Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from Golden Living.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has given its blessing to a lawsuit against a major nursing home chain, alleging that it violated consumer protection laws by engaging in deceptive marketing practices.
Golden Gate National Senior Care and its statewide affiliates, which include two-dozen nursing homes, was first sued by the state’s attorney general in 2015. Back then, officials alleged that the provider had exaggerated the level of care provided to its customers and understaffed facilities to maximize profits, Penn Live reports. Golden Living’s CEO bristled at the time, calling those charges “baseless and wholly without merit.”
A lower Commonwealth Court panel had dismissed the suit as “puffery” and hyperbole, but on Tuesday, Justice Christine Donohue ruled the AG’s claims that the nursing home chain violated state Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law were “not too vague” to support the lawsuit.
In her opinion, Donohue asserted that Golden did not deliver on specific promises made to attract residents, in brochures, marketing materials and video ads. Those include the AG’s assertion that, despite promises of prompt food and cleaning services, residents “routinely [had] to wait hours for food, assistance with toileting, changing of soiled bed linens and other elements of basic care.”
McKnight’s reported last fall that AG Josh Shapiro had launched attempts to revive the lawsuit, arguing that leaving it dormant would have “unintended consequences” for the state’s residents.
In a statement to McKnight’s, Golden Living said that it is reviewing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s opinion on the appeal. “The court’s opinion in this case could have a widespread impact on businesses in the Commonwealth. Golden Living denies the key allegations in the lawsuit and it will continue to pursue its available defenses,” it said in the statement.