Minnesota Nursing Home Abuse Leads to Multiple Negligence Lawsuits

The families of several elderly residents have filed negligence lawsuits against a Minnesota nursing home, where young employees have been charged with abusing and humiliating residents.

The seventh such lawsuit was filed this week by the family of Kenneth Hojberg, now deceased, in the U.S. District Court in South Dakota. The complaint was brought against Evangelical Good Samaritan Society of South Dakota, which operates the nursing home in Albert Lea, Minnesota.

Six teenagers who worked at the facility have been charged with abusing residents between January through May of 2008. Police say that employees groped, spanked and spit on residents.

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Two of those charged, Ashton Larson and Briana Broitzman, who are both now 20, were charged as adults this year. Larson and Broitzman entered Alford pleas, meaning they acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict them without entering a guilty plea. Broitzman was sentenced to 180 days of jail time last month and Larson will be sentenced in December. The identity and the details of the charges against the four teens who are still juveniles have been kept private.

All of the lawsuits brought by relatives of the victims claimed that the Evangelical Good Samaritan Society failed to properly monitor its employees and residents. The complaints allege the Good Samaritan was negligent and should be held responsible for the nursing home abuse committed by their employees.

Good Samaritan Society officials have pointed out that they were the ones who reported the abuse as soon as it was discovered and have also noted that Minnesota state health officials have absolved the organization of responsibility in the abuses following an investigation.

Through a nursing home negligence lawsuit, facilities can be held liable for acts of abuse and neglect by their staff. Nursing home operators have a duty to properly supervise and train their staff, and in many cases problems with abuse may be tied to inadequate staffing levels or failure to perform complete nursing home employee background checks.


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