Sanford I. Horowitz has had an enviable track record of successful outcomes over his twenty-five plus years of practice in the fields of elder abuse and neglect, nursing home and long-term care facility abuse and neglect, and personal injury and wrongful death. Some notable cases are shown below.
Delaney v. Baker (1999) 20 Cal.4th 23
Landmark Case Regarding California’s Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA): Because the California Legislature recognized that elders are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect, the EADACPA law was enacted “to enable interested persons to take up the cause of abused elderly persons and dependent adults.” The law provides that, if it can be shown by clear and convincing evidence that an individual or entity is responsible for elder abuse and that they acted with recklessness, oppression, fraud or malice, the Plaintiff (or a surviving loved one in their place) can recover for pain and suffering damages even if the elder is deceased. EADACPA also provides that, if a Plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that elder abuse occurred, the Court shall award to the Plaintiff reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. This second provision proved an important step forward in the prosecution of elder abuse claims since such claims typically died with the decedent. Delaney v. Baker, which successfully went all the way to the California Supreme Court, was instrumental in moving EADACPA law forward.
Lead Trial Counsel and Co-Appellate Counsel in groundbreaking precedent setting elder abuse case decided by the California Supreme Court. Delaney v. Baker established that the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA), with its unique special remedies to punish “reckless neglect” of elders – even for deceased elders, applied to nursing homes as healthcare providers, thus allowing elders, dependent adults, and their families a legal avenue to enforce patient care over profits.
Rose Wallien was admitted to Meadowood Nursing Center, a Lake County nursing home, on April 20, 1993 for rehabilitation from a fractured right foot. In less than four months, she died from inexcusable neglect. Prior to entering the nursing home, Rose was not experiencing any significant health problems above and beyond those of an 88-year-old woman able to care for herself throughout the entire day in the home she shared with her loving daughter, Kay Delaney. Evidence developed during extensive litigation, and then presented at trial, proved that Defendants did not have adequate staff to care for the residents of their facility. As a direct result of understaffing, basic custodial care, such as answering call bells, turning Rose, providing bowel hygiene, monitoring her fluid and nutrition intake, and assessing her overall physical and mental status, was grossly deficient. Consequently, Rose developed multiple Stage IV pressure sores leading to sepsis (blood poisoning) and death. Sadly, all of this happened to Rose despite her daughter Kay’s pleas to the nursing home Administrator (and co-owner with his father who built the facility) and other staff to provide better care for her mother.
The case was filed and, after extensive contentious litigation, resulted in a successful trial verdict in 1995. Thereafter, with the help of many individuals, co-counsel, and organizations such as the Consumer Attorneys of California and AARP, Plaintiff was able to prevail over Defendants’ Appeal of the verdict at the First District level and finally at the California Supreme Court. Six years after her mother’s death, Kay Delaney, Rose Wallien, and the public at large were able to receive justice. Following the Delaney trial, two more successful cases were brought against the same nursing home by the Horowitz law office.
RECENT CASE RESULTS
In partnership with Jeremy Fietz of the Adams Fietz law firm, Mr. Horowitz was victorious in his litigation against nursing home giant Corporation Emeritus/Brookdale regarding their Fountaingrove Santa Rosa Skilled Nursing facilty/Memory Care Units. Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Fietz were able to secure a $1M settlement for the wrongful death and reckless care of Eleanor Buckingham who suffered severe neglect at Brookdale Fountaingrove in Santa Rosa. What was supposed to be a “short term” rehab residency turned into a nightmare because while Brookdale marketed themselves as a “high-end” facility, they allowed Eleanor to develop an unstageable pressure ulcer. Eleanor succumbed to her wound and died a premature death at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
On behalf of Eleanor’s concerned and caring family, Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Fietz, through the diligent examination of records, were able to find many atrocious oversights by the supposed “high-end” facility which the Defense could not ignore or justify. The Corporation hired new lawyers near Trial after the prior Southern California law firm defending defendants ran up obscene fees with obstructive tactics up against strong evidence. The new lawyers eventually agreed that $1M was the appropriate settlement for such appalling actions and accepted Plaintiffs’ CCP 998 for the entire Insurance Policy.
