The daughter of a north suburban nursing home resident has filed a lawsuit against the facility, alleging that two staff members taunted and degraded her mother, all the while recording the encounter and later posting it to Snapchat.
The suit was filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court by the daughter of 91-year-old Margaret Collins, who suffers from dementia. The complaint alleges violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress and seeks more than $1 million in damages.
Collins’ daughter alleges that, in December 2018, she became aware of a video that showed two employees at the Abington of Glenview nursing home forcing her mother to disrobe and put on a hospital gown, even though it was well known that Collins did not like to wear them.
Footage of their alleged harassment was later posted to Snapchat, a photo and video sharing cellphone app. According to the suit, the video featured a caption that read: “Margaret hates gowns!” following by a laughing/crying emoji.
“They deliberately taunted and bullied my mom,” Joan Biebel, Collins’ daughter, said in a statement. “And they’re not even supposed to have phones when they’re on duty. They did this for their own entertainment, and posted it for their friends.”
The two employees — Brayan Cortez and Jamie Montesa — “engaged in a number of actions to intimidate, taunt, harass, degrade and bully Margaret for the purpose of coercing and manipulating Margaret to put on a hospital gown, which was known by the defendants that Margaret did not like to wear, while being publicly broadcasted via Snapchat,” the suit states.
After seeing the video, Collins’ children called the Abington to demand that Cortez and Montesa be barred from having contact with her. Collins was also moved to another facility.
According to the suit, the Abington told Collins’ children that the facility would investigate any wrongdoing, but the Abington eventually found the allegations against Cortez and Montesa were “unfounded.’
On Jan. 7, 2019, the Glenview Police Department initiated its own investigation into the allegations. The next day, police interviewed Cortez and Montesa, the suit stated. Both told police that they knew Collins preferred to wear her own clothes instead of a hospital gown.
Soon after, Cortez and Montesa were charged with disorderly conduct. They’re both scheduled to appear in court later this month.
The Abington did not respond to a request for comment Friday, but issued a statement to CBS Chicago that said in part: “Recently, two employees were immediately terminated when it was determined that they violated our standards and policies.”