N.J. nursing home negligence killed my father, son alleges in class action lawsuit

Posted On:   16 May 2020

New Jersey, US – 16th May, 2020: The son of a man who died from complications with the corona virus at a beleaguered nursing home has filed a class action lawsuit against the facility, alleging rampant negligence caused the man’s death, along with at least 80 other residents so far.

Bernard Maglioli, son of Joseph Maglioli, filed the individual and class action lawsuit April 28 in Sussex County Superior Court, alleging widespread malpractice and negligence on the part of Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center I and II, the home’s management and its owners Chaim “Mutty” Scheinbaum and Louis Schwartz.

“Mr. Maglioli’s death and that of the other residents/patients were a direct result of defendants’ failures to take measures to protect them at the facilities from the deadly Covid-19 virus, and/or medical malpractice,” the lawsuit says. Joseph Maglioli’s cause of death was confirmed as infection from COVID-19, according to the suit.

The lawsuit claims that nursing home management should have been aware of the coronavirus as far back as January and of nursing home residents’ particular susceptibility to the virus, citing reports of some of the nation’s first deaths coming from nursing homes in Seattle, Washington.

But, the lawsuit alleges, the center’s management did not prepare.

“Despite these facts, defendants failed to take the proper steps to protect the residents and/or patients at their facilities from the Covid-19 virus,” the suit said.

In a statement, Scheinbaum reiterated claims that the facility had taken steps like social distancing and separating sick patients to mitigate the crisis, but acknowledged the difficulties of containing a spread within a nursing home. He did not comment on the lawsuit.

“Despite all our efforts, the virus made its way into our facility, as it did in the majority of long-term care facilities across the state,” Scheinbaum said. “No matter how vigilant a nursing facility is or how well it prepares, the reality is that nursing homes are not physically designed to manage pandemics, and their populations are by definition particularly susceptible to COVID-19. Once the virus enters a nursing home, it can have devastating effects.”

The lawsuit also claims that the center’s management initially provided masks only to registered nurses, ignoring other staff who interacted with residents, including nursing assistants, housekeepers and therapists.

In previous interviews with NJ Advance Media, a former and current nurse at the home’s larger building, Andover II, both claimed that when the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office dropped off a shipment of personal protective equipment, it was all kept under lock and key.

Scheinbaum’s statement did not address these allegations.

“We do not comment on pending litigation,” former state Attorney General Christopher Porrino, Scheinbaum’s attorney, said in a statement.

As part of the class action claim, the suit also asks whether the center allegedly permitting visitors and employees to come to work without temperature checks or without requiring them to wear protective masks or gear exacerbated the outbreak.

The nursing home, one of the lower-rated in the nation by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, consists of Andover I on one side of Mulford Road, and Andover II — the epicenter of the home’s coronavirus outbreak — on the other. Andover II, the larger building, has 543 beds and houses dementia and Alzheimer’s disease patients and residents with mental health issues.

The sprawling facility was cast into the national spotlight when a makeshift morgue crammed with 17 bodies was discovered the day after Easter Sunday. Since the discovery, the nursing home has remained one of the hardest hit of a long list of long term care facilities and nursing homes ravaged by the virus.

As of May 13, there have been 241 cases of the coronavirus and 74 deaths linked to the coronavirus at Andover, according to state department of health data.

Although not commenting directly on the lawsuit, the home’s administrator Cynthia Bradford wrote in a column for NJ Advance Media on Tuesday that she took issue with media coverage of the center’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying that many reports had “unfairly suggested” that there had been mismanagement.
“The truth is, Andover consists of a first-rate team of employees who risk their own health and well-being to serve our most vulnerable,” Bradford wrote.

According to Bradford, the home took “proactive steps” in the early days of the pandemic to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including forming a COVID-19 committee to address staffing and supplies of PPE. But along with claims that PPE was kept from staff, former and current nurses also told NJ Advance Media that they had been working with a skeleton crew as recently as early April.

Last week, Governor Phil Murphy announced that 22 National Guardsmen would be deployed to help Andover with non-medical needs, including basic staffing and cleaning.

The class action suit includes 83 unnamed plaintiffs, but says there may be more forthcoming. The family of a woman who died at the facility after contracting the coronavirus has retained an attorney who said he plans to file a lawsuit against the facility alleging wrongful death, professional malpractice and mishandling of a corpse.

Source: https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/05/nj-nursing-home-negligence-killed-my-father-son-alleges-in-class-action-lawsuit.html