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Hurricane Harvey Nursing Home Evacuees Plan to Sue After Facility Ignored Warnings to Move Them to Safety

At the request of two residents, Hurricane Harvey evacuees from Lake Arthur Place Nursing and Rehabilitation in Port Arthur, Texas, have been granted a temporary restraining order against the facility and its parent company, Senior Care Centers. A KFDM/Fox 4 live report on August 30 showed Lake Arthur Place residents in wheelchairs with their feet and lower legs submerged in water. An employee told reporter James Ware that 70 people ‘needed to get out of here.’ She said many were bedridden, food was scarce, and that they needed help dispensing medication and giving care.

The petitioners, Jo LeBoeuf and Harding Guilbeaux, were eventually safely evacuated, but not before fearing for their lives. Jo LeBoeuf’s daughter, Tonya Petix, described arriving to the facility to check on her mother. Worried for her mother’s health and safety, she took a boat to Lake Arthur Place where she found herself in water up to her chest. She made her way inside where water was already flooding the facility and witnessed patients lying around with hands dangling off their beds into the cold, smelly water.

Petix says her mother cried with relief when she saw her. Jo LeBoeuf, who suffers from dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, COPD, and high blood pressure, was left sitting in water for 19 hours with very little to eat or drink. Tonya Petix also said that when she pressed Lake Arthur Place employees about the plan for evacuation, they referred her to their parent company and said they were relying on the National Guard. She also says that the local police department arrived with a group of volunteers to help evacuate residents but that the nursing home declined their help.

Petix told KVUE, a Texas ABC affiliate, that “We trusted them, the facility, with the dignity and care of our family members. They failed us, and it was an epic failure on their part.”

Restraining Order Granted, Lawsuit Soon to Follow
The petition for a restraining order was granted on September 8th and requires the facilities to retain all information potentially related to knowledge about the impending Hurricane, as well as communication and evidence related to a potential evacuation or lack thereof. The petition accuses Lake Arthur Place and parent company Senior Care Centers as neglecting “to timely evacuate residents of Lake Arthur Place resulting in these medically fragile residents having to be evacuated by volunteers in boats as the flood waters rose.”

According to the granted petition, the manager of Lake Arthur Place, Jeff Rosetta, as well as the nursing home and its parent company, Senior Care Center Management, have been ‘restrained from transporting, removing, altering, changing, repairing, and/or disturbing the following items’:

  • The nursing home facility known as Lake Arthur Place located at 4225 Lake Arthur Drive, Port Arthur, Texas 77642;
  • All waste management containers currently on the property for remediation purposes;
  • Any computer system and/or computer server located at Lake Arthur Place
  • Medical records of petitioners;
  • Any communications, including but not limited to text messages and email communications between Jeff Rosetta and the corporate office of Senior Care Centers and/or Senior Care Center Management from Aug. 25 to present regarding Respondents evacuation plan for its residents;
  • All photographs and/or video tapes of the rescue of Petitioners and scene where the incident occurred;
  • All witness statements to any witness to the occurrence whether signed or not;
  • All accident and/or investigative reports which refer to or relate to this incident;
  • The cellphone of Jeff Rosetta (to examine call history, call logs, texts, emails, deleted messages, GPS location services, Cloud account data, WiFi access information)