3.35M Settlement Payment Finally Resolves the Prospect Park Residence Lawsuit

After a difficult, two-year battle to protect the courageous seniors at the Prospect Park Residence, in May 2016, the lawyers for the seniors have announced a settlement that will provide time and money, allowing the seniors the opportunity and the means to relocate to appropriate housing. Unfortunately, the landlord refused to comply with the settlement and make a deposit of the money needed to allow the residents to relocate. After The Legal Aid Society, MFY Legal Services and Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto made motions to attach the landlord’s assets at PPR and at other locations owned by the landlords, the landlord finally made the deposit of the money on August 26, 2016.

“The Legal Aid Society is pleased that through our legal intervention, the landlord finally complied with the settlement making it possible for the brave elderly residents of Prospect Park Residence to relocate to appropriate locations,” stated Judith Goldiner, the Attorney-in-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit of The Legal Aid Society and the lead attorney on the case. “However we continue to be disappointed that the State Department of Health’s weak regulations enable assisted living operators to close with essentially no notice to vulnerable elderly people. The Legal Aid Society will continue to pursue the legal claims against the Department of Health.”

The lawsuit was filed May 2, 2014 in State Supreme Court in Kings County to prevent the closing of the Prospect Park Residence, an assisted-living facility in Brooklyn which was home to 120 seniors at the time. Defendants in the lawsuit were Haysha Deitsch, the landlord, and the State Health Department, which accepted the landlord’s proposal to close the facility after he submitted a closing plan relinquishing a conditional assisted-living facility license. During the last two years, many residents moved out of the facility. However, for those who remained, services were drastically cut and the lawyers for the residents fought in court to protect the seniors.

"At long last, a little bit of justice," said Council Member Lander. "The courageous seniors of the Prospect Park Residence stood up for two-and-a-half years in the face of Haysha Deitsch's appalling avarice and cowardice. The residents of Park Slope were honored to stand with them time and again. Thanks to their tremendous legal team of Legal Aid Society, MFY Legal Services, and Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto, they were able to win a good settlement. After months of Deitch's typical greedy efforts to make even more money without regard for the cost to our seniors, we are relieved that he has finally complied. While this is a good day for the remaining PPR residents, it remains deeply disappointing that that the NYS Department of Health gave no support or protection to 130 elderly New Yorkers, whose health was put at risk by a developer who chose to willfully close this assisted living program and evict seniors without notice just to make a buck through condo-conversion. New York needs better public policy to protect our seniors from greed.”

"Our clients steadfastly refused to be rushed out of their home and into nursing homes, and stood up to this assisted living operator when he failed to comply with the settlement" said Kevin M. Cremin of MFY Legal Services. "We made it clear that we would go after every asset of the operator. Assisted living operators and the Department of Health should know that the days of throwing residents out with impunity are coming to an end."

“With the escrow now funded, the current residents can finally continue their plans to relocate to appropriate alternative accommodations that they had to put on hold for nearly two months,” said Frederick Millett of Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto. “I, along with Fitzpatrick Cella, am honored to have worked with the Legal Aid Society and MFY Legal Services to bring a favorable resolution to these elderly residents.”