Family members removed two women with dementia from New City Supportive Living in the Back of the Yards and file lawsuits alleging negligent care, poor security, filthy and undignified living conditions
Chicago May 5, 2022 Two families are suing the owners and operators of “New City Supportive Living,” a low-income, supportive living facility on Chicago’s south side on behalf of their elderly mothers who both suffer from dementia. Their lawsuits allege negligence, lack of security, inadequate staffing and substandard living conditions at the facility caused great physical injury and emotional harm and put their mothers lives at risk. The two seniors’ experiences are detailed in separate lawsuits filed against New City Supportive Living located at 4707 S. Marshfield Avenue.
Levin and Perconti (www.levinperconti.com) represent both families and filed the lawsuits in the Circuit Court of Cook County on May 2, 2022. Celadon Partners and Goldblatts of Chicago, LP are named as defendants in both complaints. New City Supportive Living is owned by Chicago area real estate developer Scott Henry.
According to the filed complaints, one of the women went missing twice from New City Supportive Living in just one week in June of 2020. The first time, 69-year-old Roberta Spencer left the facility and wandered around the southside of Chicago for at least 24 hours alone and confused. Her family found her six miles from the facility at a CTA bus stop covered in urine, terrified, and confused. Six days after that, Spencer wasn’t in her room when family members visited. She was found in a locked storage closet in the basement of the facility that contained cleaning chemicals.
“In both cases, they did not even know my mother was missing. It was not until we arrived for visits and could not find her that they even knew she was gone. The operators of New City Supportive Living told us they would check security camera footage to see how it happened, but no answers were provided,” said Rebecca’s daughter, Tonya Spencer. “That’s why we are filing this lawsuit so we can get some answers. When we entrusted them with the care of our mom, the staff at New City Supportive Living made a lot of promises about the high level of services she would receive but none of it turned out to be true. We are fortunate our mother did not die when she was roaming the city streets at night.”
According to the lawsuit filed by the family of Jean Smith, 86, a retired beauty salon owner with dementia, she was hospitalized three times in a six-week period in early 2021, once when she hit her head and twice for dehydration. Concerned family members sent a travel nurse to check on Smith, who found Smith was naked in bed with no sheets and living in a bug-infested and trash-strewn apartment.
“The facility and its owners and management did not live up to any of the promises they made to these families regarding the quality of care their mothers would receive. They also failed to comply with state regulations that govern supportive living facilities and the care they are supposed to provide,” said Margaret P. Battersby Black, the attorney representing the families and the managing partner at Levin and Perconti. “We intend to get answers on how this could have happened and hold them accountable.”
Both families removed their mothers from New City Supportive Living. According to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Illinois developed the supportive living program as an alternative to nursing home care for low-income older people and those with physical disabilities under Medicaid.
“These supportive living facilities are supposed to be a better environment for people who are more functional but at a low-income cost. That doesn’t mean substandard services and care, it means the same services that anyone paying full price anywhere would get,” Battersby Black said. “Rebecca, Jean and their families deserved much better.”
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