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Elder Care Operator and Plaintiff Attorney Announce Unprecedented Settlement Agreement in Class Action Lawsuit
Date:1/25/2008

California Suit Settled; Oregon Suit To Settle

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An unprecedented move by residential elder care operator Sunwest Management was made recently when it came to the table to settle two class action lawsuits, one in California (Case #07CC00005), which was filed Dec. 21, 2007 in Orange County Superior Court, and one in Oregon (Case #0703-03248), which has received preliminary approval by the Multnomah County Circuit Court and should receive final approval in February 2008.

"I have handled hundreds of elder abuse cases, and never before have I seen a company like Sunwest take a good hard look at itself and willingly come to the table prepared to take responsibility for its actions and to make changes to ensure its residents are given the best possible care it can give them," says Long Beach, Calif., plaintiff attorney Stephen M. Garcia of The Garcia Law Firm. "Most of these companies run and hide so they can continue to profit unlawfully from the pain and suffering of our vulnerable elders. I believe Sunwest is starting a new chapter today."

In a rare break from tradition among elder care facilities, Sunwest Management is not requiring that the settlements be kept confidential. Though the company is not admitting to the specific allegations by settling the cases, the litigation resulted in revealing areas needed to be improved.

The California action settled for $4.5 million, and the Oregon suit settled for $1 million. Sunwest is compensating the plaintiffs in each case with per diem compensation for days spent in a Sunwest "community" during the specified time period. In California, this time frame is Jan. 15, 2003 through Jan. 15, 2007. In Oregon, the range is March 22, 2006 through March 22, 2007.

In the settlements, Sunwest also states that any money not claimed will be used for its facilities and for services for its residents. The company is agreeing to the appointment
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SOURCE The Garcia Law Firm
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