The Law Offices of Craig Goldenfarb, P.A. announced on Friday, March 12th, 2021 that we’ve filed a complaint against Grand Villa of Delray East for their gross negligence and inaction for protecting the safety and livelihood of Sara Schleider. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of Mrs. Schleider’s estate and her surviving adult children.
Mrs. Schleider was a resident of Grand Villa who had contracted the novel coronavirus and developed Covid19 when a severe outbreak occurred at the home in May 2020. Our lawsuit alleges that Grand Villa knowingly withheld from the family the knowledge that at least 43 other patients from that same memory ward had also contracted the virus, and 10 had already died by the time Mrs. Schleider was admitted to Delray Medical Center to undergo treatment for exposure. Mrs. Schleider died about from the disease about six week later.
Mrs. Sara Schleider was an accomplished pianist, a teacher, and a loving and doting mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Mrs. Schleider and her husband, Sam, a holocaust survivor, had expected to live out their years in quiet solidarity and comfort, surrounded by her loving family. Instead she died in a cold, sterile hospital room, alone, because of the gross mismanagement by the owners of the private for-profit Grand Villa Delray East for their failure to adequately protect and insulate their residents from the well-known threat of the novel coronavirus.
Allegations of systemic failure to protect their residents or follow even the most basic sanitary guidelines
Our lawsuit cites multiple systemic failures on the part of the management & owners of the private for-profit assisted living facility, citing both the family’s traumatic testimony and experience, as well as ACHA documents that allege the same. Sadly, this facility is but one of eighteen throughout the state owned by the same company – most of which have had similar problems.
Among other violations, the facility failed to follow even the most basic precautions to prevent the spread of Covid19 within it’s walls, from mixing soiled laundry and sharing rooms between infected and non-infected patients, to failing to provide PPE to workers, or failing to adequately monitor that staff was using PPE. As a direct result, a worker brought the virus into the center, and it spread like wildfire – eventually infecting and killing Mrs. Schleider.
Many of the allegations we’ve purported in our lawsuit are backed by evidence cited by the Agency for Health Care Administration, or AHCA, Florida’s regulatory authority over all long-term care, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities throughout the state. Among the many failures cited in their June 6th, 2020 visit include a lack of PPE for staff, soiled laundry from positive Covid-19 patients being stored next to clean laundry, a lack of cleaning protocol, and number staff members having tested positive for the virus. You can find that report here.
Less a year follower her death, we are filing suit. Why so quickly? Senate Bill 74 (SB74)
This lawsuit is being filed on a much quicker timetable than usual due to Tallahassee legislatures’ attempts to jam through a broad immunity bill that would protect even gross negligence perpetrated by nursing homes like Grand Villa across Florida, despite numerous ACHA reports that are now showing multiple systemic and organizational failures and violations for this and several other nursing homes throughout the state. Senate Bill 74 (SB74) has made its way through required committee hearings, and will likely be signed into law by Governor Ron Desantis as soon as next week.
SB74 raises the standard of negligence that must be proven to bring forward a Covid19 lawsuit to what in practical terms amounts to criminal manslaughter, and it reduces the statute of limitations for death cases to only one (1) year. Those two provisions in the bill combine to effectively make it nearly impossible for families to seek justice for loved ones who died from nursing home or ALF Covid19 outbreaks.
This week, the AARP published a strong opposition to the passing of SB74, as the number of inflections among the state’s thousands of nursing homes continues to climb, and the Covid19 death toll continues to disproportionately affect this vulnerable population. Other senior advocacy groups followed suit, and as personal injury lawyers, we too strongly oppose this unfair legislation, as it removes the citizen’s ability to decide what is and isn’t negligent via jury trial, usurping that constitutional power and instead bestowing it upon legislatures and the for-profit industry they are supposed to regulate.