Lawyers from the Legal Aid Society are taking action against the state Health Department, hoping to change the agency’s policies for evictions.
In 2014, the department allowed controversial Brooklyn landlord Haysha Deitsch to evict 100 residents from an assisted living facility at 1 Prospect Park West, the New York Daily News reported. The residents were forced to leave within 90 days, so Deitsch could sell the place for millions of dollars.
While many of the residents left, a few people aged between 91 and 101 stayed and sued both the landlord and the health department, arguing the evictions were illegal. Two years later, Deitsch paid a $3.35 million settlement to the residents — one of whom was a Holocaust survivor — but they all had to move out within months.
Legal Aid is now suing to force the department to change its policies to comply with federal rules, which means it would have help people relocate if they are made to leave an agency-sanctioned facility.
“The Department of Health’s flagrant refusal to comply with federal regulations protecting the elder and infirm is completely reprehensible,” said Judith Goldiner, of the Legal Aid Society’s Civil Law Reform Unit.