California's largest nursing home operator sued by resident's family

California's largest nursing home operator is being sued by the family of a resident who committed suicide last year while living at a suburban Los Angeles nursing home.

The family of Courtney Cargill filed a lawsuit Wednesday against nursing home owner Shlomo Rechnitz, claiming the South Pasadena facility where Cargill lived endangered and neglected mentally ill residents in order to “maximize profits.” Cargill, who was known by staff to have suicidal tendencies, signed herself out of the nursing home last year, and committed suicide outside of a nearby gas station by lighting herself on fire. The facility received a $20,000 fine and a citation for failing to supervise Cargill.

Rechnitz, who controls one in every 14 skilled nursing beds in California, came under fire earlier this summer when an investigation by the Sacramento Bee uncovered a long list of lawsuits, regulatory fines and government investigations facing his company, Brius Healthcare Services.

“All of a sudden, we show up to court one day and there is an emergency motion that refers to us as a quote-unquote serial violator of laws,” Rechnitz told the Sacramento Bee. “It basically makes us look like the Charles Manson of the nursing home business.”