Montreal

After 67 residents die, class action sought against CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée and CISSS de Laval

Anna José Marquet died of COVID-19 while living in a Laval seniors' home which is among the hardest hit long-term care residences in the province. Now her son is seeking to launch a class-action lawsuit against the CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée.

Case filed in Quebec Superior Court on Monday by lawfirm representing 94-year-old victim's son

A funeral home worker removes a body from the CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée in Laval on Tuesday. More than 100 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 there. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

The surviving son of a COVID-19 victim is attempting to launch a class-action lawsuit against a Laval seniors' home which is among the hardest hit long-term care residences in the province.

The lawsuit also targets the regional health authority, CISSS de Laval, which oversees the CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée. As of Monday, the facility is reporting 164 cases of COVID-19 and 67 deaths. 

Anna José Marquet died at the age of 94 on April 3 after she contracted the disease as a resident of the CHSLD and now her son, Jean-Pierre Daubois, is alleging employees of the facility were forced to work even if they were showing tell-tale signs of a COVID-19 infection.

His lawyer, Martin Ménard, filed the class-action request in Quebec Superior Court on Monday.

The request accuses both the long-term residence and the CISSS de Laval of failing to offer employees adequate protective equipment and neglecting to quarantine residents who were symptomatic. 

Residents were "treated in a faulty, negligent and unsafe manner" as of March 13, the suit alleges.

None of these allegations have been proven in court nor has the court decided whether the class-action can move forward. An attempt to reach Sainte-Dorothée's administration for comment Monday evening was not successful.

CBC also requested a comment from CISSS de Laval but did not hear back.

The class-action request is claiming $1 million in exemplary damages, but also tens of thousands of dollars for each deceased or living resident, including those who did not catch the coronavirus.

The facility has the capacity to house 285 residents. The case could end up seeking several million dollars in damages.

The union representing workers at Sainte-Dorothée has said a nurse was forced to go to work with symptoms, then later found out she had tested positive for the disease. 

And others have made similar allegations. Among them is Sylvie Morin who told CBC in early April that she was told to work while symptomatic because she had tested negative in late March.

She told stories of other staff members who reported symptoms but were not sent home right away.  She also said there was a shortage of personal protective equipment to the point that nurses were buying their own. 

Quebec's workplace health and safety board, known as CNESST, reviewed the situation and intervened at the CHSLD after complaints were filed.

Last week, the daughter of a woman who died at CHSLD Herron in Dorval requested approval of her class-action lawsuit which claims at least $2 million in damages to be divided among residents. 

with files from Radio-Canada

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