Shlomo Rechnitz

Brius CEO Shlomo Rechnitz loses appeal to move lawsuit outside Humboldt County

A state appeals court has upheld a ruling denying Brius CEO Shlomo Rechnitz’s bid to transfer jurisdiction of a wrongful death lawsuit to Los Angeles.

The appellate ruling issued last week rejected Rechnitz’s assertion that holding the trial in Humboldt County where the death occurred would too inconvenient for himself and his wife who live in Los Angeles, according to the North Coast Journal.

The paper did not disclose if Rechnitz’s appeal mentioned that he owns a luxury yet, as documented earlier this year by Brius Watch. Nor did the story state whether Rechnitz, a self-described billionaire,  took into account that the plaintiffs would have struggled to be present for the legal proceedings if they were held in Los Angeles.

Previously, Rechnitz, who has monopoly control of Humboldt County nursing homes, had argued that he couldn’t get a fair trial in the county because of negative press attention stemming from his attempt last year to close three of the homes. The closures were expected to have forced nearly 200 residents to be transferred from homes far from their families.

Local officials had accused him of using the planned closures as bargaining chips to force authorities to boost his Med-Cal reimbursements. Rechnitz’s lawyers even noted that the North Coast Journal had ranked his closure ploy as Humboldt County’s top “Dick Move” of 2016.

The case was filed by relatives of Ralph Sorensen who was admitted to Eureka’s Seaview Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, where he developed a pressure sore that became infected and ultimately led to his death last year.

The plaintiff’s are represented by the Tim Needham, who told the Journal that he was “pleased that we will have the opportunity to have this matter heard before a Humboldt County jury.” Rechnitz’s attorney did not return calls, according to the paper.

Needham’s has filed three wrongful death suits against Brius and Rechnitz in the past year. Last month, they settled a lawsuit filed by the sister of a man who allegedly was discharged from the Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center and dumped at a hotel where he died four days later. He is still representing another former resident of that home, who, like Sorenson, allegedly died after developing pressure sores that became infected.