News | Oregon

Register-Guard: Assisted Living Center Hit With Lawsuit

The Register Guard | Nov. 27, 2013 2:57 a.m. | Updated: Nov. 27, 2013 11:06 a.m.

Contributed By:

Jack Moran

A north Eugene assisted living facility, castigated by state officials earlier this year for failing to protect a woman with Alzheimer’s disease from being sexually abused by another resident, now faces a $3 million lawsuit filed Tuesday by the victim’s family.

The 79-year-old suspect in the case stands charged with one count of first-degree sexual abuse. But Baldur G. Limburg’s case in Lane County Circuit Court is on hold until Dec. 12 while he undergoes a psychological examination at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday by Lori L. Baker, the victim’s daughter, alleges that Sierra Oaks Residential and Memory Care officials acted negligently when they transferred Baldur from the facility’s assisted living unit to its memory care unit in March, after he had made unwanted sexual advances to other residents and female staff members.

The alleged crime involving Limburg and Baker’s mother, Lisa Low, occurred May 20, according to court records.

According to documents supplied Tuesday to The Register-Guard by Baker’s attorney, state Department of Human Services officials in September substantiated an allegation that the care facility failed to protect the 83-year-old Low — who died in July — from abuse after moving Baldur to the memory care unit when he lacked a dementia diagnosis.

State officials have assessed a $2,500 civil penalty against the facility, according to the documentation.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the center’s owner, Santa Clara Special Care Community LLC; its management company, Carepartners Management Group LLC; former facility administrator Tricia Pruen; current administrator Jessica Knox; and residential care manager Linda S. Elder.

Knox did not immediately return a telephone message left Tuesday at the facility, which is at 140 Green Lane in Eugene’s Santa Clara area.

Baker, in a prepared statement issued by attorney Erin Olson of Portland, said her mother was victim of “an atrocity that no one should have to endure.”

“In bringing this lawsuit, our hope is to hold accountable those who failed in their responsibility to protect our mother, so that the loved ones of others might not suffer at the end of their lives as our mother did,” Baker said.

Meanwhile, state officials in October forced Sierra Oaks to stop accepting new residents after an inspection uncovered various deficiencies relating to residential care there, said Warren Bird, a policy analyst with the state Human Services department’s office of Licensing and Regulatory Oversight.

Bird said a review of the facility’s systems — which included a look at everything from individual care plans and the general living environment to food and medication practices — prompted the admission restrictions order.

Bird said state license regulators were made aware of the investigation involving Baldur earlier this year, but that it “did not necessarily” factor into the decision to restrict new admissions to Sierra Oaks.

Officials will conduct an unannounced inspection sometime in coming weeks before deciding whether the facility has made the required corrections and may again begin taking in new residents.

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thanks to our Sponsors:
become a sponsor
Thanks to our Sponsors
become a sponsor