Nurses file class action lawsuit against nursing home owner, Bob Dean

A door is propped open to a warehouse in Independence, Louisiana, used as an evacuation shelter...
A door is propped open to a warehouse in Independence, Louisiana, used as an evacuation shelter for residents from seven different nursing homes.(WVUE-TV)
Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 10:44 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Some residents of 7 nursing homes have painted the squalid, horrible, inhumane conditions when they were evacuated to a warehouse for Hurricane Ida.

“We had a pillow but none of this was clean, you had to lay on a mattress on the floor and listen to all this, you were in survival mode,” said Melanie Sieberth.

But the nurses and caretakers were right alongside them.

“They were understaffed, and my clients worked around the clock to do everything they could to try and take care of these residents, and they did so without being fed and without having all of the proper tools they needed to do their job,” said Jonathan Pedersen.

Logging round-the-clock hours, attorney Jonathan Pedersen says they were only paid for a fraction of that.

“Some staff members were required to evacuate because they were upper-level management some were not, they were all guaranteed a hurricane pay rate. One of the timesheets shows it was 90 hours and one week and then at the end of the day one of my clients received a paycheck for less than half of what she was due,” said Pedersen.

According to the lawsuit, employees were notified of the hurricane pay rate, an emergency, sliding scale pay rate based on an employee’s title and qualifications. Pedersen estimates owner, Bob Dean owes thousands of dollars to these caretakers.

“Bob Dean has been remarkably silent and should not be allowed to stay silent and it’s time for him to face the music. He has responsibilities to residence and to his staff and yet he has refused to speak up and try to account for his actions,” said Pedersen.

He says these nurses are traumatized themselves.

“The conditions were so bad that one of my clients came home to 100% devastation at her house and she said that was better than being inside of the warehouse,” said Pedersen.

As these nurses were the first ones to sound the alarm on the deplorable conditions, he says they’re at the very least owed their full pay check.

“This entire situation is tragic and preventable and should never have happened. My clients stayed, they tried to do everything they could and they are some of the heroes of the story because they didn’t have to do this but they stayed anyway,” said Pedersen.

In a statement, attorney for Bob Dean, John Andrishok says: “On behalf of the Defendants, we have conducted a cursory review of the Petition and to the extent that it is alleged that Defendants failed to timely pay wages due hourly employees, such allegations are categorically denied. We believe the claims are meritless and we intend to vigorously defend this matter. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me directly.”

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