We have heard about class action litigation in a variety of areas – from big tobacco, to breast implants and telephone lines – as long as a certain number of people have the same or similar complaint or injury, and the damages are a certain amount – you can seek Class Action Status (here is my legal disclaimer – every state differs, and federal courts have more specific qualifications). Past residents from a chain of California nursing homes have sought and been given class action status against the nursing home owners: http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/news/politics/16929683.htm
I haven’t seen the Complaint – but most nursing home cases are that of simple negligence, causing injury or wrongful death. The basis of the suit – the facility had a duty to care for my loved one, they failed, they breached that duty, that breach was negligence, and my loved one was damaged.
More and more cases however, claim additional wrongs. Fraud for example. The basis of a fraud suit is that the party made affirmative statements they knew to be untrue, to gain your business. In addition, people will raise claims for violating certain Consumer Protection laws – laws enacted to promote honesty and fair dealing in commercial transactions. For example, if the Nursing Homes tells you – “everyone here is an RN, not just a Nursing Aid” and “we have 20 full time RNs” – that is an affirmative statement regarding the services you should expect. Find out it is not true, and that the statement was made only so you would send your deposit – you have sufficient evidence to claim fraud.
So, why is this important to note – because if you are selecting a facility for a loved one, and certain statements (warranties, guarantees) are made – they mean something. So pay attention – I think fraud is the basis or at least an element in the California Class Action.