Golden Living claims 'retaliation' behind huge Pennsylvania AG lawsuit

EDITOR'S NOTE: The original version of this article has been updated to include Golden Living CEO Neil Kurtz's response to the charges.

An operator of 36 nursing homes in Pennsylvania is being sued by the state's attorney general's office, Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced Wednesday.

The 101-page legal action was filed against Golden Gate National Senior Care LLC for failing to provide basic services to residents, having falsified records about care and deceiving Department of Health inspectors. Fourteen of Golden Gate's subsidiaries, called Golden LivingCenters, were named in the lawsuit.

The Golden Living facilities are accused for being understaffed, which left residents deprived of their basic needs. In fact, many residents' family members made complaints about an alleged pattern of omitted care.

The legal action seeks to prohibit Golden Living from engaging in the accused unlawful business. It also asks for $1,000 per violation of the law, or up to $3,000 for every violation involving a resident aged 60 or older. Finally, the action seeks compensation for consumers and costs of litigation.

"As we allege, these companies profited at the expense of our most vulnerable residents," Attorney General Kane said in her announcement. "These facilities promised to provide the care needed by residents and then failed to meet residents' most basic human needs. That is simply unacceptable."

Golden Living CEO Neil Kurtz said his company plans to "vigorously defend the reputation of Golden Living and its employees."

"Golden Living is confident that claims made by the Attorney General are baseless and wholly without merit," Kurtz said in a prepared statement. "No doubt, this is an unfortunate result of Kathleen Kane's inappropriate and questionable relationship with a Washington, DC-based plaintiff's firm that preys on legitimate businesses and is paid by contingency fees. Golden Living also believes that this complaint is in retaliation for our challenging the Attorney General's authority in a pending lawsuit."