lawyers in suits with clipboards

Nursing homes across the country are being sued in growing numbers over alleged negligence and wrongful deaths related to COVID-19, court-watchers say.

“Certainly, we are seeing the threat and looming cases filed in spades across the country against nursing homes for COVID-19-related deaths and injuries,” attorney Neville M. Bilimoria, a partner at Duane Morris LLP in Chicago, told the McKnight’s Business Daily.

“Many plaintiff attorneys are focusing on infection control issues in nursing homes and/or reduced staffing in nursing homes over the COVID-19 pandemic and attributing those focus areas towards liability for injuries or deaths that occurred during COVID-19,” said Bilimoria, part of the firm’s Health Law Practice Group and Post-Acute Care and Senior Services Subgroup.

New York is a “key legal hotspot” for these types of cases right now, because a deadline to sue is approaching, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, but providers are being sued across the country.

“It’s going to be a knock-down, drag-out battle,” Steven M. Levin, the founder and senior partner of Levin & Perconti in Chicago, told the media outlet. “It’s probably going to take years to get some of these cases to trial.”

His office brought 78 cases against nursing homes for alleged COVID-19 negligence and deaths in March alone, the newspaper reported.

Elsewhere, a New Jersey nursing home operator is facing a class action lawsuit from family members where nine residents allegedly died from COVID-19 and 89 were infected. The lawsuit claims the nursing home failed to take proper precautions and was negligent from the start of the pandemic, reported Tuesday. 

Nursing homes aren’t the only long-term care providers facing legal actions. 

Donna J. Fudge, an attorney with Florida-based Fudge Broadwater P.A., told McKnight’s that assisted living and other types of long-term care facilities should be concerned, because plaintiff’s attorneys are willing to “disregard reality” in bringing COVID-19 negligence claims. Fudge is representing senior living communities and nursing homes across the country against similar claims.

Bilimoria said the COVID-19 lawsuits against skilled nursing facilities and senior living communities are not unexpected.

“[We] attorneys for nursing homes and assisted living facilities knew these suits were coming. They are coming now, and they will be coming for the foreseeable future against nursing homes and assisted living facilities alike,” he said.