In July 2017, RBGG and co-counsel brought a federal suit on behalf of current and former residents of Brookdale Senior Living facilities in California alleging elder financial abuse and widespread violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”).  Brookdale is the largest provider of assisted living for senior citizens and persons with disabilities in the U.S. and there are more than 20,000 current and former residents in Brookdale’s 61 assisted living facilities in California.  The RBGG team on the case includes Gay Grunfeld, Ben Bien-Kahn, Jenny Yelin and Amy Xu.

On January 25, 2019, a federal court in San Francisco rejected Brookdale’s argument that the ADA does not apply to assisted living facilities and refused to dismiss Plaintiffs’ claims against Brookdale.  The court also refused to force two of the named Plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims outside of federal court, allowing them to move forward as representatives of the class.  Brookdale appealed the arbitration-related part of that ruling to the Ninth Circuit, which on April 24, 2020 affirmed in part the district court’s order. RBGG’s Yelin took the lead on plaintiffs’ appellate briefing. The Ninth Circuit  agreed with the district court that one of the two plaintiffs, Helen Carlson, could proceed as a class representative and does not need to arbitrate her claims.  As to the other plaintiff, Lawrence Quinlan, the court agreed that he does not need to arbitrate his ADA and Unruh Act claims, but held that he could be compelled to arbitrate his misrepresentation claims.  

RBGG’s Gay Grunfeld, co-lead attorney for the class, commented to McKnight’s Senior Living: “We are pleased that the Ninth Circuit affirmed, for the most part, the district court decision on arbitration. The Ninth Circuit’s ruling allows Helen Carlson’s family to continue to pursue her claims against Brookdale in the class action, and allows Mr. Quinlan to continue to pursue his claims against Brookdale for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Unruh Act in the class action.”

Discovery in the case is ongoing and has included inspections by ADA experts to evaluate the lack of accessibility of Brookdale’s facilities for persons with mobility and/or visual disabilities.  Depositions are likely to begin soon.  Plaintiffs will file a motion with the court asking it to certify the case as a class action in November 2020, and the court will hold a hearing to decide whether the case should proceed as a class action on April 21, 2021.  No trial date has been set yet.

The operative complaint in the case, the Third Amended Complaint, can be found here: Stiner v. Brookdale – Third Amended Complaint, 2-15-19Stiner v. Brookdale Senior Living, Inc. is a proposed class action lawsuit pending in federal district court in San Francisco, Case Number 4:17-cv-03962-HSG (LB).  The case is assigned to Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr.  The District Court’s order is here: Stiner v. Brookdale – Order, 1-25-19-1.  The Ninth Circuit opinion is here: Brookdale Ninth Circut Memorandum Opinion 04-24-20

If you or a member of your family has lived in a Brookdale facility in California and would like to speak to one of our attorney’s regarding your experience, please call us at 855-950-1036 and leave a message or email us at  An attorney or paralegal from one of these three law firms representing the Plaintiffs will return your call or email soon.

Gay Crosthwait Grunfeld
Ben Bien Kahn
Jenny Yelin
Amy Xu
Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP
101 Mission Street, Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
Telephone: (415) 433-6830
Facsimile: (415) 433-7104

Kathryn A. Stebner
George Kawamoto
Sarah Colby
Stebner & Associates
870 Market Street, Suite 1212
San Francisco, CA  94102-2907
Telephone:    (415) 362-9800
Facsimile:      (415) 362-8901

Guy B. Wallace
Mark T. Johnson
Travis C. Close
Schneider Wallace
Cottrell Konecky Wotkyns, LLP
2000 Powell Street, Suite 1400
Emeryville, CA  94608
Telephone:    (415) 421-7100
Facsimile:      (415) 421-7105