The Audacity of No Shame

Negligent Emergency Preparedness

I have been a nursing home lawyer and advocate for over 26 years. I have heard some crazy arguments and defenses from nursing home defense attorneys. Blaming victims of sexual assault. Accusing innocent family members of abuse and neglect. Arguing frivolous or fringe medical theories. But now I have heard it all from Bob Dean Jr.

Bob Dean Jr. filed a motion in federal court to dismiss a class action lawsuit for his negligent acts during Hurricane Ida. The lawsuit claims the residents suffered from neglect. Dean sent residents to his leaky, over-crowded and poorly equipped industrial warehouse in Tangipahoa Parish. He is facing lawsuits claiming neglect during the ill-fated evacuation for Hurricane Ida. He owns and operates seven nursing homes.

The Louisiana Department of Health workers raided the building after four horrendous days. They immediately evacuated the 843 patients in a caravan of ambulances. At least 38 died. The LDH has revoked the licenses of Dean’s nursing homes. In addition to the lawsuits, Dean is also facing criminal and administrative investigations by the state Attorney General’s Office.

Incredible Defense Theory

Dean’s attorneys cite the Nursing Home Residents Bill of Rights arguing that the law prevents residents from seeking compensation for damages. Dean claims a provision in the law only allows patients to seek an injunction but not damages. Huh?

Dean claims the law allowed damage claims until 2003 when “the Legislature amended the Act to eliminate the provision in the statute that provided for the recovery of ‘actual damages.’ ” “Because the shelter was emptied before the suit was filed, there is no justiciable issue for the Court to decide,” Dean’s attorneys wrote.

Attorney Donald Massey, who is suing on behalf of several patients, said there are a number of problems with Dean’s motion, especially the medical malpractice issue. Massey argues:

“Food, water and oxygen are what any decent human being would provide. These are not complex medical claims. Dean’s motion is baseless and exactly the type of obfuscation we’ve been seeing from Dean and his companies.”

The attorneys should be embarrassed for making such frivolous arguments. Dean should lose the motion and accept responsibility for his actions. I hope the residents get the peace and justice they deserve.