Two nursing homes accused of neglecting an elderly woman, allegedly leading to her death, claim the accusations against them are vague and seek more definitive statements.

According to the Dec. 5 lawsuit, Ellen Ignatius claims Dorothy Hughes was living at defendant Helia Healthcare of Energy from October 2012 through December 2012. She alleges that while Hughes was there, employees neglected her.

While there, Hughes allegedly suffered from dehydration, loss of cognitive skills, loss of social skills, depression, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, malnutrition, weight loss and injuries from falling, the suit states. Ignatius claims the combined injuries led to Hughes’ death.

As a result, Ignatius claims she incurred medical, funeral and burial costs.

The plaintiff blames Helia Healthcare of Energy and Helia Healthcare Services for contributing to Hughes’ death, claiming the employees at the home failed to protect Hughes form neglect, failed to make specific recommendations about what care Hughes required to receive her highest level of independent functioning, failed to revise recommendations and failed to ensure that its staff was familiar with its rights and responsibilities, among other negligent acts.

The defendants filed a motion for a more definite statement on Feb. 23. They claim that in all eight counts of the complaint, the plaintiff claims the defendants’ negligence caused the decedent to suffer injuries from falling, but the plaintiff fails to provide any facts about the supposed fall.

Additionally, the plaintiff claims the decedent suffered abuse and neglect, but failed to provide facts supporting any abuse, defendants say.

“Plaintiff’s complaint includes about 46 conclusory allegations of negligence but fails to plead any facts to support her conclusions,” the defendants argue.

“Plaintiff’s complaint is simply too vague for defendants to understand the nature of her claims. She has failed to allege any specific facts to support the myriad of conclusions in her complaint,” they add.

The defendants also filed a motion to transfer venue on Feb. 23, arguing that Williamson County is the appropriate venue.

The defendants claim every allegation of the plaintiff’s complaint arise out of alleged actions or inactions that occurred in Williamson County, which is where the defendants are located.

Further, Helia Healthcare Services denies having any connection with Helia Healthcare of Energy, explaining that it has never been the owner, operator or licensee of the nursing home at issue.

“In short, Helia Healthcare Services did not participate in the care provided to Dorothy Hughes in any way,” the motion states.

Ignatius responded to the motion to transfer on March 5, arguing St. Clair County is proper because Helia Healthcare Services does business in St. Clair County.

She also claims that because Helia Healthcare Services owns a nursing facility in the City of Energy in Williamson County, she reasonably believed that the defendant was an affiliate of Helia Healthcare of Energy.

Ignatius seeks a judgment of more than $400,000, plus attorney fees and costs.

Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson scheduled a status conference for July 27 at 9 a.m.

Thomas O. Falb and Timothy J. Chartrand of Williamson, Webster, Falb & Glisson in Alton represent Ignatius.

Daniel W. Farroll and Tara Wiebusch of HeplerBroom in Edwardsville represent the defendants.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 14-L-780

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