Elder Facility Accused Of Abuse

OAKLAND -- Children of former residents at the Lakeside Park elder care facility near Lake Merritt have gone to court charging the facility's management with neglect, abuse and fraud against their family members with Alzheimer's or dementia.

The allegations range from a lack of basic residential care -- such as administering medications and personal hygiene assistance -- to retaliation against residents and family members when they complained, according to the lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Jan. 17. The lawsuit is seeking millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys fees. "Lakeside Park holds itself out as being a cut above the ordinary rest home," said Oakland attorney Felicia Curran, representing three families in the case.

"It's outrageous they would retaliate against innocent victims," such as evicting residents or forcing family members to hire additional private care, she said.

"We are confident that when the facts are presented, the claim will be dismissed," said John Rimbach, vice president of the Oakland- based A.F. Evans Co., which owns the facility. He declined to discuss any details about the case, citing patient confidentiality.

A.F. Evans Co. owns two other elder care facilities in the Bay Area: Byron Park in Walnut Creek and Coventry Park in San Francisco.

Reuben Jacobson, attorney for Lakeside Park, also declined to comment.

The plaintiffs include the families of George Sagonowsky, who died at age 92 in October 2006; Raffaella Mancuso, 95; and Marie Munzell, 92. The residents stayed at the facility for seven months to four years.