Chandler v. Long Beach Care Center, et al

On October 29, 2010, the Honorable Judge Ernest M. Hiroshige issued a final ruling on Plaintiff’s Motion for Class Certification in the matter of Chandler v. Long Beach Care Center, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC 403866.

Defendant Long Beach Care Center, Inc. (“LBCC”) is a Skilled Nursing Facility located in Long Beach, California. Plaintiff Doris Chandler was an elderly and dependent resident at LBCC. The complaint, which alleges both individual claims of Elder Abuse and Neglect as well as class claims on behalf of other residents at the facility, alleges the defendants violated the Comprehensive Bill of Rights or “Patients’ Rights” of all residents by failing to abide by State and Federal regulations, and, as more specifically set forth in Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification, by allegedly failing to provide an adequate number of qualified staff to meet the needs of all of the facility’s residents. Plaintiff also alleges, on a class-wide basis, the defendants misrepresented the level and quality of care at LBCC, in violation of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA.”)

In its final ruling, the Court certified both causes of action submitted by Plaintiff’s for class treatment. As to the seventh cause of action for “Patients’ Rights” violations under California Health & Safety Code § 1430(b), the Court found the requirement under California Health & Safety Code § 1599.1(a), which mandates that a “facility shall employ an adequate number of qualified personnel to carry out all of the functions of the facility” does not require an analysis of the individual needs and conditions of every resident. Rather, the Court agreed with Plaintiff that the right to a facility that is adequately staffed is framed as a right in terms of the obligations of the facility as a whole, thereby rendering it subject to common, class wide proof.

As to the eighth cause of action for alleged misrepresentations in violation of the CLRA, the Court ruled that because the Admissions Agreement that all residents receive upon admission to the facility states that the facility complies with the Resident Bill of Rights, any evidence of alleged understaffing would be a material omission of fact common to all class members and would make any representations that the facility was in compliance with state laws and regulations false.

The complaint in this action was filed on December 15, 2008, and currently, the class period is December 15, 2005 through December 15, 2008. If you or a loved one were a resident of LBCC during this period, you may be a member of the class, and we encourage you to contact our office.

If you or a loved one are or were a resident of any other California Skilled Nursing Facility that you believe is understaffed and unable to meet the needs of all its residents, you may be able to file suit and obtain relief not only for yourself, but also for all others subjected to the same violation of Patients’ Rights. Contact us today to speak with an experienced class action attorney.

California Probate Codes from Declaration Under Probate Code § 13100 et. seq.