Stiner 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.
In July 2017, current and former Brookdale residents sued Brookdale 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. There are more than 20,000 current and former residents in Brookdale’s 61 assisted living facilities in California. The operative complaint in the case, the Third Amended Complaint, can be found here: Stiner v. Brookdale – Third Amended Complaint, 2-15-19.
Plaintiffs, the proposed class members, and their families came to Brookdale because they required assistance with activities of daily living, such as medication management, dressing, bathing, toileting, hygiene, food preparation, laundry and transportation. Rather than finding the care and assistance they needed, current and former residents of Brookdale and their family members encountered facilities that systemically and regularly lack staff sufficient in numbers or training to provide the care and supervision for which residents pay Brookdale.
Brookdale promises families peace of mind, but instead they find heartache when they learn that their loved ones are not receiving necessary medications, critical supervision, basic housekeeping, timely or nutritious meals, or assistance with toileting, showers, and hygiene services—despite monthly fees ranging from $4,000 to $6,000 or more. These practices violate the Consumers Legal Remedies Act and laws prohibiting elder financial abuse, fraud, and unfair business practices.
Brookdale also violates the ADA and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act by discriminating against persons with disabilities in many ways. Brookdale has failed to provide accessible living quarters and facilities to its residents with mobility and/or visual disabilities, has restricted the number of wheelchair users who can participate in weekly outings, and has failed to provide sufficient staff to care for persons with cognitive, mobility and/or other disabilities.
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. That order is here: Stiner v. Brookdale – Order, 1-25-19-1. Brookdale has appealed the arbitration-related part of that ruling to the Ninth Circuit, and the appeal is currently pending.
Discovery in the case is ongoing and has included inspections by ADA experts to evaluate the accessibility (or lack thereof) 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 on April 24, 2020, and the court will hold a hearing to decide whether the case should proceed as a class action on July 30, 2020. No trial date has been set yet.
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 and leave a message. An attorney or paralegal from one of these three law firms representing the Plaintiffs will call you back soon.
Gay Crosthwait Grunfeld
Ben Bien Kahn
Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP
101 Mission Street, Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
Telephone: (415) 433-6830
Facsimile: (415) 433-7104
* Admitted in New York; not admitted in California
Kathryn A. Stebner
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
Cottrell Konecky Wotkyns, LLP
2000 Powell Street, Suite 1400
Emeryville, CA 94608
Telephone: (415) 421-7100
Facsimile: (415) 421-7105