The lawsuit claims that Louisiana real estate developer Bob Dean improperly and negligently evacuated residents to a poorly-equipped warehouse during Hurricane Ida.
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Louisiana real estate developer Bob Dean, the owner of seven nursing homes that struggled to safely relocate residents ahead of Hurricane Ida.
In total, some 850 nursing home residents were evacuated from assisted living facilities to Dean’s warehouse in Independence, Louisiana.
According to FOX 8, seven of Dean’s residents died during the evacuation. Others “endured horrific and inhumane conditions.”
“Evacuating the residents to the [warehouse] was not done pursuant to any established hurricane prevention plan put into place at any of the Bob Dean Jr. Nursing Homes and in fact conflicted with the written policies and procedures that were in place, as well as with relevant Louisiana laws,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit, adds FOX 8, was filed by four nursing home residents and their families. Their complaint includes testimony and pictures of the conditions inside Dean’s Independence warehouse.
“It was horrific; that’s the only term I can use,” attorney Rob Couhig told FOX 8. “If it had been my father or my mother, I don’t know if I would be as civil as I am today.”
In the lawsuit, Couhig asserts that Dean and the nursing homes “intentionally misrepresented the actual evacuation plan, choosing not to inform family members […] of where the residents were being taken.”
The complaint suggests that, because of active coronavirus protocols, the Independence-area warehouse was only designed to hold between 200 and 400 people at one time. Photographs taken inside the facility show mattresses placed side-by-side, directly on the floor, and with little space between them.
The entire facility only had “four sinks,” a handful of showers, and some portable toilets to share between hundreds of evacuated residents.
Due to the limited space, the lawsuit says that some residents were “forced to sleep in wheelchairs […] others on concrete floors.”
Since the warehouse was not properly hurricane-proofed, the ceilings began to leak—causing some residents’ mattresses to begin floating atop the water.
Later, the “generators failed and the air conditioning system quit running […] making conditions even more unbearable.”
“It was a nightmare and what we have to do is we have to work with the court to make sure that the nightmare ends and we can put these people back in a place that they should be,” Couhig said. “Nobody should have the last years of their lives thumped about like they’ve had, and they should be protected.”
ABC 3 notes that the state Attorney General’s Office is also spearheading an investigation into Dean’s allegedly negligence.