Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit Could Be Headed To SCOTUS
A wrongful death lawsuit stemming from nursing home neglect could be headed to SCOTUS. A Kansas facility lost 25 residents and saw more than 100 infections during the height of the pandemic. The facility was cited by officials after their infection control protocols failed miserably and cost 25 families their loved ones. A health department spokesperson said that immediate attention was required by the national owner of the nursing home to remedy the situation as quickly as possible, but by the time any measures became effective, 25 people had already lost their lives and 75 more were fighting for theirs. The health department spokesperson mentioned the word “fraud” in his rebuke of the facility.
Why is this lawsuit so controversial?
The lawsuit itself is not controversial, but counsel for the defendants is attempting to use Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to circumvent liability rules. The PREP Act was passed by then-President George W. Bush who insulated drug makers from liability regarding their H1N1 vaccines. Defendant’s counsel is hoping to use the legislation to protect this particular nursing home from these particular allegations. It is unclear that the law can be used in that way, but if it can, it could prevent all lawsuits against nursing homes stemming from the pandemic. Thus far, the rulings have gone against the nursing home industry, but there may be some political maneuvering to attempt to use the law this way. Meanwhile, the nursing home is happy to stall the process of the case reaching a jury for as long as humanly possible.
The likely outcome of this lawsuit
The outcome of this lawsuit depends entirely on whether or not you believe the PREP Act can be applied to nursing homes. To qualify, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services would be required to issue a PREP Act declaration that forced the provisions of the act to be activated. Such a declaration would provide immunity from liability claims during the declaration.
The original intent of the law was to prevent those who supplied pandemic-related countermeasures (such as vaccines, drugs, and other necessities) from liability. The idea was to ensure that these companies weren’t working under the threat of lawsuit when attempting to help the American public.
If you believe that the PREP Act applies to nursing homes (because they are “pandemic countermeasures”) then you believe that the lawsuits should be quashed. If you believe, as would make sense, that nursing homes are facilities for sick people to get better, then you would find in favor of the plaintiffs.
However, there could be a gray area. In some places, nursing homes were used as pandemic countermeasures to house those who required respirators or other serious interventions. However, it’s not clear that this was the case with this particular nursing home.
Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Attorney Today
Most nursing home lawsuits resulting from COVID are blocked by legislation, but you can still call the Miami personal injury attorneys at the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. today for a free case evaluation.