(April 29, 2020) - The family members of three people who died at a Georgia nursing home have alleged in separate state court suits that the institution did not adhere to proper precautions to keep the elderly residents from contracting the novel coronavirus.
Hendrix et al. v. Arbor Terrace at Cascade LLC et al., No. 20EV002365, complaint filed, 2020 WL 1955583 (Ga. State Ct., Fulton Cty. Apr. 23, 2020).
Mann v. Arbor Terrace at Cascade LLC et al., No. 20EV002369, complaint filed, 2020 WL 1955586 (Ga. State Ct., Fulton Cty. Apr. 23, 2020).
McWhorter v. Arbor Terrace at Cascade LLC et al., No. 20EV002363, complaint filed, 2020 WL 1955584 (Ga. State Ct., Fulton Cty. Apr. 23, 2020).
The estates of Catherine Hendrix, Blanche Johnson and Ernestine Mann filed wrongful-death complaints April 23 in the Fulton County State Court against Arbor Terrace at Cascade LLC and its parent companies.
The plaintiffs, who are all represented by Roderick Edmond of Edmond, Lindsay & Atkins in Atlanta, seek punitive damages, alleging the senior care facility was negligent and liable for the residents’ deaths.
Suits: Facility broke safety protocols
According to the complaints, Arbor Terrace Executive Director Audrienne Stevens issued orders April 11 that starting the next day, the facility would restrict visits to the site’s residents and take other precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The plaintiffs allege that Arbor Terrace failed to maintain its own restrictions on patient visits and other contact with potential carriers of the coronavirus.
Despite the policy changes, visitors were still allowed, workers failed to wear personal protective equipment and asymptomatic staff or visitors at the facility exposed residents to the novel coronavirus, the suits say.
Arbor President Judd Harper reported to families April 17 that 15 COVID-19-positive residents had died since March 26, and 34 employees had tested positive for the virus, according to the suits.
Ernestine Mann’s son says she was hospitalized March 25 and died March 29 at the age of 84. The family of Catherine Hendrix says she was hospitalized March 26 and died April 6 at age 80. Blanche Johnson’s daughter says her mother was hospitalized March 26 and died April 8 at age 97.
Each of the deceased residents had tested positive for COVID-19 and had been placed on ventilators before their deaths, the suits say.
The plaintiffs allege that Arbor Terrace was grossly negligent and placed its residents in “grave danger” of contracting COVID-19 and that this negligence was the “direct, sole and proximate cause” of their family members’ deaths.