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Florida Brain-Injury Facility Sued by Regions Bank

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Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation Inc., a brain-injury facility where patients allegedly have been abused or neglected by staff, was sued by a unit of Regions Financial Corp. over $31 million in defaulted real-estate loans.

Regions Bank said in a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Tampa, Florida, that it wants a court-appointed receiver to oversee the facility that secures the loans.

The Wauchula-based facility, known as FINR, stopped making payments on the loans in August, according to the complaint. The transitional living facility draws patients from across the U.S. and abroad and is said by competitors to be the largest such rehabilitation center in the country.

Caregivers at a the institute have beat patients, goaded them to fight each other and fondle female employees and in one instance laughed at complaints of mistreatment, according to investigative reports by state officials released to Bloomberg News.

The center is fighting a state directive that it move about 50 patients to other facilities. That order followed a Bloomberg story revealing a history of violence at the center southeast of Tampa.

Michael Markham, a lawyer who represents FINR and its owner Joseph Brennick in a separate lawsuit by Allstate Insurance Co., didn’t immediately return a call to his office in Clearwater, Florida, after regular business hours yesterday seeking comment on the Regions Bank complaint.

The case is Regions Bank v. Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation Inc., 13-00047, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Tampa).

To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at epettersson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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