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Whistleblower lawsuit: Sunrise Assisted Living neglects aging entertainers

Sunrise Assisted Living neglects aging entertainers and family members of celebrities
Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images

In the age-old scheme of profit first and people second, Sunrise Senior Living is facing yet another lawsuit alleging neglect and gross negligence. Tucked away near the ocean in Southern California, this facility houses aging entertainers, family members of famous celebrities and relatives of powerful network executives. Back in 2008, Sunrise was ordered to pay $2 million in damages after the death of a resident introduced claims of neglect and abuse.

Despite the hefty payout, Sunrise Senior Living seems to be up to their old tricks as a new ten-page complaint submitted by the Cole Law Group and the Kinega Law Firm depicts even more negligence. The complaint paints a picture of a senior living facility that is understaffed, leaving aging residents in soiled diapers and without proper attention for hours at a time. Apart from the sanitation and care issues, the complaint also alleges a substantial amount of fraud. Sunrise Senior Living is accused of billing services to Medicare with no intention of providing those services or medications to the residents.

The claims were investigated and substantiated by the state’s social services agency, which then issued a compliance program to Sunrise in order to get the facility back on track. The complaint alleges that the State never followed-up to ensure that the compliance program was being followed, allowing more and more residents to be neglected. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that California’s Social Services have struggled to oversee a residential care facility.

In 2013, the California Department of Social Services ordered the closure of the Valley Manor Residential Care facility without taking the time to monitor the shutdown. Once the shutdown order was given, most of the staff simply walked out of the facility, leaving 14 clients alone for three days. Most of the residents were bedridden and without a place to go as a skeleton crew struggled to maintain the facility. The skeleton crew consisted of a cook, a janitor and two caretakers who quickly became overwhelmed and were forced to call 911.

By law, assisted care facilities are required to provide adequate care and supervision even if their license is actively being revoked. Despite the substantiated abuse claims and lawsuits, Sunrise Senior Living continues to operate while collecting hefty monthly payments from the family members of aging residents.

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