Two lawsuits filed against Kamloops seniors home for deadly 2015 assault
Nancy Bradley and her mother Emily Houston at her mother's 84th birthday party
Image Credit: CONTRIBUTED
January 05, 2018 - 6:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - Two lawsuits have been filed against the operator of a Kamloops seniors home after the death of an 84-year-old woman in 2015.
Earlier this week, the provincial government took legal action against PR Seniors Housing Management, a company that owns Kamloops Seniors Village. Emily Houston, 84, was assaulted at the retirement home by a fellow resident in July 2015. She died in hospital 10 days later.
The province alleges in their claim that Kamloops Seniors Village was negligent in failing to maintain a reasonably safe living environment for Houston by failing to take reasonable care to ensure Houston would be safe while in their care, failing to take proper care of Houston, failing to adequately, or at all, supervise the seniors village residents, and failing to adequately supervisor or instruct its employees in the proper performance of their duties.
The province is seeking retribution for Houston’s healthcare costs while she was being treated after her assault. The company has not filed a response to the province and the allegations against them have not been proven in court.
It’s not the only lawsuit the company is facing in relation to Houston’s death. Her children, Nancy Bradley, Anne Collison, Terry Christine Harpe, Linda Margaret Coray and Thomas Robert Houston filed suit against PR Seniors Housing Management in B.C. Supreme Court last June.
Many allegations in the province’s lawsuit are similar to those laid out in the children’s lawsuit.
The children’s lawsuit alleges that Bradley struggled with putting their mother into a retirement home, but eventually decided to admit her into the Kamloops Seniors Village. The guarantee of a private room was the major factor in this decision.
Bradley entered into a contract with the home, which allegedly included express terms of providing nursing care as prescribed by the Community Care Facility Act and to provide pleasant accommodation and nutritious meals.
The lawsuit alleges the contract contained implied terms that Houston would be provided privacy from other residents while in her own room and the retirement home would provide Houston with non-negligent care.
There were several incidents alleged in the lawsuit, in which Houston’s children reported a man coming into her private room unwanted during June 2015. In one case, Anne Collison and her husband escorted the man out of the room and told the nurses what had happened. They allegedly responding saying this type of incident was frequent.
That same month, Linda Coray visited her mother and noted that a different resident, who was not identified by name in the lawsuit, was following her mother to her room. This resident used to live in Houston’s room.
The lawsuit states Coray complained to a staff member, who allegedly told her the resident “liked to wander." He allegedly entered Houston’s room unattended on at least six occasions, according to the lawsuit. The children complained to the retirement home about this.
They argue in the lawsuit the retirement home should have known the resident posed a threat to the safety and well-being of Houston, and the retirement home failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the resident from harming Houston.
On July 5, 2015, the resident entered Houston’s room and allegedly took some of her belongings. She followed him and demanded he return them to her. He allegedly pushed Houston to the ground. She suffered a fractured hip, a neck fracture and a fractured finger. Houston provided a detailed description of the assault to Bradley and was taken to Royal Inland Hospital, where she died 10 days later.
The lawsuit alleges the seniors home called Bradley on July 5 and told her that her mother had fallen and broken her hip as a result of walking without a walker. Bradley told the home that while Houston owned a walker she only used it on outings outside of Kamloops Seniors Village. The home then allegedly told Bradley there “might” be another resident involved. Bradley, not the retirement home, reported the assault to RCMP.
The B.C. Coroners Service ruled Houston’s death a homicide later that year.
In the lawsuit, the children allege the seniors home made a calculated decision to deny the assault and characterize the incident as an “unwitnessed fall.” Included in the documents are excerpts from an interview between the CBC and a representative for the seniors home, in which the incident was referred to as a terrible accident and unwitnessed fall.
The children allege the company was trying to sell all or part of its business, including Kamloops Seniors Village, at the time of the interview with the CBC. They say the comments were made to maintain public confidence in the company. iNFOnews.ca has not confirmed the company was trying to sell all or part of its business.
“To date, the defendant has refused to change its records to reflect the fact that Ms. Houston’s death was a homicide,” the lawsuit states. “To date, the defendant has refused to apologize or offer any compensation to the plaintiffs.”
Each of the children has suffered losses due to this, the lawsuit argues, including the “loss of guidance and companionship of their mother.”
The children are seeking relief for damages, costs and interest, stating the company breached its contract with Bradley, was negligent and committed a negligent misrepresentation.
The allegations in both lawsuits have not been proven in court.
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