A Chenoa retirement community wants a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed over allegations that humiliating photos and videos of its residents were shared on social media.
The lawsuit, filed Oct. 19, seeks at least $100,000 in damages against Meadows Mennonite Home over a March incident in which the photos and videos were shared. An ex-boyfriend of a Meadows employee shared photos and videos of residents on the toilet, bathing, in bed, and in wheelchairs, the lawsuit alleges. The images showed “partial nudity and other embarrassing private occasions,” the lawsuit states.
The plaintiffs are administrators for the estate of a now-deceased former resident in the dementia-care unit at Meadows.
The Meadows employee and her ex-boyfriend are only identified in the lawsuit as John and Jane Doe. That appears to be a reference to Michael S. Scurlock, 47, of Lexington and Samantha J. Brown, 29, who were indicted in mid-August on one charge each of nonconsensual dissemination of a sexual image, Class 4 felony, court records show. Police located Brown, but Scurlock is still being sought by authorities. Brown worked at Meadows.
Meadows failed to protect residents—including those in its dementia-care unit—from such abuse, in part by failing to set policies prohibiting employees from using personal devices while on the job, according to the lawsuit. The facility also faced—and contested—a $25,000 fine from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) related to the incident.
In its motion to dismiss filed Dec. 28, Meadows’ attorneys argue that “claims for such non-physical injuries do not ‘survive’ a decedent’s death under Illinois law.”
Meadows also asks for the lawsuit to be dismissed because it “failed to allege specific facts to make out a claim for mental abuse under the Nursing Home Care Act or for invasion of privacy.” The lawsuit makes general allegations only and does not describe a specific photo of the unnamed decedent, Meadows claims.
A hearing is scheduled for the motion to dismiss on Jan. 12.
Meadows is represented by Chicago-based law firm Kopon Airdo.
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.