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Second Family Suing Former Beverly Hills Rehab Center for Wrongful Death

The complaint alleges Andrew Witkoff also was not properly supervised by the One80Center staff, allowing him to skip urine tests, buy illicit drugs online and exchange texts on his iPhone with drug dealers.

One80Center when it was open. Patch file photo.
One80Center when it was open. Patch file photo.

A former Beverly Hills rehabilitation center that was once the former home of Elizabeth Taylor is being sued by a second family stemming from the death of one of its patients.

Stephen and Jessica Galletta, the children of Jean Galletta, filed the wrongful death/negligence suit Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court against One80Center. Also named are former center CEO Alex Shohet, his wife, former clinical director Bernadine Fried, and Justin Carroll, a co-founder of the facility.

The suit seeks unspecified damages.

David Leatherberry, an attorney for Shohet and Fried, did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

According to the complaint, Galletta struggled with alcoholism most of her life but was determined to overcome her addiction after her husband died in 2010. Until her death on April 27, 2012, she resided at one of two sober-living residences on Sunset Plaza Drive in Los Angeles that was outside the main facility and former Taylor home on Summitridge Drive, the suit states.   

The second residence, located in Laurel Canyon, was once the home of illusionist Harry Houdini, according to the lawsuit.   

Galletta was provided little supervision and counseling and her mental condition was not adequately monitored, the suit states. She suffered two relapses and was involved in two automobile accidents the day of her death, according to the complaint.

At about 8 p.m. the night of her death, Galletta called her sister, Joann Mercer, to let her know she was unhappy about being moved around between the main facility and the Sunset Plaza Drive home so often and that she was having a bad reaction to the anti-anxiety drug Klonopin, the suit states.

Galletta's roommate later complained that the woman was smoking in the bathroom, but One80Center staff members waited 20 minutes to check on her, according to the complaint.

"At 10:08 p.m, Galletta was pronounced dead by the Los Angeles Fire Department," the suit states.

Last Aug. 9, the same defendants were sued by Steven and Lauren Witkoff, the parents of deceased client Andrew Witkoff. He died of an OxyContin overdose on Aug. 14, 2011, at age 22 while alone in his room at the Sunset Plaza Drive home.

Steven Witkoff is a wealthy Manhattan real estate mogul whose holdings include the Woolworth Building.   

The complaint alleges Andrew Witkoff also was not properly supervised by the One80Center staff, allowing him to skip urine tests, buy illicit drugs online and exchange texts on his iPhone with drug dealers.

"Andrew obtained and used cocaine, together with alcohol, while on an off-site trip when he was supposed to be under the direct supervision of his sober companion," according to the Witkoff complaint.

The One80Center charged clients up to $550,000 per month for its services, according to the Galletta complaint.

--City News Service


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