Felony charges against Silverado CEO Loren Shook and two other employees have been dropped, the company announced Thursday.
“The baseless, egregious claims unfairly attacked our caregivers, who selflessly and courageously served our residents, worked to provide essential life-sustaining services and quality of life throughout a 100-year pandemic,” Shook said in a press release about the dismissals. “We are proud of the loving and compassionate care they demonstrated during the most trying circumstances.”
Shook, along with two other defendants, were charged with 13 felony counts of elder endangerment and five felony counts of violation causing death. Irvine, California-based Silverado also faced charges as a company.
A representative for Silverado was not immediately available for additional comment.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón first announced the charges in March after a two-and-a-half year investigation into a Silverado community in Los Angeles, where an early 2020 Covid-19 outbreak resulted in 13 residents and an employee dying and dozens others falling ill.
The case had potentially widespread industry implications given it stemmed from alleged missteps in the earliest days of the pandemic, when so little was known about the disease, legal experts told Senior Housing News at the time the charges were announced. Memory care operators in particular ran into harrowing difficulties in the earliest stages of the Covid-19 pandemic as they struggled to stop the spread of the disease.
Silverado touted the dropped charges as “not just a victory for Silverado, but also for the tens of thousands of senior living communities and healthcare facilities throughout the United States who fought courageously and tirelessly to protect those entrusted to their care during the biggest health crisis of our lifetimes.”
David Schless, president of the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), applauded the dismissal of the felony charges.
“The criminal charges were outrageous and completely unwarranted given the circumstances of this tragic outbreak which took place at the outset of the global pandemic before the world fully understood the spread of the disease and before the industry had access to testing kits and other necessary tools to fight Covid-19,” he wrote in an Oct. 26 email to ASHA members. “Silverado and other senior care providers did the very best they could under the most challenging circumstances, and the judge presiding over the criminal trial reaffirmed this by dismissing all charges.”
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