Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

COVID-19 Outbreak Prompts Nursing Home Lawsuit in PA

Published on Oct 26, 2020 at 11:33 am in Nursing Home Abuse.

Elderly person holding hands with loved one

A lawsuit against a Pittsburgh-area nursing home has been filed in Pennsylvania state court after a COVID-19 outbreak resulted in infection and death throughout the facility. The lawsuit is claiming the nursing home’s reckless, willful, and wanton conduct is the reason the outbreak took as many lives as it did.

Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services LLC in Beaver County has been accused of negligently operating its facility, Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, by failing to take proper measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus among patients and staff. The lawsuit, filed by Jodi Gill and several others, also claims the nursing home failed to provide staff with personal protective equipment while downplaying the severity of the virus—even as it spread through the facility.

The facility houses more than 330 patients. Over the course of the outbreak, most residents contracted COVID-19 and at least 80 died. As of October 14, 334 patients and 117 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. The lawsuit, however, has only be filed on behalf of 15 patients—10 of whom died.

According to Tremella Celestin, a certified nursing assistant who worked at the home until late May, Brighton did not perform widespread testing of residents, kept inaccurate records for those who tested positive, and failed to properly quarantine infected residents. According to her declaration, she was typically required to care for more than 40 residents during the 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. shift. She was unable to properly do her job because of the understaffing.

The suit notes that it does not fault any frontline workers for the patients’ injuries and deaths, but is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages as a result of negligence, corporate negligence, and wrongful death.

This is not the first lawsuit of this nature to come to fruition against Brighton. Relatives of a housekeeper who contracted the virus and died from the illness filed a wrongful death lawsuit on July 1. It was removed to federal court by Brighton in August.

The attorney for the plaintiffs, Robert Daley, released the following statement to Law360: “It’s an important matter because it helps to protect our most vulnerable, our older citizens. It’s also about what happened before the pandemic. Brighton Rehab was not in a position to handle a COVID-19 outbreak, or any other outbreak. They were caught completely off guard when COVID-19 landed here in western Pennsylvania.”

Brighton has not released an official statement regarding the lawsuit at this time. Legally, the facility can’t claim immunity under the federal Public Readiness and Protection Act because that law does not protect health care providers if they were allegedly negligent.

Nursing homes have a duty to their residents to provide the best possible care. When that does happen and someone is injured or dies, legal recourse may be available. Contact us today for more information.

Meet Your Team

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out-of-pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Legal & Firm News

What You Need to Know About Business Litigation and Contingency Fees

If your business has ever been involved in a legal matter, you may be surprised to hear the two phrases together: business litigation and contingency fees. Traditionally, it has been more common to associate a contingency fee model with personal injury law involving individual parties rather than businesses. But this is no longer always the […]

Read More

Signs of PTSD in Military Service Members

It’s estimated that up to one-third of military service members suffer from PTSD. PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition that can develop following a traumatic event. This usually means an event involving actual or threatened death, serious injury, or abuse. People who have seen combat, witnessed death, or experienced a life-threatening situation […]

Read More

AAA Conducts Study Examining Travel Before and During COVID-19

In 2021, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s New American Driving Survey revealed shifts in driving, traveling, and commuting patterns in the United States. The statistics gathered between July 2019 and December 2020 cannot be analyzed without consideration of COVID-19’s unignorable impact on the numbers—numbers showing marked differences from previous years’ findings.

Read More