Elder abuse and neglect can take many forms: physical, mental, sexual, verbal, psychological, emotional or financial. In the financial area, people may try to exert undue influence or psychological pressure on elderly victims to induce them to take actions that will benefit the perpetrators financially.
Oregon elder abuse suit
A recent Oregon elder abuse lawsuit provides an example of the kinds of dangers facing vulnerable senior Oregonians who are targeted by financial predators. Four elderly plaintiffs residing in Oregon retirement communities owned by Holiday Retirement, Inc., or its affiliates sued Holiday (and its associated companies) in the Circuit Court of Oregon, Multnomah County, for harm the plaintiffs allege they incurred when Holiday induced them to sign rental documents, promising that they would be eligible for a veterans' benefit program that would cover much of the rent.
According to the complaint, the residents either never got the aid promised or got it at an inadequate rate to cover rental costs. The complaint details allegations of the rental company putting significant pressure on the elderly targets, including leaning on them to sign complicated legal documents without time to review or understand them.
All plaintiffs are now in financial crisis and suffering from the negative effects of significant related stress. Specifically, here are some of the legal claims alleged in the lawsuit under Oregon state law:
- Elder abuse (requesting $1.2 million in damages): plaintiffs allege that the defendants are liable for financially abusing them as legally defined vulnerable persons based on many claims like misrepresentation of affiliation with government veterans' programs; misrepresentation of veterans' benefit eligibility; misrepresentations of amounts that would be owing and incentives they would receive; and many more.
- Unlawful trade practices (requesting $1.2 million in damages): plaintiffs allege such illegal practices in that Holiday falsely led them to believe that it was affiliated with veterans' authorities and that plaintiffs were preapproved for benefits; and more; and that in reliance the plaintiff agreed to enter into lease agreements with defendants.
- Negligent misrepresentation (requesting $1.2 million in damages).
- Breach of contract (requesting $50,000 in damages): two plaintiffs allege that defendants did not act in good faith in violating many contract provisions.
- Declaratory relief: plaintiffs allege that an arbitration agreement that would require these claims be resolved in arbitration instead of court is unconscionable, that is, shockingly unfair to the point of being illegal. Plaintiffs request the court declare the agreements invalid and that the court has jurisdiction over the claim.
The plaintiffs ask for a jury trial and will seek to add a claim for punitive damages, meant to punish the defendants for their actions, rather than for reimbursement of specific financial harms. They also request costs and legal fees.
Legal counsel important
If you or someone you love is elderly and vulnerable to the undue influence of others and could become the target of an unscrupulous person, an experienced elder abuse attorney can help to determine whether legal protections are needed like guardianship, conservatorship or a power of attorney.
If financial exploitation is already underway, talk to an Oregon lawyer who practices in litigation to learn about potential legal remedies like an elder abuse lawsuit or other legal claims.