Park Slope

Wrongful death suit of Brooklyn ‘Kung Fu Judge’ Phillips moving ahead

Hearing set for January

November 20, 2014 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Prospect Park Residence. Photo courtesy of Google, data ©2014 Google Maps
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Samuel Boykin, administrator of the estate of famed Brooklyn “Kung Fu Judge” John Phillips, is moving ahead with his suit against the Prospect Park Residence, which he blames for the death of his uncle.

On Thursday, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald Kurtz set a hearing date for Jan. 9, 2015.

The controversial Park Slope assisted living facility has recently been in the news for evicting more than a hundred elderly residents prior to a sale to developers.

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Civil Court Judge Phillips, who trained in kung fu and owned numerous properties in Brooklyn, including the historic Slave Theater in Bed-Stuy, died while being confined to the residence — as his vast estate disappeared into the hands of court-appointed “guardians.”

Phillips allegedly was not allowed visits from friends, didn’t get the special meals and insulin he needed for his diabetes, and his health deteriorated.

Attorney John O’Hara, who is representing Boykin and five other families suing the facility’s owner Haysha Deitsch, said the state Department of Health “raided” the home in 2009 and found that Deitsch was operating a nursing home without a license for years.

“He was told to remove 36 people immediately. He ignored it and they all died,” O’Hara alleged.

O’Hara said that Judge Phillips froze to death in his room at the home. “The heat had been shut off for two weeks,” he said. “It was pretty sad. Nursing homes have pretty strict regulations. Because the facility was not licensed, there were no backup generators.”

A spokesperson for the Prospect Park Residence told the Brooklyn Eagle, “In light of the fact that there is a pending legal matter, we are unable to comment at this time.”

In a groundbreaking series of articles in 2006 and 2007, Brooklyn Eagle reporter Charles Sweeney reported about the investigation into the mishandling of the retired judge’s estate after his involuntary confinement, first in the Bronx, then in Brooklyn.

Families of current residents are also suing Deitsch, saying he cut back on required services in his quest to empty the facility in order to sell it to developers. Justice Saitta will be hearing these contempt charges on Monday, Nov. 24 at 10 a.m.


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