Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify details of the suit regarding limits on the number of residents per bedroom.
One of Ottawa’s long-term care homes hardest hit by the novel coronavirus is facing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of residents and their families who allege the facility overcrowded rooms during the pandemic.
Toronto-based law firm Thomson Rogers said Wednesday it has issued a class-action proceeding against Carlingview Manor, claiming $25 million on behalf of plaintiffs.
Currently, the sole representative of the proposed action is Stephen Hannon, whose father Roy contracted COVID-19 while he was a resident of the facility and died in May, according to a release. Thomson Rogers partner Stephen Birman said in an email to Global News that the firm has been contacted by “several” potential class members.
Carlingview Manor has twice faced coronavirus outbreaks.
Ottawa Public Health’s coronavirus dashboard shows the first outbreak, stretching from April 8 to June 18, saw 259 people test positive for the virus and 60 residents die; the second outbreak lasted only a week in July, and saw one resident test positive for the virus.
In a statement, Thomson Rogers said Hannon’s father died while sharing a bedroom with three other residents.
The suit alleges that Carlingview Manor failed to upgrade its facilities to align with updated 1998 guidelines for care homes mandating a maximum of two residents per bedroom. A June 10 directive from Ontario’s chief medical officer of health also put a moratorium on long-term care homes placing newly admitted residents in three- or four-bed accommodations.
The suit claims these conditions “caused and/or contributed to the mass spread of COVID-19 at the home.”
The class-action suit goes on to allege that Carlingview was understaffed to deal with the pandemic and that the level of personal protective equipment given to staff to protect against the virus was insufficient.
Last week, Bay Coun. Theresa Kavanagh sent a letter to Premier Doug Ford asking for the province to review Carlingview Manor as part of its commission on how Ontario’s long-term care homes dealt with COVID-19, citing “red flags” raised by residents and families even before the pandemic began.
Revera Living, which owns Carlingview, said in a statement to Global News it will review the matter and respond at a later time.
“Right now, we are focusing our efforts on caring for our residents, protecting our residents and employees from the ongoing pandemic, and preparing for possible future waves of COVID-19. We offer our most sincere condolences to the families and friends of the people at Carlingview Manor who were lost to the pandemic,” said a Revera spokesperson.
Thomson Rogers is currently involved in three other class-action suits against Ontario long-term care homes.