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More lawsuits on the horizon for Good Samaritan as Ian anniversary passes

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Teresa Kountz is still yearning for the moment she will have a place to call her own again.

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Until last year, Kountz was living the dream life as a tenant of Good Samaritan near Kissimmee, close to her friends, good stores and restaurants and in a place committed with giving seniors an affordable place to retire.

That changed when Hurricane Ian struck Central Florida, flooding the Kissimmee campus for a second time. Dozens of buildings were submerged by feet of water, and needed to be destroyed, including Kountz’.

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One year later, Kountz is living with her daughter in southern Lake County, and still seeking reimbursement from Good Samaritan after losing everything she owned.

“Everything that had any sentimental value that could’ve been salvaged, was not able to be salvaged,” she said, explaining that the complex’s sewer system backed up into her unit.

She asked Good Samaritan for $22,000, which the complex refused to do, citing a clause in her lease that exempted them from liability for several disaster-related causes.

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Kountz said none of them mentioned the sewer system.

She and her attorneys said Good Samaritan was ignoring them and gumming up the process at every turn. She said she signed the paperwork to file a lawsuit against the complex on Wednesday, adding to a growing pile in state and federal court.

“The part that is missing is the humaneness of us,” she said. “We’re just not a person with belongings. We’re also people with heartaches, dismays, sadness.”

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Good Samaritan has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation. Leaders sent over a statement referencing their attempts to sell the organization’s Florida properties as the recovery continues.

“The Good Samaritan Society is committed to working through the recovery process in Kissimmee Village before a transition takes place in order to best support our residents, employees and families,” Vice President Aimee Middleton wrote. “We will continue to provide support to our residents and staff during this time and will communicate new information as it becomes available.”

Anyone who plans to file a lawsuit for damage to their home or business caused by Hurricane Ian must do so within the next year, before the statute of limitations runs out.

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