Motorcycle Wrongful Death Case
Mr. Horowitz along with esteemed Co-Counsel John Feder of San Francisco represented family members in a wrongful death case involving a 19-year-old who was hit and killed while lawfully operating his motorcycle in Sacramento. The U-Save Smoke Shop company van that collided with McDonald was negligently driven by a permitted driver, who after the collision, pulled over and criminally left the scene on foot (he had a prior record). The owner of the vehicle was shown not to be truthful regarding the facts.
The distraught family pursued justice through Mr. Horowitz and Feder and, through perseverance and the exploration of the backgrounds and business practices of defendants, achieved a settlement of $1,175,000.00 despite strongly asserted comparative fault by Plaintiff/decedent.
In 2017, Mr. Horowitz again joined forces with Jeremy Fietz and prevailed in a $2M settlement for the wrongful deaths of husband and wife Leon and Clareen Bates. Leon and Clareen were residents of a Vallejo residential care facility for the elderly (RCFE), which recklessly neglected both Leon and Clareen’s care, so causing their deaths within days of each other, and after just 2-3 months of residency. Leon died due to multiple infected pressure sores and Clareen from a sepsis-inducing, untreated UTI.
The loving children of Leon and Clareen were devastated by the untimely deaths of their parents and sought help and remedy through Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Fietz. Analysis of records and depositions of defendants’ staff discovered multiple, yet unfortunately common problems with the administration of the RCFE and focus was placed on the issues of inadequate staffing and training, as well as absentee ownership, all leading to the tragic, reckless neglect and deaths.
ELDER ABUSE & NEGLECT / WRONGFUL DEATH
Plaintiff was a long-time resident of a Santa Clara County nursing home. When the facility used a lift device (Vera Lift) with only one person to transfer Plaintiff, she suffered complications of bilateral femur fractures. Plaintiff’s counsel’s investigation, as well as a Department of Health Service investigation, evidenced that Plaintiff was a two-person assist. Even though she suffered a previous minor injury on the Vera Lift in 2011, the facility had failed to train staff on proper transfer techniques. Because of the extreme pain of her injuries, Plaintiff required large doses of pain medication/opiates, which along with her fractures contributed to respiratory failure and, ultimately, death. After her injury, more than 15 hours elapsed before she was transferred to the acute care hospital. Plaintiff’s counsel was able to evidence and convince the Defense of neglectful care, and the case settled with an excellent result thus precluding the need for extensive litigation.
ELDER ABUSE & NEGLECT / WRONGFUL DEATH
In 2010, Plaintiff, an 85-year-old gentleman, resided in a Sonoma County skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation relating to bilateral lower extremity paralysis. Even though Plaintiff was a high risk for skin breakdown, the facility failed to properly careplan and also neglected to follow Physician’s orders for weekly skin checks. Ultimately, Plaintiff developed acute renal failure, edema, and multiple pressure sores (bedsores) as well as numerous urinary tract infections due to the facility’s failure to provide proper Foley Catheter care. An operation to debride one of the right calf pressure sores was performed, but bacterial infection from the UTI was too advanced and death ensued. A lawsuit was brought by the decedent’s surviving daughter, and after filing the complaint and depositions, the case resolved at mediation for a just amount prior to trial.
ELDER ABUSE & NEGLECT / WRONGFUL DEATH
In 2009, Plaintiff entered a Sonoma County nursing home for rehabilitation following a joint replacement. He was indicated as needing extensive assistance with activities of daily living and at high risk for skin breakdown. Plaintiff’s children and grandchildren were horrified to see that he was not receiving adequate custodial hygiene care as they would find him covered in food and sitting in his own feces. The facility sent Plaintiff to dialysis in a non-hygienic state. Ultimately, he developed a pressure sore and skin infection on his foot to the extent that, when he was transferred to the hospital, his sock was completely bloody and stuck to his foot evidencing that his wound had not been checked for quite some time. As a result, the hospital nurse filed an Elder Abuse Report with the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Public Health issued a citation. Plaintiff also suffered from a Clostridium Difficile infection,which could have been avoided with proper hygiene and monitoring of his bowel condition. In order for Plaintiff to be hospitalized, his daughter had to demand that he be transferred. Plaintiff subsequently died in the hospital. The case was litigated with many depositions and settled for a substantial sum in direct negotiations with the parent corporation and their attorney.
