Colorado Attorneys specializing in Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse, Medical Malpractice, Consumer Protection and Civil Rights
The Law Offices of JM Reinan, PC’s client, Diane Weissmuller, has set up the Leola Jones Memorial Award in honor of her mother. As part of the Memorial Award, the District Attorney’s Office and students at Sanchez Elementary School in Lafayette, Colorado partnered to create a logo for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2013, coming up on June 15. The children’s art was displayed at the Boulder County Justice Center, where community members helped to select a winner.
If you are reading this thinking that the name Weissmuller sounds familiar, you’re right – Diane is the widow of Johnny Weissmuller, Jr., whose father was the original Tarzan and Olympic swimmer!
Our firm has the deepest respect for Diane and her work. Her kindness and generosity will make a difference in generating awareness of elder abuse.
J Reinan loves old cars and can’t imagine a better way to spend 9 days than driving a great one down the Mighty Mississippi!
The Great Race was first inaugurated in 1983 with the idea of racing pre-World War II automobiles across the United States for a large purse. After a successful first event, the Great Race has continued to be a widely celebrated annual event among car nuts and packs of fans who line up along the route – which varies from year to year – to cheer them along.
This year’s Great Race will begin in St. Paul, MN, and then head south through La Crosse, WI; to Davenport, IA; to Hannibal, MO; to Cape Girardeau, MO; to Germantown, TN; to Vicksburg, MS; to Baton Rouge, LA; to Covington, LA; and wind up in Mobile, AL.
J will be driving a 1931 Rolls Royce Shooting Brake and will be accompanied by family and friends. His car will sponsor the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in honor of his cousin’s son, Max, who is hoping a cure will be developed for this serious disease.
Read more about the Great Race and see a picture of J’s gem of a ride in the link below:
The Law Offices of JM Reinan, PC represented George Pappageorge in a wrongful death case concerning his wife, Elaine Pappageorge. Mr. Pappageorge brought suit against Mrs. Pappageorge’s former nursing home, Boulder Manor, a facility located in Boulder, Colorado that is owned and operated by SavaSeniorCare. The case was tried to a Boulder County jury from March 11 to March 15, 2013.
Mr. Pappageorge claimed that his wife was placed at Boulder Manor for rehabilitation following a hospitalization at Boulder Community Hospital where she underwent a gallbladder surgery. At the time, Mrs. Pappageorge was 80 years old with a history of Multiple Sclerosis, Dementia and other long-standing health issues.
While at Boulder Manor, Mrs. Pappageorge suffered a femur fracture. Mr. Pappageorge claimed that the femur fractured happened as result of the negligence of Boulder Manor. The Boulder Manor staff did not chart when or how the femur fracture occurred. Boulder Manor claimed at trial that the fracture was spontaneous and that the Boulder Manor staff did nothing to cause the fracture. Boulder Manor’s orthopedic expert testified that Mrs. Pappageorge had severe osteoporosis and that her femur bone was so weak that it just crumbled. Mr. Pappageorge’s orthopedic expert testified, to the contrary, that the femur fracture – which the x-rays showed to be a complete fracture across the lower part of the femur with compaction and angulation – could have only occurred with some sort of trauma, like a fall.
Mrs. Pappageorge was placed on hospice following the femur fracture and died less than a month later. The Boulder County Coroner, Emma Hall, testified at trial that Mrs. Pappageorge died as a result of complications from the femur fracture and that the manner of her death was accidental, not natural.
The jury found that Boulder Manor was negligent and caused Mrs. Pappageorge’s wrongful death. The jury awarded $95,000.00 in damages.
Yesterday, Law Week Colorado published an article concerning motions to recuse a Jefferson County District Court Judge filed by our firm in four cases over which that judge is currently presiding.
A link to the Law Week Colorado is below, and can also be found in the Articles section of this website:
The Advanced Elder Law Institute will be hosting a symposium titled, “An Integrated Approach to Aging in America” on February 14, 2013 thru February 15, 2013. Attorney J Reinan has been asked to join the presentation faculty, and will present on Nursing Home Litigation.
Among the topics in his presentation, Mr. Reinan will speak on arbitration agreements used in long-term care settings; elder abuse and neglect; nursing home negligence; consumer protection; and the rights of seniors and disabled individuals confined to long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities and retirement communities.
