In what is believed to be a first in legal history, attorney Kathryn Stebner of our firm, Stebner Gertler Guadagni & Kawamoto, has won class-action status for residents of a senior living facility that allegedly failed to care for them adequately. The U.S. 9th Circuit of Appeals recently affirmed a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, which granted class status to the residents. This decision could open the door to substantial compensation for potentially hundreds of seniors who lived at Sunrise Senior Living from July 2013 to the present, or their next of kin for those who have since passed away.
Not the staffing levels that Sunrise promised
The main issue in the lawsuit is staffing. The suit alleges that Sunrise misled prospective residents and their families about the level of staffing it maintains. As a result, residents have not received the level of care and attention promised in Sunrise’s admission contracts, do not get the service they pay for and are at “substantial risk” of physical harm.
The ruling also found that Stebner’s use of testimony from expert witnesses was valid. Testimony from experts in staffing, damage and systems engineering was “reliable and relevant,” the appellate court wrote in its decision.
Kathryn Stebner first filed this lawsuit back in 2018. The recent ruling is a major step forward in seeking justice for vulnerable seniors who did not get the care they were promised.