A Seattle nursing home’s insurer has agreed to pay $8 million to settle a lawsuit brought on behalf of a disabled woman who was sexually assaulted while in the facility’s care.
Foss Home and Village agreed last month to settle the 2019 lawsuit claiming the facility was negligent in its hiring and its failure to have a system in place that ensured the plaintiff’s care was “monitored and properly supervised.”
The lawsuit was filed after the plaintiff, a woman in her 50s with multiple sclerosis, communicated the abuse to relatives, one of whom placed a hidden camera in her room.
The video captured the woman being repeatedly raped by a male employee, according to King County prosecutors who charged Nshimiyiana Hamzat with rape and indecent liberties two years ago.
Hamzat remains in jail awaiting trial.
“They had one male staffer cleaning the genitalia of disabled females,” said plaintiff’s attorney Darrell L. Cochran who worked on the case with attorney Kevin Hastings. “That’s a terribly dangerous practice.”
Independent investigation by the Department of Social and Health Services’ Adult Protective Services, Seattle Police Department and Foss all concluded that the abuse occurred, Cochran said.
According to the suit, Foss Home and Village failed in its duty to provide care to vulnerable clients in a reasonable, safe and prudent manner, including failing to exercise care in hiring, retaining and supervising employees.
In an emailed statement, Foss Home and Village CEO and President Rick Henry said, “We are heartbroken and devastated that our resident was sexually assaulted. Had we known, we would have immediately contacted the police in alignment with our established policies and procedures. As soon as we did know, the offending employee was immediately suspended and later terminated.”
Henry also said Foss continually reviews its hiring processes and uses “ardent background checks which exceed state and insurance company guidelines.”
Cochran said that while the $8 million settlement got Foss’ attention, “everyone should be on the alert for their elderly family and friends because sometimes assistant living homes have good policies but really bad practices.”