Court dismisses AG's suit against Golden LivingCenters

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A Pennsylvania court has dismissed a lawsuit filed against 25 Golden LivingCenters by the former state attorney general.

The suit was first announced by then-Attorney General Kathleen Kane in July 2015. It targeted 14 facilities operated by Golden Gate National Senior Care LLC and its related entities for allegedly failing to provide basic care and misleading consumers about its services. Eleven additional Golden facilities were added to the complaint later that year.

In an opinion filed on Wednesday, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania sustained eight of Golden's 12 objections to the AG's claims and dismissed the state's complaint against the provider.

Among the sustained objections was Golden's argument that marketing statements criticized in the AG's complaint did not constitute false advertising since they were “puffery,” or sales talk that exaggerates something in a vague way. The court's opinion describes several of Golden's marketing statements as including “motives and intentions, or general statements of optimism,” which don't count as violations of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.

The AG's office may choose to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Kane's lawsuit was bashed by Golden CEO Neil Kurtz at the time of its announcement as the “an unfortunate result of Kathleen Kane's inappropriate and questionable relationship with a Washington, DC-based plaintiff's firm that preys on legitimate businesses.” He also argued that the suit had been filed as retaliation for challenging Kane's authority.

Kane was later charged with perjury and abuse of office, and forced to resign. She was sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison in October 2016.

In a statement to McKnight's, Golden LivingCenters said it is “pleased with the decision from Commonwealth Court dismissing the case.”