(San Francisco, CA – March 29, 2018) – Five senior citizens have filed a Second Amended Complaint against Brookdale Senior Living, Inc. in federal court in San Francisco accusing Brookdale of 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 its stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange. There are more than 5,000 residents in Brookdale’s 89 assisted living facilities in California. This is believed to be the first class action lawsuit against an assisted living provider to be brought under the ADA. Today’s court filing is here: Stiner v. Brookdale Second Amended Complaint
Plaintiffs and their families came to Brookdale because they required assistance with their activities of daily living including medication management, dressing, bathing, toileting, hygiene, food preparation, laundry and transportation. Rather than finding the care and comfort they needed, plaintiffs, their family members, and the proposed class they seek to represent have all encountered in Brookdale a system of understaffed assisted living facilities that fails to consistently provide even the most basic level of promised care.
Brookdale promises families peace of mind, but instead they find heartache when they learn that their loved ones are not receiving medications they need or even the most basic housekeeping and hygiene—despite monthly fees ranging from $4,000 to $5,000 or more for each resident.
As alleged more fully in the Second Amended Complaint, Brookdale has engaged in a policy and practice of violating Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), accompanying regulations, and the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Brookdale discriminates against seniors with disabilities in myriad ways, including by failing to address multiple barriers in their living quarters and throughout the facilities, restricting the number of persons in wheelchairs who can take weekly outings, and failing to provide sufficient staff to care for persons with cognitive and other disabilities. The complaint also alleges that Brookdale has engaged in a policy and practice of violating the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, committing Elder Financial Abuse, and engaging in Unlawful, Unfair and Fraudulent Business Practices.
The Second Amended Complaint adds several new plaintiffs. They are: Edward Boris, 86, who earned an associate’s degree and worked as a land surveyor for Alameda County from 1964 to 1994. Mr. Boris and his wife, Cecelia, had two daughters. His wife died in 2011, while she and Mr. Boris were living in Hayward, California.
Mr. Boris lived in Brookdale Fountaingrove’s assisted living center in Santa Rosa, California from September 2015 to August 2016 before moving into the Skilled Nursing Facility.
Edward Boris’s interests are being represented by his daughter, Michele Lytle, who has held power of attorney for him since 2011. Ms. Lytle works as a graphic designer in Portland, Oregon.
Ralph Schmidt, 54, is the son of German immigrants. He grew up in Millbrae, California, and graduated from Capuchino High School. After high school, Mr. Schmidt took technical courses at De Anza College, the College of San Mateo, and San Francisco State University, and later joined Royal Motors in San Francisco. In the late 1990s, Mr. Schmidt suffered a traumatic brain injury causing him to become blind and cognitively impaired, leading to his move to an assisted living facility.
Mr. Schmidt was a resident of the Assisted Living facility at Brookdale Tracy from 2011 through October 2017. His interests are being represented by professional fiduciary Heather Fisher of Tracy, California.
Patricia (“Pat”) Lindstrom, 81, was born in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. Ms. Lindstrom is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and worked in San Jose and Santa Cruz, California. She was married to Arthur Lindstrom from 1957 until his death in February 2018. They had three children, of which two sons are living.
Ms. Lindstrom has been a resident of the assisted living facility at Brookdale Scotts Valley since November 2015, where she moved with her husband.
Ms. Lindstrom represents the interests of her late husband, Arthur Lindstrom, who was born in San Jose, California and was 83 at the time of his death in February 2018. He had two masters degrees, in counseling and school psychology, and worked as a high school counselor for the Morgan Hill Unified School District for almost 40 years. After retirement, he worked with adults transitioning to college.
Bernadette (“Bernie”) Jestrabek-Hart, 72, is a graduate of Boise State University. Bernie is an acclaimed sculptor, working for over 30 years with materials such as steel, aluminum, and barbed wire. She has won many awards for sculpture including the Caldwell Fine Arts Excellence in Fine Arts Award in 2010. In more recent years, in part due to physical limitations, she has begun sculpting with fabric. Ms. Jestrabek-Hart has two sons.
Ms. Jestrabek-Hart has been a resident of the assisted living facility at Brookdale Scotts Valley since October 2015.
The case is Stiner v. Brookdale Senior Living, Inc., U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Case #3:17-cv-03962.
Gay Crosthwait Grunfeld
Guy B. Wallace
Kathryn A. Stebner