homes are required to have evacuation plans filed with the regulating authority and approved by the same in anticipation of natural emergencies, in particular hurricanes. All of the subject nursing facilities clearly failed to execute their emergency preparedness plans to provide essential care and services to their residents, according to LDH Secretary Dr. Courtney N. Phillips.

Plaintiffs aver that defendants filed such plans, however, they were incomplete or outright deceptive. In particular, the Tangipahoa Parish site was alleged by defendants to be able to hold 300 residents. This is notwithstanding that it was not a Nursing facility, did not meet the requirements of providing for Nursing home patients, had improper bedding if any, very few toilets, augmented by portable toilets, with many patients having to relieve themselves in corners. There was no firm food or water supply or way to dispense it as will be shown in numerous videos.  More deadly violations were the absence of patients’ medications, as well as oxygen. There was also a shortage of trained staff, thus making any medications or assistance to plaintiffs negligent on its face.

Thus, the final location for the almost 900 residents, most of whom were Medicaid or Medicare funded individuals was a former “Fruit of the Loom” underwear manufacturing site owned by defendant Bob Dean through a juridical entity. In no way could a reasonable person describe it as a “nursing facility”, and further, plaintiffs aver that they were not told where they were being taken and were put on buses with little or no extra clothing, as well as no mediation and in some instances, oxygen-dependent residents were taken without their oxygen thus causing them severe emotional distress and other damages, including death. On information and belief, at least six (6) of the plaintiffs have died as of this date, with specific causes of action addressed below.

The warehouses were uninhabitable. They lacked adequate power sources. In the midst of the storm, the generators that powered Oxygen concentrators lost power with no backup energy source. As a result, patients who were oxygen-dependent were being manually oxygenated to the extent possible. The warehouses lacked a sufficient air supply. It was extraordinarily hot. The warehouses lacked adequate food supply for the residents. As such, many residents began to suffer dehydration and heat exhaustion. When residents began to “code,” the nursing staff had to call 911 for assistance. The warehouses started to flood. There are reports of at least 8 inches of water on the floor. Staff was placing wet mattresses on the bottom and dry mattresses on top. Residents’ diapers were being changed without any privacy. Residents’ bedding was less than one foot apart with only 3 residents wearing masks in overcrowded conditions.

In the midst of the Covid-19 global pandemic, nobody was tested to determine if they were covid-free before entering the warehouse. No precautions were taken to provide social distancing among residents within the warehouses. Personal Protective Equipment was scarce, and most residents were not adequately protected from the risk of contracting Covid-19.

State regulators (LDH surveyors) became aware of the situation after they were informed by local authorities who responded to 911 calls for help of at least the death of four (4) residents. When LDH surveyors attempted to inspect the “warehouses” on Tuesday, August 31, two days after the hurricane, they were denied entrance by the defendants’ staff and were the subject of intimidation. Fox 8 (a media outlet) obtained transcripts of text messages between Bob Dean and an agent from LDH evidencing the intimidation (Exhibit “B”, Bob Dean Text Messages)

The State Fire Marshal, also on August 31, inspected the “warehouses” now being used as a nursing home finding numerous violations of state law, as well as the obstruction or blockage of multiple entrances to the warehouse.

As of this date, the Louisiana Department of Health has revoked the licenses of the above-named nursing homes as well as terminated any provider agreements issued by the “Department”. A copy of the revocation letter issued by the Louisiana Department of Health regarding Park Place is attached.

If you or a loved one would like more information about this case, please call Bagneris Law Firm at 504-810-3995.