The Arkansas Supreme Court has granted class action status to a lawsuit against a nursing home in the state.

The suit, filed two years ago by Annette Thomas, a former resident, alleges that between Sept. 13, 2000, and June 30, 2004, Batesville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Fort Smith, AR, failed to care properly for 489 residents. Deficient care included failing to provide adequate staffing and failing to provide a clean, safe living environment, the lawsuit said.

The suit names the nursing home and its parent company, which at the time was known as Beverly Enterprises Inc. and is now Golden Gate National Senior Care. Attorneys for the facility had argued against class-action certification because of lack of uniformity among residents. But lawyers for the plaintiffs pointed out that the case pertains to issues such as understaffing which would have affected all residents of the facility.