Four families claim and describe shocking allegations in civil lawsuits filed in Florence County that their loved ones were neglected and mistreated by the staff of Laurel Gardens Senior Living Community owned and operated by Emeritus Corporation. The lawsuits — filed against Emeritus Corporation, Laurel Gardens Senior Living Community, HCP Senior Housing Properties Trust and Laurel Gardens executive director Alicia B. Owens — allege gross negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, vicarious liability and corporate negligence.
In one case, the plaintiff claims her mother did not receive appropriate medication as ordered and suffered numerous falls and injuries due to negligence. Another claims her mother suffered such extreme emotional and verbal abuse at the hands of the staff that she regressed and withdrew. In one incident cited in the lawsuit, she claims her mother asked a staff member to get her lunch and was told to “get it herself.” On other occasions, the suit claims staff members refused to assist her mother in the bathroom as needed, resulting in her mother falling and suffering head injuries so severe it required staples. The plaintiff said her mother’s weight dropped drastically, but staff members didn’t do anything about it or notify family members. Other plaintiffs explain similar situations in which their loved ones suffered significant injuries that went undocumented. One woman said her father was diagnosed with a case of scabies so severe he said “he felt as though his skin was on fire,” yet the staff failed to investigate the matter, put precautions in place to prevent the spread of the disease or report it as required by state law.
“These families came to me when they saw the mistreatment their loved ones were enduring,” attorney Robert E. Lee said. “Their ultimate goal is to put a stop to this treatment of their family members and other residents at Laurel Gardens. It’s not about money, but corporations exist to make money and the only way to make them stop doing something is to take something that means something to them. And that’s money. These corporations are in other cities and states. They don’t know you and certainly don’t have to ever face you.”