Thursday, March 1, 2007, 09:53 PMElder abuse, fraud and “patient dumping” are among the shocking charges leveled at Lakeside Park, a posh dementia-care facility in Oakland. The facility is owned and operated by real estate conglomerate, A.F. Evans.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the families of three former patients by Felicia Curran against Lakeside Park, alleges outrageous actions taken by the facility’s directors against members of society’s most vulnerable community—frail, elderly sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory impairment—as part of a “bait-and-switch” and “cull-and-weed” scheme by the corporate owners of the facility.
“Lakeside Park holds itself out as being a cut above the ordinary rest home, but the lawsuit alleges that they have no qualms about evicting their residents, dumping them in emergency rooms and forcing them to pay for private caregivers if the residents require too much care or if their families as much as complain,” said attorney Felicia Curran.
The suit names the corporate owner of the care home, A.F. Evans Company Inc., Vice- President John Rimbach, and Executive Director Rebecca Cockrill as defendants. A.F. Evans owns four senior homes in California and Washington, including the Lakeside Park facility, and Byron Park, a 187-unit senior residential facility in Walnut Creek.
To read the San Francisco Chronicle's article on the lawsuit go to:
The plaintiffs are former residents of Lakeside Park and their families: Raffaella Mancuso, 95, and her daughter Margaret Mancuso, Ph. D., Marie Ellen Munzell, 92, and her son, Michael Munzell, as well as Christina Sagonowsky and Nicholas Saonowsky, whose father George Sagonowsky, died at a hospital emergency room at the age of 92 after becoming ill at the facility.
The complaint alleges that Munzell, who has Alzheimer’s, was “dumped” at the local hospital emergency room on Dec. 14 and was then refused readmittance to Lakeside Park after her son complained about her care. The suit also claims that Mancuso was neglected and improperly fed, forced to hire caregivers to care for her at the facility when Lakeside neglected her, and that she was made to pay for her deceased husband’s share of their contract for 16 months after he died at the facility in 2004.
The facility was previously cited and fined for neglect of another resident, records show. The fine was only $100. “It’s cheaper for facilities like Lakeside to understaff, and gamble that they won’t be caught by licensing, then pay the small fine if they are caught, than it is for them to staff correctly. A lawsuit is the only way to force the facility to staff correctly,” says attorney Curran.
The families seek compensatory, special and punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.