A former employee of a Hollywood adult care center who sued the facility, its owner and the Russian director of nursing, alleging she was wrongfully laid off in 2020 “for the sole purpose of getting rid of an assertive Ukrainian Jewish woman,” will have to shore up her entire lawsuit for it to proceed, a judge ruled Tuesday.
“I think it’s short on facts and long on conclusions,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Barbara M. Scheper said during a hearing Tuesday on Aleksandra Rozenberg’s lawsuit. The judge added that the complaint was so vague in some areas that it made it hard for the defense to respond.
Scheper gave Rozenberg’s lawyers 30 days to file an amended complaint.
Rozenberg sued on March 21. Her allegations against Arcadia of Hollywood Adult Day Health Care include wrongful termination, civil rights violations, breach of an express and implied contract, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Rozenberg seeks compensatory and punitive damages, each not to exceed $1 million.
Also being sued are Jeffrey Vallandingham and Slava Cojocari, identified in the suit as the center’s owner-operator and the director of nursing.
In their court papers, defense attorneys denied any wrongdoing on the part of their clients, saying the center, like so many other businesses, was economically impacted by the coronavirus in March 2020.
“Unfortunately, such impact required Arcadia to temporarily shut down and eventually downsize and restructure its operations and, as a result, plaintiff was terminated from her employment,” the defense attorneys stated in their court papers.
Rozenberg was hired to care for patients in 2007 and Vallandingham told her she would be treated fairly, that her job seniority would be honored and that speaking Spanish was not a requirement, the suit states.
Cojocari, a Russian male, harassed Rozenberg and created a hostile work environment because she is Jewish, Ukrainian and older than 40, according to the suit, which also alleges Cojocari told her she belonged to an “inferior race/religion and nationality.”
Cojocari supported fascism, totalitarianism, war, the violent overthrow of governments, the superiority of his native “Christian” country and its president, Vladimir Putin, the suit states.
“When plaintiff protested and asked him to stop, (Cojocari) refused,” the suit states.
When Rozenberg was laid off in March 2020, Vallandingham told her it was due to the pandemic, but he also said she would be recalled “as soon as possible,” the suit states.
However, Rozenberg has not been rehired despite her requests to this day to have her job back, the suit states. Vallandingham told her she was not brought back because she does not speak Spanish, the suit states.
In reality, Rozenberg was laid off “for the sole purpose of getting rid of an assertive Ukrainian Jewish woman,” who due to her age, religion, ethnicity and national origin was perceived as “inferior, too aggressive and not as controllable as younger women…,” the suit states.
Rozenberg also alleges she was denied uninterrupted rest and meal periods during her eight-hour day and that she has suffered physical injury and extreme distress because of the way she was treated by her former employer.