Wrongful Death Suit Filed Against Healthcare Facility, Alleging Failure to Offer Protective Equipment

A suit originally filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey against defendants Alaris Health, LLC, and related entities and individuals was removed to federal court Wednesday. The plaintiff is suing on behalf of a deceased nursing assistant at Hamilton Park Healthcare Center, which was later purchased by the defendants.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the defendants began to restrict visitation rights to the facility. The deceased, per the complaint, “exposed herself to minimal risk of COVID-19 infection outside her workplace.” When members of the staff began to exhibit signs of COVID-19, she expressed her concerns to the defendants; who allegedly assured her that “COVID-19 was not present at Alaris and that these symptoms were due to pneumonia and/or seasonal flu.”

Despite requests from their staff, the defendants purportedly never provided their staff with any type of personal protective equipment (PPE). This included PPE such as masks, gowns, and eyewear. The complaint alleges that the defendants “even discouraged or prohibited the use of masks until late March [of 2020].”

The plaintiff asserts that the defendants intentionally concealed the fact that staff and patients had tested positive and displayed symptoms of COVID-19. The complaint said that after returning home from work one evening, the decedent began to feel ill. The next day, she went for a test that revealed she was positive for COVID-19. After being placed on a respirator and ventilator, she passed away died on April 5, 2020.

The plaintiff contends that by ignoring safety concerns raised by their staff, refusing to provide PPE to their staff, and hiding COVID-19 cases from their staff, the defendants breached their common law duty not to intentionally subject employees to substantially certain harm. The complaint cites one count of intentional tort.

The plaintiff is represented by Matsikoudis & Fanciullo, LLC.