Court dismisses AG's suit against Golden

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A Pennsylvania court in March 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. It claimed the facilities failed to provide basic care to residents, and were misleading consumers about their services.

Eleven additional Golden facilities were added to the complaint later that year. Kane was later charged with perjury and abuse of office, forced to resign and sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison in October of last year. 

Golden sold operations of several Pennsylvania facilities involved in the lawsuit earlier this year, but maintains ownership of the real estate for the facilities. 

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

In an opinion filed in late March, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania sustained eight of Golden's 12 objections to the attorney general's claims and dismissed the state's complaint against the provider.

Among the upheld objections was Golden's argument that marketing statements criticized in Kane's complaint were not false advertising, but rather “puffery,” or exaggerated sales talk. 

Those statements include claims about the facilities' nursing staffs, snack and beverage options, linens, plans of care and focus on residents' “individuality and dignity.”

The court's opinion describes several of Golden's marketing statements as including “motives and intentions, or general statements of optimism,” which don't violate the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.

The AG's office may pursue the option of appealing the decision to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.