Nursing home magnate loses bid to transfer case from Humboldt County

A Humboldt County judge denied Brius CEO Shlomo Rechnitz’s bid to transfer jurisdiction of a wrongful death lawsuit to Los Angeles, rejecting a Rechnitz’s claim that he couldn’t get a fair trial in Humboldt.

Judge Timothy Cessna ruled that Brius failed to show that a Humboldt jury would show bias towards the company that controls every skilled nursing facility in the county, the Eureka Times-Standard reported.

Rechnitz, a Los Angeles billionaire, had argued that “negative” reports of the company’s failed attempt last year to close three of its five nursing homes in the county and potentially force residents to transfer far from their families, would prevent him from getting a fair trial.

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 Sorensen case is just the start of Rechnitz’s legal troubles in Humboldt. He is facing several lawsuits including one filed on behalf of a man whose sister alleges he was discharged from a Eureka nursing home and dumped at a hotel where he died four days later and another filed on behalf of a man who also died after developing pressure sores that became infected.