After NY Repeals Immunity, Judge Allows Covid-19 Lawsuit Against Nursing Home To Proceed
During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law giving nursing homes in NY immunity from liability for Covid-19 related deaths.
The Emergency Disaster Treatment Protection Act (EDTPA) meant that families of patients who died from Covid-19 while under a nursing home or rehabilitation center’s care could not pursue damages even if the actions of health care professionals contributed to their deaths.
The NY assembly voted to repeal the act, and the Senate similarly followed. The repeal became effective in March 2021.
The repeal of immunity for health care providers opened the door for negligence lawsuits related to Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes. However, it is unclear how these lawsuits will resolve and how the courts interpret the application of the EDTPA and its repeal.
Complaint Against Nursing Home Alleges Gross Negligence And Wrongful Death
At least one judge has decided that a lawsuit can proceed to the discovery stage. News station WKBW out of Buffalo, NY, reported that an Erie County judge denied a nursing home’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it over the Covid-19 death of a resident.
The complaint was filed in April 2021 by Cecelia Robertson on behalf of her sister’s estate, 64-year-old Annette Herron. Herron was a resident at the Humboldt House and Rehabilitation Nursing Center in Buffalo, NY, where she died from Covid-19 in April 2020.
The complaint alleges that Humboldt House failed to properly manage the Covid-19 outbreak that occurred in the nursing home. The complaint accuses the nursing home of negligence, wrongful death, gross negligence, and malpractice.
New York Judge Denies Nursing Home’s Motion to Dismiss Covid-19 Lawsuit
The nursing home filed with the court a motion to dismiss the complaint claiming all health care providers were immune from liability for Covid-related deaths under the EDTPA. The death of Annette Heron occurred during the time the EDTPA was in place, protecting the nursing home from potential liability.
The plaintiff argued that the immunity law did not protect the nursing home for two reasons:
- When NY repealed the immunity law, it intended to make it retroactive.
- Even if immunity did exist under the EDTPA, it only applies to acts of negligence. This complaint contains allegations of gross negligence, which would not fall under the immunity law.
The lawyer for the victim’s estate stated, “our claims for gross negligence was not included under the immunity law even if it did still exist. And reckless conduct, intentional or willful conduct was never excused under the immunity provisions.”
The judge denied the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss and allowed the case to move forward into the discovery phase. The decision applies to this case only but might have interesting ramifications on additional lawsuits against nursing homes for Covid-related deaths in NY.
Call Alonso Krangle, LLP If Your Loved One Died While Living In A NY Nursing Home
Call our nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys today if someone you love died or was seriously injured in a NY nursing home during the Covid-19 pandemic. We offer free evaluations of nursing home claims to determine if you are entitled to seek compensation for the injuries or death of your loved one.
Call Alonso Krangle, LLP today at 800-403-6191 to protect your legal right to file a Covid-19 lawsuit against a nursing home.
You can read the entire complaint here: