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New Jersey Long-Term Care Facility Hit With Class Action Lawsuit In Wake Of Nearly 100 Deaths During Pandemic

NEWTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A class action lawsuit has been filed against a Sussex County long-term care facility that is facing more than $220,000 in fines after a investigation.

CBS2's Cory James has more on the lawsuit that is tied to a place where there have been close to 100 deaths due to coronavirus.

Anne Huelbig and Chris Petry are both part of the 17-page lawsuit. It involves the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center, where last month nearly 20 bodies were found stacked up in a makeshift morgue.


Huelbig said her 75-year-old father, Thomas Fernando, died after contracting COVID-19 at the facility.

"They didn't have masks and gloves. I'm very angry they did nothing to try to protect them. You know, I pay close to $9,000 a month and they just let him die like that," Huelbig said.

Petry is angry, too. He told CBS2 his 86-year-old dad also got the virus from the facility and died.

Petry said he believes medical malpractice took his father's life.

"They had a responsibility to protect the residents at the facility and they did not fulfill that responsibility," Petry said.

MORECoronavirus Toll: Officials Outraged More Than A Dozen Bodies Of COVID-19 Dead 'Allowed To Pile Up' At Nursing Home

The lawsuit, filed at the Superior Courthouse in Newton, claims the facility "did not timely diagnose" residents and patients and "failed to properly treat their condition." It also alleges management only provided masks to registered nurses and not other staff members who interacted with residents.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Attorney Daniel Marchese is representing close to 10 clients who are part of the suit. He said it's clear there are signs of gross negligence and wrongful death, and medical malpractice.

"Clearly, this is common sense. Everyone in this country heard about the COVID-19 pandemic. It's egregious that Andover did not take heed and let these people get the disease and then die," Marchese said.

The owner of the facility was not available for an on-camera interview and said he couldn't comment on pending litigation. But in a statement he said his team "did the best that it could under the circumstances presented."

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