A lawsuit against a Fort Smith, Arkansas based nursing home company can proceed as a class-action suit, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The court affirmed a decision by the trial court which granted class-action certification to a suit alleging Batesville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center failed to live up to contractual and legal obligations to take care of the basic daily needs of hundreds of residents.
The suit, filed in 2005 by Annette Thomas, names the nursing home and its parent company, which was known in 2005 as Beverly Enterprises, as defendants. Beverly changed its name to Golden Horizons last year following its purchase by Golden Gate National Senior Care. The suit alleges between Sept. 13, 2000, and June 30, 2004, the nursing home failed to properly care for 489 residents by, among other things, failing to provide adequate staffing and failing to provide a clean, safe living environment.
This is a great victory for victims of nursing home abuse! Many nursing homes defend civil lawsuits by outspending the plaintiff’s by hiring medical experts to testify that appropriate care was provided. Few individuals have the financial ability to compete with the nursing home industry. Now, at least in Arkansas, the playing field has been leveled.