EPIC Responds to lawsuit
Media outlets last week reported about a lawsuit filed against the Office of Children and Family Services and Extraordinary People in Care - a Long Island-based nonprofit that works with the disabled, alleging that workers shopped at Walmart while the resident banged his head 120 times in the van he was left inside. The workers also pretended to be taking him on other activities, according to reports. Thomas M. Hopkins, president and CEO of EPIC Long Island, responds to the allegations.
We are aware of the filing of an action against EPIC Long Island and certain of its employees by the parents of Mathew Zauderer, Stacy and Jonathan Zauderer. EPIC has retained legal counsel to address the allegations in the complaint, which it will do during the course of the legal process. Because it is an active litigation, I cannot comment on the specific claims.
Suffice it to say, however, that Mathew Zauderer has been living at one of EPIC’s group homes since May, 2015. He actually continues to live in this EPIC residence. Almost immediately after Mathew moved into EPIC’s residence, Mr. and Mrs. Zauderer began accusing EPIC of wrongdoing against Mathew. Thus, some of the allegations by the Zauderers are approximately a year old, and EPIC is well aware of and has taken steps to address the various claims.
We are saddened that the Zauderer family has not chosen to positively engage the agency in a mutual effort to address their son’s needs. Instead, they opted to initiate this action and to retain a public relations company to publicize their allegations against EPIC.
To the best of my knowledge, this is the first lawsuit that has been initiated by a family in the 64 year history of our agency. In addition, this is the first time that a family has retained a public relations firm to publicize their grievances. In all of the years that we have been in operation, we have provided residential, day and community services to hundreds of developmentally and intellectually disabled individuals. An action like this is stressful and heartbreaking for all, not least for the staff who have worked so hard to provide a home for Mathew. In the end, however, it will not dissuade us from continuing to fulfill our mission and provide members of the developmentally disabled community with quality care and services.