Skilled Nursing Litigation Study

PIs: Sarah Hooper, JD; Charlene Harrington, PhD, RN

Other Collaborators: W. Timothy Needham, Attorney at Law, at Janssen Malloy LLP in Eureka, CA; Amanda Hamilton, Consortium Intern in Healthy Aging & Justice

Project Objective: Researchers from UCSF and UC Hastings will examine recent litigation surrounding compliance with nursing home staffing regulations.  UC Hastings researchers will provide UCSF faculty with information about the legal context for Lavender vs. Skilled Healthcare Group, with the ultimate goal of publishing an interdisciplinary article on the case.

Project Description: A California jury recently awarded $677 million to plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit that many observers did not believe would even survive the early stages of litigation.  The lawsuit was filed against one of the largest nursing home chains in California, which was ultimately found to be in violation of state and federal laws regulating nursing home staffing.  Lavender vs. Skilled Healthcare Group provides an interesting case study not only for the legal issues it presented (e.g. are courts or administrative bodies better-situated to enforce nursing home regulations?), but for the wealth of data it revealed on actual (as opposed to reported) corporate strategies and staffing practices by this large corporate nursing home chain.

Researchers will examine both the legal and factual fallout from this case, and translate the findings into an article accessible to both legal and medical audiences

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