Willie M. Franklin, son of a woman who froze to death in January on the grounds of the District-run D.C. Village nursing home, is seeking $5 million in damages from the city government in a suit filed in D.C. Superior Court.

The suit alleges that District officials and D.C. Village employes were negligent in allowing 86-year-old Wilhelmina Franklin to wander freely throughout the nursing home facilities, that Franklin's unit was understaffed, that the staff did not conduct an adequate search for her and that D.C. police were not notified for several hours after she was missing.

A spokesman for the D.C. Department of Human Services, which runs the nursing home in Southwest Washington, said DHS officials would have no comment on the suit, which was filed Tuesday.

In addition to the District government, the suit names as defendants DHS Director David E. Rivers; D.C. Public Health Commissioner Andrew McBride; Paul A. Lavigne, administrator of the D.C. long-term care administration; Michael Apa, deputy director of D.C. Village and an unspecified number of "Jane Does" with responsibilities at the nursing home.

Franklin was found frozen to death at 4 a.m. Jan. 16, wearing only light clothing and lying on the ground next to her tipped-over wheelchair.

She had last been seen at 8:40 p.m. Jan. 15 and was missing from hourly bed checks after that, but a search for her did not begin until she still was not in her room for the 11 p.m. check.

D.C. Village is the subject of another lawsuit resulting from a second unusual fatality this year. George Spells, 71, died April 1 as a result of injuries he suffered March 19 from scalding bath water. His sister, Katheryn Spells Jackson, filed suit in D.C. Superior Court in April, seeking $4 million in damages from the District government.

The Franklin suit alleges that D.C. officials "negligently discharged their respective duties by failing to hire sufficient personnel to adequately staff D.C. Village and to properly supervise its residents."

It also said nursing home staff "conducted an untimely, inadequate search for Mrs. Franklin using inadequate equipment which was not in proper operating condition."

After the two unusual deaths, Rivers told McBride to take direct control of the facility, which had been administered by Lavigne. McBride has made recommendations for changes in policy at the nursing home, but these have not yet been approved by Rivers or D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, a spokeswoman said. Family Sues Over Death at D.C. Village Kin of Freezing Victim At City-Run Nursing Home Seek $5 Million By Sandra Evans Washington Post Staff Writer

Willie M. Franklin, son of a woman who froze to death in January on the grounds of the District-run D.C. Village nursing home, is seeking $5 million in damages from the city government in a suit filed in D.C. Superior Court.

The suit alleges that District officials and D.C. Village employes were negligent in allowing 86-year-old Wilhelmina Franklin to wander freely throughout the nursing home facilities, that Franklin's unit was understaffed, that the staff did not conduct an adequate search for her and that D.C. police were not notified for several hours after she was missing.

A spokesman for the D.C. Department of Human Services, which runs the nursing home in Southwest Washington, said DHS officials would have no comment on the suit, which was filed Tuesday.

In addition to the District government, the suit names as defendants DHS Director David E. Rivers; D.C. Public Health Commissioner Andrew McBride; Paul A. Lavigne, administrator of the D.C. long-term care administration; Michael Apa, deputy director of D.C. Village and an unspecified number of "Jane Does" with responsibilities at the nursing home.

Franklin was found frozen to death at 4 a.m. Jan. 16, wearing only light clothing and lying on the ground next to her tipped-over wheelchair.

She had last been seen at 8:40 p.m. Jan. 15 and was missing from hourly bed checks after that, but a search for her did not begin until she still was not in her room for the 11 p.m. check.

D.C. Village is the subject of another lawsuit resulting from a second unusual fatality this year. George Spells, 71, died April 1 as a result of injuries he suffered March 19 from scalding bath water. His sister, Katheryn Spells Jackson, filed suit in D.C. Superior Court in April, seeking $4 million in damages from the District government.

The Franklin suit alleges that D.C. officials "negligently discharged their respective duties by failing to hire sufficient personnel to adequately staff D.C. Village and to properly supervise its residents."

It also said nursing home staff "conducted an untimely, inadequate search for Mrs. Franklin using inadequate equipment which was not in proper operating condition."

After the two unusual deaths, Rivers told McBride to take direct control of the facility, which had been administered by Lavigne. McBride has made recommendations for changes in policy at the nursing home, but these have not yet been approved by Rivers or D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, a spokeswoman said.