Several employees of a Lafourche parish nursing home who were evacuated to a warehouse in Tangipahoa parish during Hurricane Ida are suing the owner of the establishment for unpaid wages.
Five nurses from South Lafourche Nursing and Rehab filed a September 29 class action lawsuit in Jefferson Parish against Baton Rouge businessman Bob Dean and seven nursing homes he owns.
About 850 residents of these nursing homes were evacuated to an Independence-based warehouse owned by Dean before the Category 4 storm that made landfall on August 29 in southeast Louisiana.
Since then, several lawsuits have been filed against Dean, alleging that the evacuees endured nightmarish conditions because they were crammed into the poorly equipped facility.
Dean’s facilities have all since been shut down by the state health department. An attorney for Dean has said he plans to appeal the action.
According to the health ministry, five deaths were directly linked to the evacuation, but 27 other residents of nursing homes who were transferred to the warehouse also died.
Employees allege in court documents that they worked “excessively long hours” at the warehouse from August 27 to September 2, but were not paid in full for the work they did.
According to the complaint, nurses are expected to earn a “hurricane special rate of pay” of $ 750 to $ 3,000 per day during evacuations based on their qualifications, but the complainants’ pay checks did not reflect the increase in pay. .
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New Orleans attorney Jonathan C. Pedersen, who represents the plaintiffs, said one of the nurses contacted him about the discrepancy.
âShe was very upset and told me that she worked around the clock and was not paid for all of her work,â Pedersen said. âOnce I met her and understood the facts, it was a very obvious case that needed to be closed. You receive a hurricane pay rate that is an amount higher than your typical 365 day salary due to the nature of what is going on. All of my clients came to the retirement home and helped evacuate all residents to the Independence facility. While they were there they tried to make the best of an absolutely horrible situation.
Baton Rouge attorney John McLindon, who represents Dean, said the employees’ lawsuit was the result of a misunderstanding.
âThere was just a communication breakdown,â McLindon said on Friday. âBob told them they would get this special salary, but they thought it would be on top of their regular salary. They thought they were entitled to this money in addition to their regular salary, but this will be resolved.
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Pedersen said he wanted his clients to get their due after enduring horrific conditions during the evacuation.
âThe top executives all had hotel rooms where they could shower and sleep, but none of my clients had that luxury,â he said. âSome of them had to drive 13 miles to a truck stop to take a shower. They did not feed them properly and lived on snacks from a gas station. They are human beings and we do not treat our dogs that way.
– Editor-in-Chief Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.