1st Lawsuit Filed Against Nursing Home Where 8 Patients Died

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HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – Two days since the nursing home tragedy, the first lawsuit has been filed.

Armed with a search warrant, Hollywood Police Department crime scene technicians continued to comb The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills with a fine tooth comb.

Eight elderly patients died there when there was an electrical failure and the building became stifling hot in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

“I found out through my foreman at work saying a nursing home. Gave the address and automatically I said my Uncle Bobby. That is what came to my mind. It hit me. It’s Uncle Bobby. That is what it was,” said Charles Owens.

Charles Owens, 88-year-old Bobby Owen’s nephew, a grieving family member.

And now a lawsuit. The family of 99-year-old Albertina Vega has hired a lawyer.

“All these people are in the same boat. They all could have been evacuated. Their families could have been called but nothing happened,” said attorney John Leighton.

The lawsuit designed to preserve records pertaining to the death of the eight patients reads in part:

“The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, LLC claimed to be a ‘nurturing place…a family place’ and a facility were patients ‘receive a special kind of care’ that met the ‘unique needs of each person.’ Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Dr. Jack Michel owns the facility. CBS4 attempted to contact him at the hospital he owns in South Miami. No success.

“The fact that Mrs. Vega had a relative that lived two doors down from the nursing home that had air conditioning and power and no one called the family,” Leighton said.

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