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A class action lawsuit filed Monday is seeking a court order to stop regional provider Alden Management Services from what plaintiffs call “an ongoing practice of profiting from systematically and knowingly understaffing.” 

The complainants said the filing is a warning shot across the bow to any operators who allegedly understaff their facilities.

“The goal with this class action is to finally end the chronic understaffing at Alden facilities. It will also send a strong message to other nursing homes and assisted living facilities that they too will be held accountable for intentional understaffing,” said Steven Levin, of Levin & Perconti, a Chicago law firm that touts its filings against nursing home nationally.

Alden strongly denied the accusations in a statement provided to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.

“Alden has always maintained a policy of not discussing the specifics of any pending litigation, so as to preserve the integrity of the litigation process,” the company said. “Alden vigorously denies any and all allegations of wrongdoing set forth by the plaintiffs and their attorneys and is confident the judicial process will vindicate Alden in this action. Alden is committed to providing quality care, and the well-being of our residents has been and always will be our top priority.”

Aided by AARP, 11 plaintiffs and their attorneys said they want monetary damages and attorneys’ fees from Alden. The complaint cites six Chicago-area facilities in particular. It alleges “dangerous, distressing, and grossly unsanitary living conditions for thousands of residents.”

Plaintiffs also accuse the chain of staffing “significantly below even the absolute statutory minimum required” from 2018 to 2020 and lying to regulators about workforce levels, allegedly sometimes claiming workers who were no longer with the company or not on duty, according to employee accounts.

In a well-orchestrated event in Chicago announcing the lawsuit, plaintiffs attorneys also said they were targeting what they called “illegal admission agreements,” ostensibly arbitration agreements, that “prevent” patients from suing.