Extendicare now hit with $200 million class-action lawsuit over long-term care deaths

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

Revealed Wednesday, January 13, 2021 2:49PM EST

TORONTO – A proposed class motion towards a outstanding nursing-home firm now covers all its amenities, together with these hit hardest by COVID-19, and seeks greater than $200 million in damages, in line with a contemporary assertion of declare.

The unproven declare alleges Extendicare failed to reply correctly to the pandemic and was negligent within the care of residents.

“The plaintiffs plead that the defendants behaved in a reprehensible and unconscionable method by failing to implement an sufficient COVID-19 response plan,” the swimsuit alleges.

“The defendants had a historical past of failing to implement correctly, or in any respect, an sufficient infection-control program.”

The same $500-million lawsuit introduced on Wednesday additionally names Extendicare in addition to different long-term care suppliers throughout Ontario resembling Chartwell and Sienna Senior Residing.

The unproven declare additionally names the Ontario authorities together with a number of cities, resembling Toronto, Essex, Ottawa and Hamilton. The swimsuit is the primary to allege a number of branches of presidency have been culpable for COVID-19 deaths, its legal professionals mentioned.

Extendicare both owns or operates 71 long-term care amenities in Ontario. One in every of its properties, Tendercare Residing Centre in east finish Toronto, has seen at the very least 73 residents die of COVID-19 – one of many worst-hit long-term care amenities in Canada.

A second Extendicare-run facility, Orchard Villa in Pickering, Ont., has had at the very least 70 deaths, in line with the newest provincial knowledge.

The proposed lead plaintiff, Peggy Hannon, is a disabled resident of West Finish Villa in Ottawa. Her declare would come with all residents of an Extendicare facility as of Jan. 25, 2020 or, if they’ve since died, their estates. Hannon’s daughter, Suzanne Zagallai, proposes to signify kinfolk.

“Extendicare owns or manages the 2 most severely devastated long-term care amenities in Ontario,” Stephen Birman, one of many plaintiffs’ legal professionals mentioned in a press release. “Extendicare continues to be cited for infractions relating to an infection management.

In a press release on Wednesday, the corporate mentioned it could reply to the allegations by means of “applicable authorized channels” sooner or later.

“Our focus presently is solely on offering high quality care to our residents, and supporting our households and workforce members,” the assertion mentioned. “Our hearts are with our neighborhood and those that have misplaced family members to this virus.”

In keeping with its company profile, the corporate’s 23,000 staff function or present contract companies to a community of 122 long-term care properties and retirement communities.

The proposed Extendicare class motion was initially filed in September solely towards West Finish Villa in Ottawa and sought $16 million.

Since then, COVID-19 has ravaged different amenities, together with Tendercare. Amongst those that have died there just lately have been Ping Qiu.

“We now have many questions as to why Tendercare was not ready for the second wave and why Tendercare was not in a position to defend my grandmother,” Reed Zhao, her grandson, mentioned in a press release.

As just lately as final month, a authorities inspection after a lethal COVID-19 outbreak that affected residents and employees cited Tendercare for violating infection-prevention protocols. Points included “inconsistent” controls and an inconsistent provide of protecting gear.

“Consequently,” the inspection report states, “the illness unfold quickly all through the house and there have been quite a lot of resident deaths and in addition quite a lot of residents who’ve examined constructive.”

Extendicare’s newest monetary statements present long-term-care revenues rose to $523.four million for the 9 months ended Sept. 30, 2020 – from $477.1 million in the identical interval the earlier 12 months. The corporate additionally just lately introduced shareholders would obtain $zero.04 per share for December.

In a tweet final June, New Democrat Chief Jagmeet Singh denounced Extendicare for short-changing residents to the good thing about shareholders.

“In the course of the worst of the disaster, Extendicare gave $10 million to shareholders when solely spending $300,000 on care of seniors and whereas dozens of seniors died from of their care,” Singh mentioned.

The plaintiffs additionally notice that Extendicare Care in the US paid $38 million in October 2014 in a settlement after an investigation into a few of its American amenities. Quickly after, the corporate introduced the sale of its American portfolio for US $870 million.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Jan. 13, 2021.