Suit accuses nursing home operator of intentional understaffing

The suit names six Alden facilities in Chicago and the suburbs.

SHARE Suit accuses nursing home operator of intentional understaffing
Alden Town Manor nursing home, 6120 W. Ogden Ave. in Cicero is one of the six facilities named in a lawsuit alleging the nursing home operator understaffed facilities, endangering residents.

Alden Town Manor nursing home, 6120 W. Ogden Ave. in Cicero is one of the six facilities named in a lawsuit alleging the nursing home operator understaffed facilities, endangering residents.

Sun-Times file

Residents of several Alden nursing homes in the city and suburbs filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing the company of endangering residents by understaffing facilities, leading to illness and injury.

“For many years Alden has engaged in an ongoing practice of profiting from systematically and knowingly understaffing the Alden facilities, causing dangerous, distressing, and grossly unsanitary living conditions for thousands of residents,” the suit claims.

“Alden residents suffer severe injuries from falls, acquire pressure ulcers that worsen without treatment, and wait indefensibly long periods to be diagnosed with critical and, at times, life-threatening conditions,” the suit claims.

The suit, which seeks class-action status, names six Alden facilities — three in Chicago and one each in Cicero, Harvey and McHenry — that house about 1,400 people combined.

Attorneys who filed the suit held a news conference downtown Wednesday and said the six facilities have the most problems of the more than 50 care homes that Alden operates — most of which are in northern Illinois.

Alden is based in the Sauganash neighborhood on the North Side.

Barry Taylor, an attorney for Equip for Equality and co-counsel for the plaintiffs, said he doesn’t think it’s an accident that the facilities are also in “marginalized, underfunded communities of color.”

The suit was filed in Cook County and points to state inspection reports and medical records that reveal a problem that’s “astounding in scope,” said Kelly Bagby, vice president of litigation for the AARP Foundation and co-counsel for plaintiffs.

Attorney Steve Levin, another co-counsel, said the plaintiffs are seeking court-ordered intervention “that cannot be violated without substantial pain to Alden.”

“This lawsuit is specifically designed to prevent future harm,” he said.

The suit was filed on behalf of 11 unnamed Alden residents ranging in age from 26 to 82, who are all beneficiaries of Medicaid, the government-funded program that picks up the cost of medical bills for people with low income.

Representatives of Alden didn’t return a message seeking comment.

The suit is also seeking monetary damages and an end to Alden’s practice of having residents sign agreements waiving legal claims and requiring arbitration, said co-counsel Charlie Wysong.

Previous suits resulted in relief for individual clients and terms that were cloaked in confidentiality.

The suit filed Tuesday seeks to “break open that system and say look no this is not about one offs you can buy off, this is about your business and u got to fix your business from the top down,” Wysong said.

Alden is owned and controlled by Floyd Schlossberg and his family, plaintiff attorneys said Wednesday.

“They have no excuse,” Bagby said of the chronic understaffing issues alleged in the suit. “They have a $200 million revenue stream and they can do better. They’ve chosen not to.”

The Latest
Family in turmoil as insecure woman complains constantly about her husband’s absence.
A 49-year-old man was in the 2800 block of North Cannon Avenue when a man walked up to him with a gun. The victim grabbed the gun and it went off, wounding him in the torso, police say.
A 46-year-old motorcyclist was traveling north in the 5500 block of South Pulaski Road when a woman in a Chevy SUV turned left and collided with the man, police said. He died at a hospital, authorities say.