Lawsuit filed in Albert Lea nursing home abuse caseby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The families of four residents who were allegedly abused by nursing assistants at an Albert Lea nursing home have filed a lawsuit.
The lawsuit accuses the Good Samaritan Society of Albert Lea of a "systemic failure to exercise proper supervision and control over the conduct of its teenage employees" that resulted in a pattern of abuse.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Freeborn County District Court, names the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, the Albert Lea facility's parent organization.
Mark Dickerson, a spokesman for the Sioux Falls-based organization, said a Minnesota Department of Health investigation on the abuse found the nursing home was not negligent.
"We stand by that. The state did not find that we were responsible," Dickerson said, adding that the nursing home reported the alleged abuse as soon as it knew about it.
The lawsuit also names four former nursing assistants, two of which already face criminal trials for the alleged abuse. Brianna Broitzman and Ashton Larson have both pleaded not guilty to abuse charges. Their trials are expected to take place this spring.
According to authorities with the Minnesota Department of Health, the abuse happened from January through May of 2008. Broitzman and Larson are accused by authorities of groping, spanking and spitting on patients at the nursing home. Four other nursing aides were charged in the case as juveniles.
The lawsuit alleges that two other female nursing assistants were also involved in the abuse.
The plaintiffs are each seeking at least $50,000 in the lawsuit.