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Daughter Files Wrongful Death and Negligence Lawsuit against Hollywood Hills Rehab Center after Parents Suffer in Wake of Hurricane Irma

September 25, 2017
Colson Hicks Eidson

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (Sept. 22, 2017) — Attorney Curtis Miner, partner at the law firm of Colson Hicks Eidson, filed a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit today in the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County against Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, LLC., a 152-bed nursing home facility located in Hollywood, Florida where the power operating the cooling systems failed in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The suit was filed on behalf of Margarita Navarro, the daughter of Miguel Antonio Franco and Cecilia Franco, residents of the Hollywood Hills nursing home and ultimately victims of the facility’s negligence.

According to the lawsuit, as a result of the defendant’s negligence and failure to prepare adequately for Hurricane Irma, which impacted South Florida on Sunday, September 10, 2017, many of the elderly residents suffered for days in extreme heat and deplorable conditions, leading to the death of eleven of its residents to date, including Miguel Antonio Franco, 93, the plaintiff’s father, who died as a result of his continued exposure to the unbearable conditions. Additionally, Cecilia Franco, 90, the plaintiff’s mother, suffered serious injuries and damage to her health and remains hospitalized in serious condition.

As Hurricane Irma approached South Florida and a hurricane warning was issued for the Broward County area, the Rehab Center told the plaintiff that her parents would not be evacuated, but assured her that they would be safe and cared for at the Center. However, the suit contends, the Rehab Center did not have an adequate generator-powered air conditioning system and had no reliable way of keeping the facility at a safe temperature in the event of a power outage.

The suit alleges that the defendant failed to secure reliable and effective air conditioning systems to operate in the event of a power outage and failed to address the obvious health crisis by evacuating the residents or by calling for emergency medical assistance from the hospital across the street. Instead, it forced the helpless residents to endure the sweltering heat and humidity for days.

After nearly three days without power to the air-conditioning system, the first call to 911 was made.

According to the suit, the plaintiff was never alerted to the dire situation that was affecting her parents. In fact, to this date, nobody from the Rehab Center has ever contacted the plaintiff or her family members to explain how this was allowed to happen or to advise them of her father’s death, which occurred on or about September 13, 2017.

Additionally, according to the complaint, the Rehab Center’s marketing materials tout that it is located “directly across the street from Hollywood’s Memorial Regional Hospital, so in case of an emergency patients have access to even more of the finest health care at all hours of the day or night.”

“Some tragedies are unavoidable, but this tragedy was entirely avoidable,” said Miner, who filed the case along with his co-counsel Albert Z. Levin. “With this lawsuit, we hope both to cast a light on the egregious treatment suffered by elderly and vulnerable members of our community at the Rehab Center and to prod regulatory changes to prevent this from recurring in the future.”

The family and their attorneys are holding a press conference on Monday, September 25 at 11:00 a.m. at the law firm of Colson Hicks Eidson, 255 Alhambra Circle, Penthouse, Coral Gables, FL 33134. Please call or email Cindi Perantoni if you plan to attend: /305-962-9206.

About Colson Hicks Eidson

The Law Firm of Colson Hicks Eidson is a trial firm with nearly 50 years of experience handling local, national and international litigation, and arbitration. Members of the firm have been involved in some of the country’s most high-profile and landmark cases resulting in impactful and precedential rulings. A mid-size firm with a diverse staff comprised of more than 50 percent women and minorities, Colson Hicks Eidson prides itself on a track record of developing future leaders within the legal profession and its civic and community involvement. Members of the firm have held notable positions serving on the boards of prominent institutions, such as the State University System of Florida and the Florida State Board of Education, and holding high-ranking offices, including President of the 60,000-member American Association for Justice; President of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers; President of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers; President of the Dade County Bar Association; President of the Miami-Dade Florida Association of Women Lawyers; United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Chairman of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission.