Subdivision of Citizens, Montevue land stands

This aerial photo taken earlier this month shows Odyssey Assisted Living at Montevue at the left and Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center of Frederick at the right. At the bottom is Rosemont Ave. 

Frederick County leaders are trying to keep alive a lawsuit against the county as they work out an agreement over the privatization of an assisted living center and nursing home.

In a six-page filing submitted to the court Monday, attorneys for the county argued against dismissing a lawsuit that challenges the sale of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living. The county's written submission comes in response to a request for dismissal, filed earlier this month by the people who launched the lawsuit.

As an alternative to killing the suit, the county requested a temporary stay that would put the case on hold while Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner negotiates a resolution to preserve Montevue's mission of caring for indigent residents.

On Tuesday, Gardner said a six-month stay should allow enough time for the talks.

Scrapping the lawsuit days before trial, set for Jan. 20, isn't the best way to reach consensus, the county argued in its filing to Frederick County Circuit Court.

"A temporary stay — not a dismissal without prejudice — will be more conducive to the Plaintiffs' and the County's shared goal: a comprehensive agreement that will allow the County to continue caring for the old, infirm and disadvantaged citizens of Frederick County at the Montevue health facilities," stated the county submission, signed by county attorney John Mathias and attorneys with the firm Venable LLP.

Members of the Save Montevue group filed the case last year as they struggled to prevent then-county commissioners from handing over the two care centers to a for-profit company.

The first part of the sale was finalized in May as the buyer, Aurora Holdings VII, took control of operations at Citizens and Montevue, now known as Odyssey Assisted Living at Montevue. The county still owns the buildings and the property for the two facilities.

While Save Montevue members were at odds with the last group of county commissioners, the new county leadership is sympathetic to their position against the sale, according to the county's Monday filing.

Before her election in November, Gardner spoke against privatizing the centers, and she continues to advocate for preserving Montevue as a safety net for needy county residents. However, the county is also locked into a contract that the prior board of commissioners signed with Aurora, according to the county's legal submission.

Gardner said these dual responsibilities have her following "two parallel paths," one to fulfill the county's contractual obligations to Aurora, and the other to negotiate a comprehensive solution with the company and members of Save Montevue. Gardner said her goal is to arrive at a settlement that would fulfill her campaign commitments.

In this week's legal filing, county attorneys also argued that the county has invested too many resources in the case to agree to a dismissal.

In the lead-up to January's trial date, the county has produced thousands of pages of documents and responded to questions and requests from the plaintiffs. The county also tracked down expert witnesses and painstakingly researched the history of the property on which Citizens and Montevue stands.

The dismissal requested by the plaintiffs would "negate the many months of work" dedicated to defending the county's right to sell Citizens and Montevue, the county's attorneys argued.

The county's response also notes that the plaintiffs want the freedom to refile the case in the future, leaving the threat of legal action hanging over the county.

Leslie Powell, attorney for the citizens who filed the suit, said she needs to review the county's request with her clients before responding to it. However, there are some important distinctions between a dismissal and a temporary stay, she said. For instance, if the stay were lifted, the case would continue to sap her clients' resources, while a complete dismissal could permanently ease their financial burden.

Powell disagrees that a dismissal would be unfair because of the time and money the county has poured into the case.

"While the county's legal bills have been far larger than our clients', everybody has spent a lot of time and energy on this, and now it's time to spend our time and energy on something else," she said.

Instead, they should be concentrating resources on safeguarding Montevue's mission of caring for poor and disadvantaged residents, she said.

Powell said a judge will decide whether to hold a hearing or issue a written determination on the fate of the case.

Follow Bethany Rodgers on Twitter: @BethRodgersFNP.

(22) comments

One of our biggest challenges caused by the previous commissioners. This is the beginning of cleaning the mess. Another is goingto be teaching Delauter and Shreve that they are no longer Commissioners. They are Councilmen who have a different job description than they once held. From what I have seen so far, they need to review the details of their duties and responsibilities. Delaughter represents one small district of the county. However, he is ready to hire lawyers regarding some HR decisions made by The County Executive. Perhaps he should be more concerned with his conflicts of interest and with representing the concerns of the citizens of his northern district. Jan has the credentials to lead the charge to a much better solution for the homes and other pressing issues. She has clearly been working very hard for her pay so far. We are getting our "moneys worth." Finally! The babysitting is an inefficiency though, that we are stuck with, as we have two very immature "Councilmen".

