Murphy, Pearson, Bradley & Feeney Successfully Defends Administrator of Residential Care Facility for the Elderly and Co-Defendants Against State Criminal Elder Abuse Charges

Legal Newswire

Nov 27, 2023

LOS ANGELES (NOVEMBER 27, 2023) — A Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge dismissed all charges against Silverado Senior Living Management Inc., two other corporate entities, and three company officials in connection with the COVID-related deaths of 14 people beginning in March 2020.

Silverado Senior Living Management, Inc., Silverado Senior Living Holdings, Inc., along with CEO Loren Shook, Vice President Kimberly Butrum, and former Silverado Beverly Place Administrator Jason Russo, and Subtenant 330 North Hayworth Avenue, LLC, were charged in February 2023 with 13 felony counts of elder abuse and 5 counts of felony labor code violations causing death, based on the alleged wrongful admission of a COVID-positive resident.

The Silverado Beverly Place Memory Care Community (“Community”) is a residential care facility for the elderly (“RCFE”) specializing in the provision of memory care services to residents suffering from dementia. In March 2020 at the inception of the COVID pandemic, a new resident was admitted to the Community from a medical facility in New York State. The day after admission, the new resident began displaying potential COVID symptomology and was moved from the Community. He later tested positive for COVID-19.

Consistent with his legal obligations as the facility administrator, Mr. Russo immediately notified Silverado Beverly’s primary regulator, the Department of Social Services (“DSS”), of the positive test. DSS conducted a thorough investigation as to whether admission, screening, or isolation protocols had been violated. As part of the investigation, DSS staff repeatedly interviewed Mr. Russo; as required by law and regulation, Mr. Russo spoke candidly about the outbreak and Silverado’s response. DSS concluded its investigation finding no fault with Silverado or its staff.

Separate from DSS, Cal OSHA conducted its own investigation which was the basis of the criminal charges. As part of its investigation, Cal OSHA reviewed and relied upon Mr. Russo’s statements to DSS.

During a pre-trial evidentiary hearing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kerry White ruled both that Mr. Russo’s statements to DSS were compelled, and that their consequent use against him in a criminal prosecution violated his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court further ruled that this prohibition extended to both evidentiary or non-evidentiary uses of the statements.

Having found that Cal OSHA relied on Mr. Russo’s statements in its investigation, the Court dismissed all charges against all defendants.

Philip Kearney and Christopher Ulrich of Murphy, Pearson, Bradley & Feeney defended Mr. Russo; it was their motion to exclude and dismiss (joined by all co-defendants) that was granted by the Court. “We are pleased that the Court made the courageous and just decision,” Ulrich said. “The impact on the elder care industry of a contrary ruling would have been significant.”

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Murphy, Pearson, Bradley & Feeney Successfully Defends Administrator of Residential Care Facility for the Elderly and Co-Defendants Against State Criminal Elder Abuse Charges

iCrowdNewswire

Nov 27, 2023

LOS ANGELES (NOVEMBER 27, 2023) — A Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge dismissed all charges against Silverado Senior Living Management Inc., two other corporate entities, and three company officials in connection with the COVID-related deaths of 14 people beginning in March 2020.

Silverado Senior Living Management, Inc., Silverado Senior Living Holdings, Inc., along with CEO Loren Shook, Vice President Kimberly Butrum, and former Silverado Beverly Place Administrator Jason Russo, and Subtenant 330 North Hayworth Avenue, LLC, were charged in February 2023 with 13 felony counts of elder abuse and 5 counts of felony labor code violations causing death, based on the alleged wrongful admission of a COVID-positive resident.

The Silverado Beverly Place Memory Care Community (“Community”) is a residential care facility for the elderly (“RCFE”) specializing in the provision of memory care services to residents suffering from dementia. In March 2020 at the inception of the COVID pandemic, a new resident was admitted to the Community from a medical facility in New York State. The day after admission, the new resident began displaying potential COVID symptomology and was moved from the Community. He later tested positive for COVID-19.

Consistent with his legal obligations as the facility administrator, Mr. Russo immediately notified Silverado Beverly’s primary regulator, the Department of Social Services (“DSS”), of the positive test. DSS conducted a thorough investigation as to whether admission, screening, or isolation protocols had been violated. As part of the investigation, DSS staff repeatedly interviewed Mr. Russo; as required by law and regulation, Mr. Russo spoke candidly about the outbreak and Silverado’s response. DSS concluded its investigation finding no fault with Silverado or its staff.

Separate from DSS, Cal OSHA conducted its own investigation which was the basis of the criminal charges. As part of its investigation, Cal OSHA reviewed and relied upon Mr. Russo’s statements to DSS.

During a pre-trial evidentiary hearing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kerry White ruled both that Mr. Russo’s statements to DSS were compelled, and that their consequent use against him in a criminal prosecution violated his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court further ruled that this prohibition extended to both evidentiary or non-evidentiary uses of the statements.

Having found that Cal OSHA relied on Mr. Russo’s statements in its investigation, the Court dismissed all charges against all defendants.

Philip Kearney and Christopher Ulrich of Murphy, Pearson, Bradley & Feeney defended Mr. Russo; it was their motion to exclude and dismiss (joined by all co-defendants) that was granted by the Court. “We are pleased that the Court made the courageous and just decision,” Ulrich said. “The impact on the elder care industry of a contrary ruling would have been significant.”

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