Paul M. da Costa Quoted in NJ.com Article. “State to pay out nearly $16M to families over COVID deaths in N.J. veteran’s homes, admits no wrongdoing”
As seen in NJ.com
August 19, 2022
By Ted Sherman | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
New Jersey has agreed to pay another $15.9 million to those who lost loved ones in the state-run veteran’s homes in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the terms of an agreement obtained by NJ Advance Media.
The out-of-court settlement, confirmed by an official in Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration, resolves an additional 71 claims alleging that the state’s negligence and incompetence were largely to blame for the deadly COVID-19 outbreak that raged out of control for months through New Jersey’s three veteran’s homes in early 2020.
The state admitted no wrongdoing.
Two of the veteran’s homes — one in Menlo Park and a second in Paramus — reported some of the highest COVID-related death tolls in the nation. A third facility is in Vineland.
The agreement marks the second major settlement of wrongful death claims involving the vulnerable long-term care facilities. The state in December agreed to pay nearly $53 million to the families of 119 residents whose deaths were attributed to the coronavirus between March and May of 2020.
Overall, COVID-19 claimed the lives of more than 200 residents and staff in the veteran’s homes, according to the state. But one attorney who represents dozens of families who have sued the state suggests the number of fatalities may actually be as many as 240.
Attorney Paul M. da Costa of Roseland, who represented 55 of the 71 families involved in the settlement, confirmed an agreement had been reached.
“My clients, on balance, think it is a fair and reasonable settlement, especially in the context that they were confronted with the state’s Tort Claims Act, which acts as a secondary statute of limitations,” he said. It only came into play because those he had represented reached out and filed suit after more than a year had elapsed.
“On balance, the prospect of many years of litigation, versus giving these families much needed closure, was an easy decision for them,” said da Costa. “The amount of the settlements do represent what is considered to be above average for nursing home deaths and represents still a successful outcome for my clients.”
The agreement with New Jersey settles all outstanding cases involving the state veteran’s homes regarding COVID deaths in the initial months of the pandemic, although there are other lawsuits against New Jersey still pending that involve deaths in non-state-run nursing homes, the administration official said.
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If you or a loved one have suffered a preventable injury or death after contracting any viral or epidemiological outbreak at long-term care facilities, please contact Paul M. da Costa, Esq. of Snyder Sarno D’Aniello Maceri & da Costa LLC. Mr. da Costa heads the medical malpractice and personal injury department and has a proven track record of successfully holding negligent operators accountable. (See Menlo Park Memorial Veterans Home Covid-19 outbreak). Our hardworking and dedicated attorneys will review your claim and help you navigate the legal options that may be available to you. You can schedule a consultation via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 973-274-5200.