Lawsuit: Chicago-based nursing home group purposely understaffs facilities

Scathing accusations have been leveled against several Chicago area nursing homes, saying that residents suffer from neglect and dangerous living conditions.

A new class action lawsuit targets one of the largest health care providers for older adults in Illinois. The Alden Network stands accused of putting profit before the people they've promised to care for.

"They have a $200-million-dollar revenue stream, and they can do better. They've chosen not to," said Kelly Bagby, Vice President of AARP Foundation Litigation.

A team of Chicago law firms plus the AARP Foundation came together Wednesday to announce a class action lawsuit against the Alden group, accusing the company of systematically understaffing facilities and hiding it from state regulators.


"Across these facilities, Alden is falling short by 10, 20, 50 percent of the staffing they need. There are tens and hundreds of thousands of hours of care these residents need that Alden is not giving to them," said Charlie Wysong, Partner, Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym.

This suit is from residents at 6 Alden facilities in the city and suburbs. Attorneys say chronic understaffing has led to filthy living conditions and residents getting hurt.

"All kinds of preventable injuries occur; horrific bed sores, devastating and often fatal falls, broken bone, smashed skulls," said Steven Levin, Founder and Sr. Partner, Levin & Perconti.

"Four of our 11 named plaintiffs are under the age of 65. We brought this case to end Alden's systemic neglect of all its residents. Whether they're older adults or younger people with disabilities," said Barry C. Taylor, Vice President for Civil Rights and Systemic Litigation, Equip for Equality

In response, an Alden spokesperson sent the following statement to FOX 32 Chicago:

"Alden has always maintained a policy of not discussing the specifics of any pending litigation, so as to preserve the integrity of the litigation process.  Alden vigorously denies any and all allegations of wrongdoing set forth by the plaintiffs and their attorneys and is confident the judicial process will vindicate Alden in this action. Alden is committed to providing quality care and the well-being of our residents has been and always will be our top priority."

Attorneys filing this suit say the goal is to get a court order to stop "abusive practices." They also hope to send a message to other nursing homes that this won't be tolerated.