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Romanucci & Blandin, LLC Challenges Ill. Governor-Elect Rauner on Nursing Home Care Reform

November 20, 2014

Attorneys for private citizen, Mary Mims, announced the filing of a civil lawsuit against Chicago-based Alden Wentworth Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Inc. and its liability company for negligence and wrongful death of 36-year-old Chicago resident Letasha Mims, daughter of Mary Mims. The details related to treatment received by Letasha Mims at the nursing home facility are highlighted in a three-part investigative series published by The Center for Public Integrity. The lawsuit is a direct challenge to Ill. Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner on proposed policy in regard to nursing home care reform.

Attorneys for Ms. Mims proposed the following reforms: 1) The prevention of shell or liability companies owned by larger nursing home care corporations to shirk victim payments in cases of negligence and/or wrongful death, 2) The reinstatement of treble damages (multiple of actual damages) as a punitive measure to prevent abuse or neglect of patients, 3) The requirement of nursing homes to purchase high-premium insurance, with a value at no less than $5 million per case of neglect to ensure accountability, 4) The creation and enforcement of state-wide nursing home standards to prevent disparities in care between facilities that intake Medicare and Medicaid patients vs. those that intake self-insured patients.

The proposed reforms oppose the agenda of Ill. Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner to place damage caps on victim injury or wrongful death cases due to nursing home care neglect or wrongdoing. Rauner is former owner of Chicago-based equity firm GTCR, which is currently on federal trial in Florida for an alleged fraudulent scheme to avoid liability for numerous patient deaths who resided in nursing homes owned by firm, Trans Healthcare Inc., owned by GTCR. Plaintiffs for that case allege Rauner’s firm created a shell company to shield both GTCR and Trans Healthcare from having to pay damages and liabilities in excess of $1 billion for prior patient neglect and wrongful death cases.

“We’re calling on Governor-Elect Rauner to stop placing his own needs as former owner of an investment firm accused of actively avoiding its responsibility to pay liability claims and damages to victims of the nursing home care facilities he once owned, and to instead, put the needs of the people of Illinois first,” said lead attorney for Ms. Mims, Stephan D. Blandin of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC. “It is the Governor-Elect’s obligation to ensure all people in Illinois are not at risk of being abused or receiving negligent care in any nursing home in the state.”

The nursing home care reforms proposed by Romanucci & Blandin are concurrent with the civil lawsuit filed on behalf of Mary Mims and the estate of Letasha Mims. The complaint states that from April 2012 through February 2014, Letasha Mims was a resident of Alden-Wentworth Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Chicago. Upon admission to the facility, Letasha suffered from depression, deep psychosis, dementia,
expressive language disorder (nonverbal mute) and seizure disorder among several mental and emotional disabilities, which required assistance with all activities of daily living. From the beginning of her stay at AldenWentworth and throughout its entirety, Letasha developed and suffered multiple pressure ulcers that worsened over time, body rashes, skin lesions, gangrenous toes and feet, body weight and muscle loss of approximately 60 pounds, and teeth deterioration. Letasha also experienced rodent feces in her linens, soiled diapers and linens, and failed to receive proper supervision to prevent her from placing objects, including her feces and a hard metal call button, inside her mouth.

As a direct and approximate result of the Alden-Wentworth’s negligence and/or omission in providing care, Letasha sustained injuries that contributed to her death on Aug. 22, 2014.

Plaintiff Mary Mims seeks judgment against Alden Wentworth Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center and its liability company, plus compensatory damages and attorney’s fees and costs. The lawsuit is civil action No: 2014L011878.

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