Brius settles one of three Humboldt County wrongful death lawsuits

Brius wasted little time settling the most sensational of three wrongful death lawsuits filed recently against its CEO Shlomo Rechnitz and two of its nursing homes in Humboldt County.

Terms of the settlement with the family of Alan Dewey are confidential, the Eureka Times-Standard and North Coast Journal reported last week.

Dewey’s sister, Sherry Ann McKenna, filed the lawsuit in March alleging that the Brius-operated Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center discharged her 65-year-old brother and checked him into a local hotel where he died four days later.

McKenna claimed that Dewey had numerous health ailments including bi-polar disorder and blindness, but was nonetheless dropped off at the hotel without his full medications and little more for nourishment than Velveeta macaroni and cheese and a half gallon of milk.

At the time that Dewey was allegedly dumped at the hotel, Rechnitz had announced his intention to close the 99-bed Eureka nursing home and two others in Humboldt County in a move local officials said was a naked ploy to pressure them into once again boosting his reimbursement rates.

McKenna was represented by the Humboldt-based law firm Janssen Malloy, LLC. The firm still has two ongoing cases against Brius representing the families of Ralph Sorensen and Randy Kruger. They both died after developing Stage IV pressure ulcers that became infected, according to lawsuits that also name Rechnitz among the defendants.

Dewey’s death was written about in Humboldt newspapers and was discussed during a June 28th  California’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee hearing in Sacramento. After listening to members of the pubic, legislators voted 12-0 to launch an audit of Brius’ financial transactions with other companies controlled by Rechnitz and or his family members.

State Sen. Mike McGuire, who requested the audit along with Assemblymember Jim Wood, had this to say about about Dewey’s ordeal:

“In October of last year, a 65-year-old blind patient was discharged to the Clarion Hotel in Eureka after living in a Brius facility for 2 ½ years. He could not see well enough to attend breakfast, take his medication or use his key card to even enter the new hotel room that he was surprised to learn was his new home. Without notifying his family or providing a right to appeal, he was literally abandoned with a half gallon of milk, boxes of macaroni and cheese, instant noodles, and a respiratory machine without an oxygen tank. Four days later, he was found dead…”


An audio recording of the state legislative hearing is available here.