Civil Rights Lawsuits Against Nursing Homes Given Green Light

The U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit has ruled that the Federal Nursing Home Reform Amendments grants residents of county-operated nursing homes the right to bring civil rights claims for allegations of abuse, neglect, or other care-related complaints.

The ruling arose in a case involving the 80-year-old Melvinteen Daniels, who died in a county-run nursing home as a result of neglect, malnourishment, and pressure ulcers. The family brought a lawsuit against the nursing home alleging, among other things, civil rights claims under Section 1983. Challenges to the claims wound their way through the courts and leading to yesterday’s ruling.

In a 23-page opinion, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard L. Nygaard held that, “the language used throughout the FNHRA is explicitly and unambiguously rights-creating. These provisions make clear that nursing homes must provide a basic level of service and care for residents and Medicaid patients.”
Nygaard also went on to hold that the FNHRA “guarantees” nursing home residents the right to be free from physical abuse, corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion, or restraints imposed for the purposes of discipline or convenience. (Read the opinion here)

The FNHRA was passed in 1987 as amendments to the Medicare Act, and designed to address nationwide concerns over nursing home care.

The elder abuse lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP provide free consultations to individuals and families who believe a loved one has been abuse or neglected in a Southern California nursing home or assisted living facility.