DEPENDENT ADULT ABUSE & NEGLECT / WRONGFUL DEATH
Plaintiff was a 21-year-old disabled autistic resident of a residential care facility in Contra Costa County, California. She was left in a scalding hot bath tub and ultimately suffered fatal hot water burns. After extensive litigation, it was discovered that only one inexperienced caregiver was on duty at the time of the incident, even though the law required two caregivers to be present. Plaintiff was treated in the burn unit at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley but was not able to recover. Evidence showed that the owner of the RCFE, who had earlier been ordered by the State regulatory agency of Community Care Licensing to adjust the hot water temperature, was not experienced in operating a facility for the developmentally disabled. Plaintiff’s parents alleged that Defendants tried to cover up their failure to adjust the hot water. Plaintiffs also sued the Regional Center that placed their daughter in the dangerous home for failure to provide adequate oversight and staffing. This tragic case settled for a substantial sum in a settlement conference with the Trial Judge.
DEPENDENT ADULT ABUSE & NEGLECT
E, a 61-year-old dependent adult woman, was admitted to a Contra Costa nursing home in 2004 for numerous serious medical issues. In 2005, a new corporation took over operation of the nursing home. In 2006, the facility allowed E to become malnourished, and she subsequently developed a Stage IV left buttock decubitus ulcer. The facility also failed to monitor E’s history of seizure activity. Her loving sister, a dedicated advocate, brought the lawsuit on E’s behalf after E spent approximately a year in an acute hospital where maggot therapy, wound debridement and other wound care was used to manage her multiple medical problems, including seizures (from medication mismanagement). E was eventually transferred to another nursing home where she fared much better. After extensive litigation that led to depositions of key corporate management, it was shown that the corporation owned many nursing homes and was paying management fees for services that the administrators of each of their facilities were “forced” to utilize. The facility where this terrible care occurred was purchased as a “troubled” facility, and Defendants failed to take pro-active steps to improve the facility to protect residents. Plaintiffs’ counsel, through investigation, was able to piece together much of what happened by locating past employees, including a Director of Nurses who testified to conversations with corporate directors that more nursing staff was needed. Defendants and their experts vigorously and unsuccessfully asserted that the care was of a straight medical negligence type and not elder abuse. The case was settled for a substantial sum in Judge’s chambers just prior to trial.
PERSONAL INJURY / AUTO ACCIDENT
In July of 2008, Plaintiff was the driver in a severe motor vehicle accident and suffered a concussion, fracture of three ribs, a complex right hip fracture, and numerous extremity contusions as well as chest and abdomen contusions, two left leg lacerations, and hemorrhagic cysts to a kidney. Plaintiff’s hip surgery required a plate and four screws, and hospitalization was for a period of nine days. Sometime after the accident, it became clear that, as a result of hitting his head on the windshield, Plaintiff experienced a traumatic cataract and required surgery in his right eye. Follow-up care also included a right knee surgery. Plaintiff was a critical care nurse supervisor and suffered wage loss. The case settled for a significant policy demand, and Plaintiff’s counsel was able to negotiate a waiver of substantial medical liens covered by both his and the negligent driver’s insurance company.
PERSONAL INJURY / BURN CASE
Due to her landlord’s grossly negligent maintenance of electrical appliances, a fire broke out in a Berkeley apartment unit rented by Plaintiff, an elderly immigrant with numerous medical issues that had left her paralyzed and bedridden with her loving family caring for her at home. Due to these limitations, and despite her family’s heroic efforts to avoid injury, Plaintiff sustained second and third degree burns to the left upper extremity of her back and arm and needed to have an operation for excision and grafting, which then required extensive and painful healing in a hospital burn unit. Experts were hired to ascertain the cause of the fire, and a medical burn expert retained by Plaintiff provided Defendant’s insurance company and their independent insurance investigators with important information regarding Plaintiff’s pain and suffering. A complaint was filed, and the Court was petitioned for an advanced trial date based on age and need. Once all of these steps were taken, the insurance company admitted fault and paid the entire policy.
The Law Office of Sanford I. Horowitz has successfully litigated many types of elder abuse, nursing home, and personal injury cases. We have over 25 years of experience providing compassionate and zealous legal support. Clients pay no fees unless damages are recovered. Please call for a free and confidential consultation. 707-523-1961
We accept cases in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, Walnut Creek, Concord, San Rafael, Redwood City, San Jose, Napa, Vallejo, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Windsor, Ukiah, Fairfield, Sacramento, and throughout San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Solano, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Sacramento, Mendocino, Lake, and other northern California counties.