JC Judge refuses to dissolve TROs against nursing homes that allegedly failed to evacuate elderly during Harvey

A district judge in Jefferson County has refused to dissolve temporary restraining orders obtained against two nursing homes, which allegedly failed to evacuate their elderly residents as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey flooded Southeast Texas.

Through The Ferguson Law Firm, the TROs were filed against Senior Care Centers in Jefferson County District Court.

The hearing to dissolve was held on Sept. 19. The following day, after counsel had a chance to inspect the scene, Judge Baylor Wortham, 136th District Court, made his decision to let the TROs stand.

“Judge Wortham’s decision today was a ruling that provides light, not darkness,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Chip Ferguson, founder of the Ferguson Firm in Beaumont.

“It embraced transparency, something these nursing homes and their lawyers oppose. We are most pleased that the nursing homes’ efforts to deny us the opportunity to inspect and evaluate the facility were rejected. This is an important step in our efforts to provide answers for our clients.”

The first TRO was filed on behalf of Rosaria Leboeuf and Harding Guilbeaux on Sept. 8 and also names Jeff Rosetta, administrator of the Lake Arthur Place nursing home, as a respondent.

The second was filed Sept. 14 on behalf of Luz Ramos and Loretta Legg and also names Stephanie Hammond, administrator of the Cypress Glen nursing home, as a respondent.

According to the petitioners, on Aug. 30, five days after Harvey made landfall, Senior Care Centers allegedly failed to “timely evacuate” the “medically fragile residents,” resulting in the tenants having to be evacuated by volunteers in boats as the flood waters rose.

“Senior Care never evacuated the residents of these two facilities – they were rescued by Good Samaritans who risked their own well-beings for these most fragile human beings,” Ferguson said.

“Senior Care never saw them human beings – they only saw them as nothing more than account numbers.”

The property subject to the TROs includes: computer systems, medical records, photographs of the rescue, witness statements, email messages, browser history and phone records.

“Once we have the opportunity to complete our inspections of the facilities, we will be able to move forward and continue our aggressive search for the truth,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson Law attorney Jane Leger also represents the petitioners, as well as Jill Pierce of Bradley & Steele in Port Arthur.

“Jane Leger, Jill Pierce and I are committed to giving the residents and their families justice,” Ferguson said. “We are committed to restoring their dignity and reminding the corporate owners of these facilities that they are real people, that they count and that they matter.”

Cause Nos. D-200604 and D-200636