The overarching purpose of the Advanced Elder Law Symposium is to provide advanced training and guidance to elder law professionals in Colorado. Other program highlights include:
- Case Law and Legislative Update
- Medicaid Update
- Advance Directives
- Litigating Non-Probate Transfers
- Conservator Reports and Forensic Accountings
- What is Dementia? Types, Diagnosis, Prognosis; Traumatic Brain Injury
- At-Risk Adults – Law, Reporting and Trends
- Jurisdiction and the Changing Law in Guardianships and Protective Proceedings Around the Country
- Changes to the Estate Plan by Ward or Protected Person
- Representing the Protected Person
- Elders in the Criminal Justice System
- Nursing Home Litigation
- Elder Law Mediation
- County Court and Elder Law Issues
Our clients have filed a suit in Larimer County District Court against Visiting Angels and Rigden Farms Senior Living (“Rigden Farms”) for the wrongful death of their mother. The family has also brought a claim for deceptive trade practices against these entities.
The suit alleges, among other things, that Rigden Farms, a senior community, essentially held itself out as an assisted living facility with a higher level of care by allowing a home health care agency, Visiting Angels, to have an office on the Rigden Farms campus, free of charge. Plaintiffs allege that both Rigden Farms and Visiting Angels agreed to care for their mother.
The Plaintiffs allege that Visiting Angels was supposed to send a caregiver to check in on their mother, who had developed flu-like symptoms. The suit alleges that no caregiver came as scheduled. The family claims that when Visiting Angels did come in for its next visit, their mother was found in bed and was noted to be “very confused.” She was normally independent and cognitively intact. The family claims that Visiting Angels failed to notify them of their mother’s serious change of condition and that Visiting Angels also failed to send a caregiver back that afternoon.
Plaintiffs allege that the next time a Visiting Angels caregiver came to check on their mother she was found unresponsive in her chair. She had also vomited in her bed profusely. The suit alleges that the caregiver simply made the bed over the vomit without cleaning it up, and again failed to notify medical personnel and the family about her near-death condition. When one of the Plaintiff-daughters attempted to call her mother later that day, her mother did not pick up. The daughter then went to Rigden Farms and found her mother in the same position that she had been left in some hours earlier by the Visiting Angels caregiver. The daughter called 911 and her mother was emergently transported to the hospital, where she died a few hours later.
The Plaintiffs claim that Visiting Angels and Rigden Farms engaged in a joint venture with regard to the home healthcare services provided to their mother. The Plaintiffs allege that these Defendants acted negligently in the care and supervision provided to their mother, and also that they misrepresented the quality and quantity of the care and services they provided in their marketing and advertising materials.
The Law Offices of JM Reinan, PC, on behalf of the James family, has filed a suit in Federal Court against the Adolescent and Family Institute of Colorado (“AFIC”), its owners Alexander Panio, Jr. and his wife, Mary Panio, along with individual AFIC employees and its medical director. This is the seventh suit the Law Offices of JM Reinan, PC has filed against AFIC and Alexander Panio, Jr., and the second suit filed in Federal Court.
The James’ lawsuit alleges “abusive, fraudulent and harmful” treatment at AFIC that led the family’s son, then 17 years old, to attempt suicide. The suit further alleges that when Mrs. James contacted the AFIC therapist in charge of her son’s care to inform the therapist that her son was threatening suicide, the therapist instructed Mrs. James to go ahead and let him go through with it. The abusive treatment alleged in the suit includes, among other things, repeatedly calling the minor child derogatory names, persistent use of profane and inappropriate language, and use of improper tactics and methods to divide and destroy the James family.
The suit further alleges that Alexander Panio, who calls himself a doctor and has others refer to him as “Dr. Panio”, is in fact not a doctor, and the PhD he purportedly obtained was purchased from an unaccredited diploma mill, which is now defunct.
There are multiple claims for relief brought in the suit, including violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”); violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (“CCPA”); negligence, including battery and lack of informed consent; breach of fiduciary duty; unauthorized practice of medicine; fraud; and civil conspiracy.