DickD

[thumbup]

DickD

Average Length of Stays (Nursing Homes)
5 years or more 12.0%
3 to 5 years 12.0%
1 to 3 years 30.3%
6 to 12 months 14.2%
3 to 6 months 10.0%
less than 3 months 20.0%


Average Length Of Stay in Years
Female 2.6 years
Male 2.3 years
Married 1.6 years
Single / Never Married 3.8 years
Widowed 2.3 years
Divorced / Separated 2.7 years

richardlyons

When is Mathias going to be canned?

DickD

Good question, who do you think should replace him? How about O'
Connor?

DickD

I am so glad that I voted for Jan, I think she is doing the right thing. When you look at the dismissal vs. stay, it makes good sense. It keeps the pressure on all parties to resolve this in an expedient fashion, without the worry of another court case. It is too bad that the Blaine gang put us in such a bad position, but they did, now Jan must deal with it. And I am sure she will with the outcome much better than it would have been with the old Blaine gang.

Look at the cost of out nursing home, for an individual. Most nursing homes charge about $7,000/mo., which amounts to $84,000/yr. If the patient is someone with Social Security income the yearly amount, for someone at the top end, would be about $24,000 or a short fall of $60,000. Now Medicare will pay for short term visits up to 100 days, if my memory is correct. After that, it is up to the individual. So, someone with a long term nursing need, say three years, would incur a debt of $256,000, minus their income of let's just say their Social Security of $72,000 over the three years. This leaves a deficit of $184,000, which could be made up from any personal belongings and/or home ownership.

What this means many indigent people will never be able to pay for their nursing home stays. Now the question is does the County owe these people a nursing home. Owe, only if you are compassionate, for those that are not the answer would be no. I do believe Jan is a compassionate person.

Just think, if we had elected Karl Bickle as Sheriff, instead of the Rio Grande patrol deputy, Jenkins, we could have also resolved those court cases under more favorable terms.

KellyAlzan

Stan ston wants his kickback money that he paid to The Ba'Lane back

FrederickVeteran

Becuase we can't save everyone we should allow a humane dignified exit for those unable to sustain themselves.

quemzeee2

Frederick Veteran. THat is exactly what Hitler said when they emptied the hospitols for the exact same reasons as this. I realy do not think you meant that. Or at least I hope you did not.

Extra Ignored

Maryland's Dr. Kevorkian had his medical license revoked.

Nicki

Thank you, Jan.

dcg326

quemzeee, Are you trying to change this or just write?U a volunteer? NO Habve U seen this?? Jan and David GRay approved the newest nursing home debt for us taxpayers,let her get us out,yes Jan did.She wan ,now her problem ,not Blaines, good , we will see what she can do.

quemzeee2

I am and have been for over 20 years. You simply have no idea how much it is needed in this county.
The amount of debt was nothing compared to what it is now after privatizing it. The county was able to gain millions upon millions of dollars from this by using the land for Animal Human, Truck maintenence buildings ect.
What I find odd is we will not take responsibliity for our citizens but will house unwanted animals and trucks ? strange.

FrederickVeteran

Hopefully the residents of Montevue and Citizens are being drug tested I don't want any of my tax dollars going to fund people in a eurprohic state.

quemzeee2

Your concerns are legit FredVeteran. But if you would venture there you would find they were unfounded.
We now have a large amount of people living in uter squaler in the city and county that you will never hear about due to there inability to leave,walk or go to the toilet by them selves.
It is growing in numbers, There is no rental inspections, no licsense of rental property and consequently there is more and more filth and such. The public is not to blame, they have no ability nor reason to note this.
Frederick county is behind human needs, It is not as bad as Washington county but we have a big problem comming up. The lines for free food during the holidays is NOTHING compared to those numbers who can not access the products.

Sallyforth

I think that all military veterans receiving disability checks should be drug tested.

matts853

clever!

Comment deleted.
Extra Ignored

Sally hit a nerve.

Some Vietnam Vets have been on disability for 40 years because they need a single special shoe.

Meanwhile civilians who are hemiplegic with memory and speech impairments from having a stroke can't get disability benefits.

DickD

Hey, you can drug test me. But you did hit a nerve with FrederickVeteran.

MCEDDE21

What is "a eurprohic state"?

johnnyboy

Sally didn't hit a nerve, she just made a disgusting statement. So, Ignored you agree that combat wounded vets who toke a little pot from time to time to get some relief from their PTSD or other wounds should have their disability checks stopped?

Civilians, like you I am sure, never went to war for their country and came back maimed or worse. Combat wounded vets deserve 1000 times more that they get in payment for their war related maladies.

johnnyboy

I didn't know Ignored stuttered.

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