The owners of the one-star nursing home, however, have said they did everything they could to prevent patients from contracting coronavirus.
A New Jersey nursing home is facing a class action after local authorities found a makeshift morgue housing the bodies of 17 coronavirus patients.
NJ.com reports that the lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of Sussex County by New Jersey resident Brian Roberts, whose uncle, Albert, died from coronavirus on April 1st.
Albert Roberts, says the lawsuit, was a victim of administrative negligence at Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center I and II.
The Center, claims Brian, was aware of the risks posed by coronavirus but did not take adequate measures to mitigate the disease’s spread.
“Despite the very serious risk of outbreak at the Facilities, and the dire consequences that would result if one were to occur, Defendants failed to take reasonable or adequate precautions to protect their residents and/or patients against the potential spread of COVID-19,” the lawsuit states.
Roberts, notes NJ.com, also accused Andover of violating state and federal statutes governing nursing home procedures and protocol.
In his lawsuit, Roberts says that Andover made “false promises, misrepresentations and deceptive statements” by marketing its centers as both high-quality and in compliance with federal law.
In reality, though, Andover had received a single star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal entity that assesses the quality of long-term care facilities.
According to NJ.com, CMS had cited Andover I for 24 regulatory violations, with Andover II receiving 48 regulatory violations.
“Roberts and the Decedent would not have chosen the Facilities for Decedent’s nursing home/rehabilitation services, or would not have paid what they did had they known Defendants’ representations regarding the quality and safety of the Facilities were false and deceptive,” the lawsuit states.
However, Andover owner Chaim Scheinbaum—who is named as a defendant alongside co-owner Louis Schwartz—has maintained his nursing home had taken early steps to prevent residents from contracting coronavirus.
“We monitored and complied with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines,” Scheinbaum said. “Despite all our efforts, the virus made its way into our facility, as it did in the majority of long-term care facilities across New Jersey. We took every possible step to handle this crisis internally while simultaneously making dozens of outreaches to local, state, and federal agencies for help.”
Scheinbaum further said that Andover has not had a single resident test positive for coronavirus since mid-May.
Robert’s lawsuit, notes NJ.com, is not the only one that has been filed against Andover I and II.
Joseph Maglioli, the son of another Andover resident who died from coronavirus, is also suing the nursing home and its administrators.
But in response to Maglioli’s lawsuit, Andover’s management said that some residents—like Maglioli—were already so ill they would not have benefited from additional medical aid.
“Plaintiffs’ conditions were the direct and proximate result of the natural degenerative changes of the human body, and have ‘and would have’ occurred despite any and all intervention, prescription and treatment, or lack thereof, by these defendants,” Andover said.