A Toronto lawyer representing a son who lost his mother to COVID-19 at a Hamilton-area nursing home hopes her proposed class-action lawsuit “holds companies accountable.”
“Our No. 1 priority is to hold companies accountable, as usually large amounts of money are not rewarded, but we hope everyone will join (the class action suit) to have a meaningful impact and bring about permanent change for the better,” said medical malpractice specialist Pinta Maguire, who filed the lawsuit on Friday.
The 15-year lawyer represents Mike McCarroll, who is the representative plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit against Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville, a private for-profit retirement and long-term care facility.
Mike McCarroll, the only child of Ruby McCarroll who lived at Anson Place, is grieving the loss of his 95-year-old mother, who died of COVID-19 on March 30.
Three days earlier, a nurse told Mike McCarroll — who was visiting his mom after being informed earlier that she was gravely ill — that his mom had tested positive for COVID-19.
The nurse also informed him that another Anson Place resident had died earlier of COVID-19.
The lawsuit — which has not yet been tested in court — asserts that “to date, 27 of 101 total residents living in Anson Place have passed away from COVID-19 related complications, representing over 25% of Anson Place’s total population.
“This was the first time Michael was informed of a COVID-19 outbreak at Anson Place, let alone that his mother had COVID-19, or had been tested for it,” the lawsuit alleged.
“Ruby passed away from COVID-19 related complications on March 30, 2020. She died alone without Michael or any family by her side.”
The lawsuit alleges “the defendants failed to protect the residents living in their homes through their inadequate general planning and preparation for a viral respiratory outbreak.
“In the months after COVID-19 emerged on the world stage and before any outbreaks in Ontario, the defendants again failed to protect the residents in their homes by not putting in place adequate measures to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 virus,” the lawsuit alleges.
“After the COVID-19 virus took root in Canada, the defendants again failed to protect the residents living in their homes by repeatedly failing to follow the leadership of public health officials and comply with public health guidance and directives regarding: (1) outbreak planning; (2) supply, use, and access to personal protective equipment.
“As a result of the defendants’ failure to adequately and properly plan, prepare and respond to the COVID-19 virus, the virus has run rampant through many of their homes,” the lawsuit adds.
Maguire said in an interview that “COVID-19 has exposed private companies for profit.”
“They are trusted with the care of the most vulnerable members of our society, our grandparents and our parents. Once this started, it should have been extinguished immediately,” she said.
Maguire has litigated many cases against institutions involving the “loss of loved ones by hospitals and plastic surgeon clinics.”
The defendants have been served with the lawsuit notice but their lawyers haven’t yet filed a notice of defence.
“Mike McCarroll is obviously grieving but due to COVID-19 restrictions, he cannot gather with the people who support you in his loss,” Maguire noted.