When Hurricane Ida hit earlier this year, warehouses were set up as makeshift shelters for residents. Unfortunately, the living conditions in some of those warehouses were poor and prompted a handful of lawsuits. Earlier this week, the family of one of the 843 residents that sought shelter in one of the warehouses owned by Bob Dean filed a wrongful death lawsuit over claims that Ella Gould’s death “was a direct result of poor care she received” while staying at the warehouse.
Dean is a real estate developer who “owned the warehouse and the seven nursing homes where hundreds of residents were evacuated from.” Gould was one of the “first to be publicly identified as one of the victims who died as a result of the conditions in the warehouse, which surviving residents say were inhumane.” The suit argues that, though Dean’s nursing homes submitted evacuation plans each year, “the plans failed to comply with even the most rudimentary of sanitary and medical care or forethought.”
In the complaint, Gould’s children argued that “an average person could tell the plans were inadequate for more than 840 people, and that the trained medical professionals involved in designing them should have known they were deficient.”
“Specifically, the LDH knew or should have known that defendant Bob Dean Jr. intended to move the nursing home residents to woefully inadequate facilities …. in the event of a hurricane.”
When asked about the matter, LDH said “inspectors were able to survey the site before Hurricane Ida and state records say they were satisfied with the facility.” According to reports, that facility “had hundreds of mattresses on the floor and a handful of toilets and showers.” The suit further reads:
“A reasonably prudent person would determine that the warehouse could not act as an emergency evacuation center for seven nursing homes containing more than 800 elderly residents.”
All seven nursing homes have been emptied of residents and their licenses have been revoked. At the moment, “five deaths have been attributed to the storm, and 10 more have not been classified as storm-related.” However, it is not yet clear whether Gould’s death was classified as storm-related. She ended up passing “of a heart attack in the ambulance taking her away from the facility on Sept. 2.”