NY Daily News: Legal Aid Society Sues State Over Its Eviction Policies at Senior Residences
MONDAY, JUNE 05, 2017

The Legal Aid Society is pushing for sweeping changes to the NYS Department of Health’s policies governing evictions at assisted living centers. Litigation was argued last week charging that DOH’s relevant policies are unlawful and punitive under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

NY Daily News
Legal Aid Society Sues State Over Its Eviction Policies at Senior Residences
By Christina Carrega
June 1, 2017

Legal Aid Society lawyers want the state Health Department to change its policies after the agency green-lighted a landlord’s plan to force ailing residents — including a Holocaust survivor — out of a Brooklyn assisted-living facility.

The tangled legal saga began in 2014, when owner Haysha Deitsch secured approval to evict more than 100 residents of 1 Prospect Park West within 90 days as part of a plan to sell the building for millions.

Most residents moved out, but a small group of holdouts — ages 91 to 101 — sued Deitsch and the state Health Department, claiming the evictions were illegal.

After a two-year battle, the landlord agreed to a $3.35 million settlement in June 2016.

The deal gave the remaining residents more than $500,000 but required them to leave their apartments by the end of the summer.

Now the lawyers who brought the suit are targeting the state Health Department to change its eviction policies.

Rather than giving residents 90 days to get out, the lawyers say, the Health Department should follow federal regulations that call for helping people to relocate when forced to leave agency-sanctioned facilities.

“The Department of Health’s flagrant refusal to comply with federal regulations protecting the elder and infirm is completely reprehensible,” said Judith Goldiner, of the Legal Aid Society’s Civil Law Reform Unit.

The state Health Department has moved to dismiss the suit, arguing that it’s now moot because all the residents have left.

It declined to comment on the litigation but defended its handling of the assisted living facility.

“The New York State Department of Health treated the health and safety of the residents at Prospect Park Residence with the utmost seriousness,” the office said in a statement. “As part of the department’s oversight of Prospect Park Residence, all federal and state laws pertaining to the operation of the facility and resident's rights were followed.”

A hearing is planned for Thursday at Brooklyn Supreme Court. “Why and how (the state Health Department) can defend policies that allowed for the summary displacement of Holocaust survivors, extremely elderly and disabled residents, and other vulnerable New Yorkers is beyond explanation,” Goldiner said.

This article originally appeared in the NY Daily News.