Beechwood Restorative Care Center Litigation: Settlement for $25 Million from New York State for Unconstitutional Retaliation by Department of Health Officials
Aug 23, 2012
Our law firm is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the long-running civil rights litigation on behalf of plaintiffs Beechwood Restorative Care Center and the Chambery family against current and former New York State Department of Health defendants. The State agreed to pay $25 million as compensation for the damages caused to Beechwood and the Chamberys.
Following a seven week trial, a federal jury determined in June 2012 that five present and former DOH employees had violated plaintiffs’ constitutional rights when they retaliated against Brook Chambery for his advocacy of health care reform with respect to skilled nursing facility regulation. By agreeing to pay $25 million, the State effectively acknowledged the wrongdoing of its employees. Trial counsel for the plaintiffs was Kevin S. Cooman, along with co-counsel David Rothenberg.
By 1999, the Chamberys had established Beechwood as one of New York’s pre-eminent skilled nursing homes with respect to quality of care for both long term residents, and short term rehabilitation patients. Beechwood was also the industry leader in the implementation of electronic medical records, utilizing the software programs developed by Brook and Dale Chambery.
Brook Chambery’s persistent advocacy for changes in the DOH’s antiquated regulations and regulatory process met fierce resistance from DOH leadership in Albany and Rochester. Sanford Rubin, the former DOH regional administrator in Rochester, and Laura Leeds, formerly Deputy Director of the Office of Continuing Care for the State, led a pre-planned campaign to close the facility, and oust Brook Chambery from the health care field. Abusing their own inspection system and in-house adjudicatory process, the DOH officials succeeded in closing the nursing home, revoked the Chamberys’ license to operate, and refused to allow the sale of the business to another qualified operator.
Plaintiffs’ federal civil rights claim was commenced in 2002, beginning a tortuous ten year path to the federal court trial which began in May 2012, and resulted in the liability verdict against Rubin and Leeds, as well as defendants Sharon Carlo, Cynthia Francis and Susan Baker. Despite the verdict, Francis and Baker continue to hold management level positions with the DOH in Rochester and Buffalo.
Public media news stories concerning the settlement may be found at:
Beechwood owners awarded $25M in settlement:
Beechwood Nursing Home Settlement Reached:
Former Nursing Home Owners Awarded $25 Million In Settlement::
Former nursing home owners accept $25 million settlement from state:
McConville, Considine, Cooman & Morin PC is a full service law firm based in Rochester, New York, that has been providing high quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979. With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is large enough to provide the necessary expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to allow us to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients. Our clients are diverse. They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments and health care professionals and provider groups, facilities and associations. Although many of our clients are located throughout Upstate New York, we also represent clients in Downstate New York and New England. We also serve as local counsel to a number of out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts. For more information on the services provided by our firm, please contact one of our attorneys.