Texas AG seeks to shut down unlicensed assisted living facility

Nick Rees Jan. 20, 2010, 5:15pm


VICTORIA, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Legal action has been taken by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott against an assisted living facility that he says operated without a license, a violation of state law.

Abbott also secured a temporary restraining order against Joyce Burris for the unlicensed Joyce's TLC Assisted Living in Victoria, which authorized the State to immediately transfer six residents out of the facility.

A facility that furnishes food, shelter and personal care to four or more residents who are unrelated to the proprietor must, under Texas law, obtain a license from the state. Burris housed six unrelated individuals at the facility, all of whom required help with their day-to-day activities, including feeding and ambulatory assistance. Burris did not hold a license from the state for this.

The case was referred to the Attorney General's Office following the removal of the residents from the assisted living facility by agents with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. A DADS inspector documented multiple hazardous conditions at the facility last week, necessitating the removal of the residents.

Following an anonymous tip on the DADS hotline, an inspector visiting the facility to review the premises noted several potentially hazardous electrical outlets. Further inspection revealed that the structural wiring at the facility was faulty, posing a fire or electrocution risk to the residents.

Most of the on-premise fire extinguishers were also revealed to have not been inspected or tagged since 2007 and no automated sprinkler system was present in the home as required by law. Smoke alarms were found in only three of the six residents' bedrooms.

Abbott's legal action seeks civil penalties for Burris of between $100-$10,000 for each violation of Texas Health and Safety Code provisions, which govern and protect the welfare of assisted living residents.

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