A patient who claims to have been assaulted last month by an employee at an Aliso Viejo nursing home is suing the owner for alleged elder abuse, negligence, assault and battery, as well as negligent hiring and supervision. The Long Beach office of Garcia, Artigliere & Medby announced it filed the suit Tuesday against Covenant Care California, LLC, the manager of Courtyard Healthcare Center in Aliso Viejo, on behalf of Clara Cranford.
Here is what the law firm claims sparked the suit:
On March 4, 2014, Carla Cranford was admitted to Courtyard Healthcare Center for rehabilitation after a hip surgery. On March 22, when Mrs. Cranford's family visited her, they learned that she had been physically assaulted by an employee at the facility. The employee allegedly went into her room and violently thrust her right leg, the same side on which Mrs. Cranford had undergone a hip replacement. The employee proceeded to punch her while she cried out for help.
Mrs. Cranford reported the incident to the next employee that entered her room and was told "not to worry" and that "it was taken care of and the attacker would not be allowed in the room anymore." The very next day, Mrs. Cranford's attacker delivered food and proceeded to feed her.
When asking to speak to the head nurse and for a copy of the report of the incident, Mrs. Cranford's family was told they would receive a copy of the report before leaving that day. The facility's dietician, claiming to be the manager, advised they had to follow protocol when asked by the family to call the police. At which time, a family member proceeded to call the police herself. With a police officer present, the family asked for the report once again and was told there was no such report.
The lawsuit alleges this was more than an isolated incident but indicative of the company's supposedly negligent way of doing business.
"Mrs. Cranford's injuries are a result of Courtyard Healthcare Center's financial limitations forced upon by its directors," reads a statement from Garcia, Artigliere & Medby, which specializes in elder abuse. "Had Courtyard Healthcare Center been diligent in conducting extensive pre-employment interviews, background checks and other employment processes, the dangerous and violent tendencies of the attacker and other unfit employees would have been apparent."
Added the law firm's founding partner Stephen M. Garcia, "It appears that Courtyard Healthcare Center is focused on unlawfully increasing their earnings by cutting corners at every turn as opposed to providing the standard quality of care to their patients."
The Weekly has asked Covenant Care California for a response, which we'll pass along should one arrive.