Family of Roberta Place resident launches $50M class-action lawsuit

The lawsuit comes as COVID cases at the Barrie facility increased and 53 people died

PRESS RELEASE
OATLEY VIGMOND
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Roberta Place in Barrie, Ontario has recently seen a staggering surge in COVID-19 cases in its nursing home, as well as 53 deaths in the past few weeks. Families of Roberta Place residents now want responses and a class action lawsuit has been initiated against Barrie Long Term Care Center Inc., Jarlette Holdings Inc., Jarlette Limited and Roberta Place Retirement Lodge Inc.

Marcella Lambie is the representative plaintiff and serves as counsel for her brother, George Head. Mr. Head has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and his condition is worsening. Ms. Lambie and others would like to hold Roberta Place responsible for what they describe as “gross negligence” for failing to protect their residents from the virus. Almost all residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

An inspection conducted earlier this month found the house was not in compliance with proper protocols to ensure the safety of residents, allowing both confirmed positive COVID-19 patients and those who had not yet tested positive for the virus to share rooms. A ministry of long-term care inspector stated in an inspection report dated January 18, 2021 that residents’ staff and cohort protocols were not being followed.

Following the inspection, conducted on Jan. 12-13, the Department of Long-Term Care found that the “licensee has not ensured that the home is a safe environment for its residents”.

“The inspector identified living spaces that were shared by both confirmed COVID-19 positive residents and residents who were not confirmed to be COVID-19. A Personal Support Worker (PSW) stated that the residents of these common rooms often come into close contact with one another, ”the inspection report says.

“Certain employees looked after both confirmed COVID-19 positive residents and residents who were not confirmed to be COVID-19. The administrator stated that a cohort of employees in all residential areas is not always possible. “

The inspector also found that the house did not strictly follow the policy of keeping all residents in isolation under drip and contact precautions.

There are currently 128 active COVID-19 cases among residents of the nursing home, which has a total of 137 beds. There are also 84 active COVID-19 cases among the staff. Unfortunately, 53 residents and an important caregiver died after the outbreak. Families are looking for answers. “How can that happen in a private care facility almost a year after a pandemic?” asked Ms. Lambie, whose brother is paying more than $ 2,700 a month, to live on Roberta Place. “We should expect more from our nursing homes and hold them accountable for what they have done.”

Gayle Brock of Brock Medical Malpractice Law, a senior attorney on the case, advised, “Ms. Lambie started this lawsuit because she entrusted Roberta Place to look after and protect her brother. Roberta Place is his home, and it failed him. “Ms. Brock confirmed that the lawsuit has been initiated and that the owners of Roberta Place will have to respond to the lawsuit in the near future.

For class action questions, please contact Gayle Brock at Brock Medical Malpractice Law, 705-739-4022, gtbrock@brockmedmal.com or Robert Durante at Oatley Vigmond, 705-726-9021, rdurante@oatleyvigmond.com.

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