Friday, October 23, 2020

Claims Allowed To Proceed Against Personal Care Home

In the case of Rogowski v. Harrison House Personal Care Home, No. 20-CV-2009 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Sept. 28, 2020 Nealon, J.), the court addressed issues with respect to a duty of care and the application of §323 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts arising out of claims against a personal care home by a resident.
The personal care home resident alleged physical and emotional harm allegedly sustained as a result of assaults by another resident, substandard medical care, and institutional neglect. 

One of the Defendants in this matter filed a demurrer.  That Defendant was the advocacy alliance which was allegedly authorized by the Social Security Administration Act as the resident’s payee for Social Security benefits and manage the same for the resident.  That Defendant asserted that was not liable for any claims of damages on the grounds that the Defendant did not have a duty to protect the resident of the personal care home or any duty to scrutinize the services provided by the personal care home.

The court ruled that, although it was alleged that the personal care home and its owner were aware of serious problems at the home which allegedly increased the risk of harm to the resident, the Plaintiff’s Complaint was found to lack any allegations that the advocacy alliance, as the payee, knew, or should have known, of any issues at the personal care home that could have exposed the resident to possible injury. 

The court also found that the Complaint lacked any factual averments or reasonable inferences that the payee undertook or otherwise assumed any responsibility to monitor or review the quality of care at the home. 

As such, based upon the allegations set forth in the Plaintiff’s Complaint, the court ruled that the representative payee did not owe the resident any common law duty of care upon which to base a negligence claim for physical and emotional harm sustained by the resident at the home. Accordingly, the claims against the payee for non-economic damages was dismissed. 

However, in light of the payee’s fiduciary duties relative to the resident’s Social Security benefits, the demurrer to the “pecuniary loss” claims relating to the advancement of rent and expenditures was overruled.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

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