How the Elderly Lose Their Rights

Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens without their consent—and reap a profit from it.

The New Yorker | October 9, 2017 Issue

For years, Rudy North woke up at 9 a.m. and read the Las Vegas Review-Journal while eating a piece of toast. Then he read a novel—he liked James Patterson and Clive Cussler—or, if he was feeling more ambitious, Freud. On scraps of paper and legal notepads, he jotted down thoughts sparked by his reading. “Deep below the rational part of our brain is an underground ocean where strange things swim,” he wrote on one notepad. On another, “Life: the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.”

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Finding the Right Nursing Home for Loved Ones and Clients

theGavel-coverIn 2009, men and women over the age of 65 accounted for 12% of the U.S. population. That translates into one out of every eight US citizens. Aging Statistics, Department of Health & Human Services, (May 23, 2014). In the next twenty years, The Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging projects that number to double. (Id.)  With this boom in age longevity, more and more Americans will find themselves in need of nursing home services. As sons or daughters, we would like to think that we can prevent our parents from experiencing any physical or mental harm at the hands of others. As lawyers, we would like to think that we will protect our senior population from the tragedy of elderly abuse.  But imagine this – your very healthy and vibrant mother or father trips over a rug fracturing their hip ultimately landing him or her in the hospital. That is when you receive a call. A call from the hospital discharge planner stating you need to find a facility for your parent. You may think you have days, but in most circumstances you would be wrong. Instead you will be given just a few short hours to find a nursing facility in which to place your beloved family member for the duration of their recovery. What you do in those next few hours is imperative to ensuring your mom or dad receives the quality of care they need to properly recover. As the population ages, the ability to find a proper nursing home becomes increasingly important to us on both a personal level for our loved ones, and a professional level for our clients.  Continue reading

Nursing-home firm to pay $48 million to settle Medicare fraud case


A Mission Viejo-based nursing-home operator, Ensign Group Inc., has agreed to pay $48 million to settle allegations regarding inflated bills to Medicare for therapy sessions that were either unnecessary or never took place. Ensign incentivized therapists to increase the amount of therapy provided to their patients in an effort to meet planned targets for Medicare revenue,regardless of whether the patients needed the treatment. The federal settlement agreement was unsealed late Monday by a federal judge in Los Angeles.

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Operation Helping Hands

On Saturday, June 22, 2013, VLG once again teamed up with Operation Helping Hands to assemble approximately 600 backpacks filled with t-shirts, socks, water and personal hygiene items. On Sunday, June 23, 2013, the backpacks were distributed primarily by teenage volunteers to homeless individuals in Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Anaheim, Fullerton, Long Beach, Wilmington, San Pedro, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Operation Helping Hands is a non-profit organization founded by Kim Valentine of Valentine Law Group. The organization is dedicated to empowering youth to give back by providing hygiene items and basic necessities to the homeless. The next make a bag event will be held during the holiday season. For more information contact Kim Valentine at [email protected]

Special thanks to Aitken Aitken & Cohn for the contributions and volunteers who helped.


Children awarded $1 Million for Wrongful Death of their Father

Surviving children of Mr. Milton Butterfield have been awarded $1,000,016,000 in a lawsuit against Community Hospital of Long Beach.

Milton Butterfield fell while living independently at home.  After a few days, Mr. Butterfield’s family requested an ambulance take him to the emergency room at Community Hospital of Long Beach (CHLB) due to generalized weakness, back pain and dehydration.  Mr. Butterfield was able to walk to the gurney when the ambulance arrived. He was evaluated in the ER by Dr. Christopher Lai.  After six hours in the ER, over the objection of Mr. Butterfield’s family, Dr. Lai discharged the patient. However, Mr. Butterfields medical condition had deteriorated to the degree that he could no longer walk and in fact had to be drug from the gurney to the wheelchair for discharge. The LBCH nurse conducting the discharge was not the patients nurse and thus did no physical assessment of the patient. Mr. Butterfield was wheeled out to the parking lot where he went into cardiac arrest. According to hospital records there was a five minute delay between the time of the cardiac arrest and the time CPR began due to the need to bring Mr. Butterfield  back into the hospital and get him on a gurney. During that five minute period Mr. Butterfield sustained irreversible brain damage which rendered him a complete invalid. He never regained any meaningful quality of life and died six months later from complications of being permanently bed bound.

Statistically, one out of three adults age 65 and older falls each year. Among older adults (those 65 or older), falls are the leading cause of injury death (1). They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma (2).

How can older adults prevent falls?

Older adults can remain independent and reduce their chances of falling.  They can:

·         Exercise regularly. It is important that the exercises focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance, and that they get more challenging over time. Tai Chi programs are especially good.

·         Ask their doctor or pharmacist to review their medicines—both prescription and over-the counter—to identify medicines that may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness.

·         Have their eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and update their eyeglasses to maximize their vision.  Consider getting a pair with single vision distance lenses for some activities such as walking outside.

·         Make their homes safer by reducing tripping hazards, adding grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet, adding stair railings and improving the lighting in their homes.

To lower their hip fracture risk, older adults can:

·         Get adequate calcium and vitamin D—from food and/or from supplements.

·         Do weight bearing exercise.

·         Get screened and treated for osteoporosis.

(1) Hausdorff JM, Rios DA, Edelber HK. Gait variability and fall risk in community–living older adults: a 1–year prospective study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2001;82(8):1050 (2) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.Web–based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online].   Accessed November 30, 2010.

AAC supports Operation Helping Hand, organized by Kim Valentine of Valentine Law Group

– Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something –

Thank you to AITKEN * AITKEN * COHN for their support with Operation Helping Hand – coordinated and organized by Kim Valentine of the Valentine Law Group. Saturday June 30th and Sunday July 1st, volunteers assembled and delivered approximately 250 backpacks full of personal hygiene items and undergarments to many of the homeless population in the Los Angeles and San Diego Counties. Anyone interested in donating to or becoming involved in upcoming projects for Operation Helping Hand, please contact AITKEN * AITKEN * COHN or Kim Valentine for further information.