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Oakland Personal Injury Lawyer / Blog / Nursing Home Abuse / Nursing Home Must Face Potential Class-Action Lawsuit for Chronic Understaffing

Nursing Home Must Face Potential Class-Action Lawsuit for Chronic Understaffing


A California court decided that a state nursing home must face a potential class-action lawsuit filed by the residents. The lawsuit contends that chronic understaffing led to patient’s rights violations. The nursing home had argued that workforce standards fall under the purview of state regulators rather than the courts. They filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on those grounds. However, the court rejected their argument and will allow the lawsuit to move forward. The ruling differed from some previous cases in which nursing homes won stays while state agencies determined whether they were in compliance with California regulations concerning staffing.

The court ruled that the defendants failed to show that a stay under the primary jurisdiction doctrine was appropriate. According to the judge’s decision, the plaintiff’s claims did not present novel issues nor show the need for the California Department of Public Health to weigh in on the issues. Stays are only appropriate to situations in which Congress gave an administrative agency “total control” over a particular issue. “A judicial determination as to whether [the defendant] satisfies its obligation to provide adequate staffing does not appear to implicate technical or policy determinations usually reserved to an administrative agency,” according to the judge’s decision.

This means that the nursing home will have to face a potential class-action lawsuit filed by residents of the nursing home alleging that the understaffing of its facility led to patient rights violations, personal injury, and placed residents at risk of death. The plaintiff’s attorneys have argued that the nursing home failed to provide enough direct caregiving staff to ensure appropriate care based on the residents’ needs. An admissions document for the nursing home pledged that staffing would be consistent with the Resident Bill of Rights set forth in the California Code of Regulations. The plaintiff’s attorneys are looking to form a class out of the residents of the nursing home under California Health and Safety Code and for violations of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

Understaffing in nursing homes

Understaffing in California nursing homes remains a chronic problem in the state. Some nursing homes are woefully understaffed leading to resident injuries, violation of rights, medication errors, and even the death of residents. The corporate structure of many nursing homes is crafted to insulate the company from liability. On paper, these nursing homes run at razor-thin profit margins, but in many cases, they pay exorbitant rental fees to parent companies. In this manner, they can funnel the money that the nursing home does make out of the company ledger and into the parent company’s. In many cases, you’ll find that staffing ratios are lower than those required by California regulations. When this occurs, patient injuries are likely as the residents don’t have enough individual attention to meet their needs.

Talk to an Oakland, CA Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer Today

Venardi Zurada represents the families of patients who have lost loved ones in California nursing homes. We also represent those injured due to negligence in state nursing homes. Call our Oakland nursing home abuse attorneys today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.



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