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More Lawsuits Filed Against Kansas Nursing Homes For COVID-19 Deaths

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Jodi Fortino
KCUR 89.3
Brighton Gardens Senior Living Center in Prairie Village, Kansas.

Brighton Gardens, a Prairie Village nursing home, was sued on Monday, the first lawsuit alleging wrongful death for a resident’s COVID-19.

Brighton Gardens of Prairie Village, a Kansas nursing home that is the site of a cluster of COVID-19 cases, was sued Monday for the wrongful death of one of its residents.

The lawsuit was filed by the family of Gordan Grohman, who was 88 when he died on May 1. It's the first of what is expected to be more such suits against Brighton Gardens.

“This is not just a failure of one employee, one nurse or anything like that. This goes all the way to the top,” said attorney Rachel Stahle.

Stahle likened the situation at Brighton Gardens to that at Riverbend Post Acute Rehabilitation, a Kansas City, Kansas, facility that is the site of 132 cases and 36 deaths. Stahle filed a fourth lawsuit against Riverbend on Monday.

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Law office of Rachel Stahle
Gordon Grohman was 88 when he died of COVID-19 on May 1 at Brighton Gardens in Prairie Village.

Stahle said Brighton Gardens failed to ensure Grohman’s safety at a time when his family wasn’t allowed to see him. The lawsuit cites Brighton Gardens for failing to train or monitor infection controls and other sanitary procedures.

Brighton Gardens also failed to separate residents with COVID-19 symptoms from those who did not have the virus, the lawsuit alleges. It claims that by April 24, seven staff members and 13 residents had tested positive.

As of Monday, there were 76 positive cases and 14 deaths at Brighton Gardens.

Stahle blamed Brighton Garden’s parent company for the problems.

Brighton Gardens is owned by Sunrise Senior Living Management, Inc., a McLean, Virginia, company which operates 325 facilities throughout the U.S.

A call to Brighton Gardens seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Also Monday, the family of Brenda Eaton filed suit against Riverbend. Eaton was 71 years old when she died on April 28 at Riverbend.

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Law office of Rachel Stahle
Brenda Eaton was 71 when she died of COVID-19 on April 28 at the Riverbend Post Acute Rehabilitation.

Stahle expects to file a fifth lawsuit against Riverbend this week and possibly more at Brighton Gardens, she said.

Riverbend’s parent company is Big Blue Healthcare, Inc., which is owned by The Ensign Group, Inc., a Southern California company that owns more than 250 assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitative care facilities in the U.S.

An email sent to Riverbend’s executive director, Cory Schulte, was not immediately returned.

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