BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – The owner of the nursing homes, Bob Dean, accused of housing patients in a warehouse ahead of Hurricane Ida is now facing a class-action lawsuit.
Seven people died and at least 14 residents were hospitalized after nearly 850 residents were moved to a warehouse in Independence, La. They stayed there under inhumane conditions for about five days.
“I’ve spent ten years as a criminal prosecutor and as a criminal prosecutor you definitely see a lot of human depravity in the job… this ranks up there with one of the most horrific experiences I’ve ever heard,” said the families’ attorney Blair Constant.
According to the lawsuit, family members were not made aware of the evacuation plan and the facilities failed to tell them where the residents were taken.
Photos attached to the lawsuit show many mattresses placed on the floor, “toe to toe and side by side, with little to no space between them.”
They said the residents were stripped of basic personal hygiene needs and basic human dignity including a limited number of “port-a-lets”, which were placed in the same location as the quote “feeding area” for residents.
The lawsuit states there wasn’t enough staff for all 843 residents stuffed in the facility. Some residents were forced to sleep in their wheelchairs or lie down on the concrete floors while staff called “corporate nurses” reserved two and three mattresses each for themselves to ensure their own personal comfort.
After the loss of air conditioning, the temperature rose to cause staff members and residents to uncontrollably vomit.
At least 30 emergency calls were made from the warehouse. After the Louisiana Department of Health received complaints about the conditions, they were denied access by Dean and he demanded that the LDH representatives leave.
The residents have been relocated to other care facilities across Louisiana, but some family members have not been able to track down their loved ones.
Constant said their goal with this lawsuit is to make sure this never happens again, and Bob Dean will no longer be able to operate nursing home facilities in the future.
Constant says if you or a loved one would like to join the suit, fill out this survey.
State health leaders shut down the seven nursing homes and revoked their licenses. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the facility was unprepared for the number of evacuees and as a result, multiple people died.