Suffolk County Supreme Court in Riverhead (NYLJ/Rick Kopstein)
A Suffolk County judge refused to dismiss a complaint by an 85-year-old nursing home resident that she suffered “extreme emotional distress” when a “muscular, almost entirely nude” male stripper wearing “skinny white briefs” who had been invited to entertain the residents “straddled” her during his performance.
Justice Paul Baisley (See Profile) denied the nursing home’s motion to dismiss in Youngblood v. East Neck Nursing, 5383/14, saying there were triable issues of fact as to whether the case was time-barred and whether Bernice Youngblood suffered emotional injuries.
Baisley said Youngblood also could bring a claim for conversion, based on payments allegedly made from her commissary account to defray the $250 fee paid to the stripper.
The judge dismissed the emotional distress causes of action brought by her son, Franklin Youngblood, because he was not present at the event.
Robert Margulies, a partner at Drabkin & Margulies who represented the nursing home, asserted that the stripper was selected by a residents’ entertainment committee and Mrs. Youngblood elected to attend.
“Our client’s defense is that this was a consensual activity,” he said. “Mrs. Youngblood says she has capacity to sue. Why doesn’t she have capacity to choose to enjoy this type of entertainment?”
Baisley noted that while the complaint said Youngblood suffered from “advanced dementia” and was unable to give informed consent, it claims she is “sometimes lucid.”
Vesselin Mitev, a partner at Ray, Mitev & Associates representing Youngblood, said his client was “pleased with the decision,” although he noted that she is still a resident at the nursing home. “She doesn’t have the money to move.”