To read about this lawsuit in further detail, click on the link below:
The Law Offices of JM Reinan, PC has filed another case against the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (“CMHIP”), this time on behalf of the Estate of Edward Benge and Mr. Benge’s father. Other Defendants in the lawsuit include the Colorado Department of Human Services (“CDHS”), which administers CMHIP, as well as the former Superintendent of CMHIP and the individuals responsible for Mr. Benge’s care, treatment and safety while he was a patient there.
Edward Benge committed suicide at CMHIP in September 2010. The suit alleges, in part based on investigations at CMHIP into Mr. Benge’s and other patients’ suicides and deaths around the same time, that known, uncorrected poor conditions at CMHIP led to Mr. Benge’s preventable death. Among other things, the suit alleges that the hospital “was in disarray from the top down, with chronically short staffing, poor staff morale and an abject absence of a reasonable and proper system of suicide prevention and training.” The suit further alleges that CMHIP lacked appropriate policies and procedures, and failed to properly train its staff.
The suit cites to an investigation into Mr. Benge’s death at CMHIP conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (“CDPHE”). In its investigation, the CDPHE concluded that “the facility failed to ensure patient safety was maintained with accountability rounds, safety searches, reliable door locks/hardware, control of linen and patient belongings, adequate nursing staff and adequate supervisory staff. Deficient practice was cited.”
The lawsuit also references a November Audit of CMHIP published on November 15, 2010 on CDHS letterhead, which concluded, among other things, that the unit at CMHIP on which Ed Benge resided suffered from huge deficits in resources and staffing; admitted more patients than it was equipped to handle; lacked proper staff training on patient care and security systems; and lacked sufficient numbers of psychologists and psychiatrists.
The suit further alleges that although Mr. Benge exhibited clear suicidal ideations and behaviors, proper suicide precautions were not undertaken.
The suit alleges that these failures and uncorrected poor conditions and staffing deficits amount to civil rights violations, and further seeks injunctive and declaratory relief from the court.
To see what KMGH Denver News reported on this story, click on the following links:
J Reinan will be presenting on Saturday, August 25, 2012 at this year’s Elder Law Retreat in Vail, along with Mary Catherine Rabbit, an attorney with The Legal Center for People with Disabilities and Older People.
The topic of their presentation is Advocacy, Residents’ Rights and Litigating Nursing Home Complaints: Issues from Pre-Admission to Post-Discharge for Residents and Management of Assisted Living and Nursing Home Facilities.
The format of their presentation will be a panel discussion, which will address a number of issues affecting residents of long-term care facilities (both assisted living and skilling nursing facilities residents) from before admission to after discharge.
Specific issues to be addressed during the panel discussion include: avoiding the pitfalls of mandatory arbitration; delays in establishing Medicaid eligibility; the current mix of residents in long-term care facilities and conflicts between residents; the unmet mental health needs of nursing home residents; GLBT residents in long-term care; “Culture Change”; involuntary discharges from facilities; new developments in voluntary discharges, including Section Q of the Minimum Data Set, “Community Choice Transitions,” “Dual Eligibles,” the Colorado Olmstead Plan and the need for regulatory legislative reform in implementing these new programs; litigating nursing home claims and cases; and Medicare and Medicaid liens.
The Law Offices of J.M. Reinan, P.C. represents Johnnie Zweygardt, whose father, Rudy Zweygardt, died from hypothermia four hours after he eloped from the facility without the facility preventing his escape or noticing his prolonged absence. Valley Assisted Living (“VALI”) is located in Silver Cliff, Colorado.
The lawsuit was recently filed in Custer County District Court. The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that VALI was negligent in failing to prevent Mr. Zweygardt from wandering outside of the building, particularly since it was on notice that Mr. Zwegardt, who suffered from dementia, had a history of wandering. The lawsuit alleges that VALI failed to use an alarm system or other device that would have alerted its staff that Mr. Zweygardt was up and about or attempting to leave the building. The lawsuit also alleges that the facility was negligent in failing to perform its routine checks on Mr. Zweygardt as required, allowing him to be missing for nearly four hours.
The lawsuit further alleges that VALI failed to disclose to Johnnie Zweygardt, who made the decision to place his father at VALI, that VALI was unable to safely house a resident with dementia and a propensity for wandering.