SNF residents can sue operators over staffing, appeals court says

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California nursing home residents have more ammunition to sue the operators of the facilities they live in for violating state nurse-staffing regulations, an appeals court ruled this week.
 
The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco on Wednesday reinstated a lawsuit filed against Covenant Care, the owner of 16 nursing homes in the state's Alameda County. A group of residents had sued over accusations of failing to enforce nurse-staffing standards at least 35% of the time over a four-year period.
 
The appeals court took the case after a Superior Court judge sided with Covenant Care — which argued that only state regulators can enforce nursing home staffing requirements — and dismissed the case, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
 
The plaintiffs stand to receive up to $500 for each violation of their rights, though the attorney representing them told the Chronicle that the goal of the lawsuit was to ensure that operators comply with the law. The appeals court decision comes on the heels of former residents of a Mariner Health Care facility in California suing over what they say was inadequate staffing.
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