Defamation Lawsuit Filed Against Former Prairie Ridge Workers

4/15/17 – A defamation lawsuit has been filed against former workers of Prairie Ridge Assisted Living that says they orchestrated a scheme to harm the reputation of the Beaver Dam facility. Attorneys for Prairie Ridge owner Michael Eisenga filed the civil lawsuit Thursday in Dodge County Circuit Court against Nichole Terlisner, Elizabeth Kohlstedt and Cynthia Piggott, who are all from Beaver Dam. The lawsuit stems from an alleged incident on March 3 that was later reported in the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen and Fox 6 News. Terlisner reportedly made 14 calls to family members of facility residents, claiming that she was the only employee on site because everybody quit and urging one family member to call 911 to report the understaffing and contact the owner. The lawsuit disputes the claims saying that Terlisner pressured employees to leave the facility, threatening that police were on their way in one instance and offering $20 to comply. The suit also accused Kohlstedt of stating in an online comment section for the published story that “Eisenga is also trying to open a facility in Mayville and we are hoping to stop him.” Eisenga maintains that all of his facilities have “on call guidelines” to address staffing issues that include first calling the executive director to request extra staff, a phone number that is available to all employees. The lawsuit states that at no time did Terlisner attempt to follow that protocol. Terlisner and Kohlstedt, who were both caregivers, were named because they told their story of understaffing to print and television media. Piggot, a former executive director at Prairie Ridge’s Waupun facility, was named because she made comments to Fox 6 and in online comment sections. Among other things, Piggott said she was fired because rooms were not filled. Eisenga denies that claim saying that he was not in the building when she was fired. Our calls to the defendants in this case were not immediately returned. The lawsuit does not specify a specific monetary amount but seeks compensatory and punitive damages, court costs and an injunction prohibiting the three from further defamation.