[JURIST] New Orleans District Attorney Eddie Jordan [official profile] declined Monday to file criminal charges against a local nursing home for the death of 19 elderly residents during post-Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive] flooding. During the hurricane, nuns from the Sisters of the Holy Family [congregation website], who operated the Lafon Nursing Home, decided evacuation posed a greater risk to patients than remaining within the home. Elderly nuns living in the facility and all of the nuns in the nearby motherhouse were evacuated; none of the first-floor patients were moved. Jordan said that an investigation revealed no criminal conduct [DA press release]. AP has more.
The decision came just days after a Louisiana state jury found owners of another New Orleans nursing home not guilty [JURIST report] of 35 charges of negligent homicide and 64 charges of cruelty. Thirty-five residents at St. Rita's Nursing Home were killed due to flooding that overtook the one-story nursing home in less than 20 minutes. The owners pleaded not guilty, maintaining that they did what they thought would keep the residents safe by keeping the residents at the home with food, water, and generators.