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Application filed for class-action lawsuit against Quebec seniors’ residence
MONTREAL -- An application to launch a class action lawsuit against the Maison Herron long-term care facility (CHSLD) in Dorval, where 31 elderly people lost their lives since March 13, was filed on Thursday.
The class action, would seek $2 million in punitive damages, for the "inhuman and degrading treatment of the elderly people who lived there."
It targets the Herron residence, a private non-contractual CHSLD, its main shareholder, the Katasa Group and another related company, Chartwell Quebec Holdings.
Barbara Schneider, the lead plaintiff and the daughter of a woman who died there on April 10, filed the application on behalf of all the residents who have not received adequate care there.
Mary Schneider was 93 years old when she died at CHSLD Herron. She was diagnosed with COVID-19 and her condition deteriorated rapidly, according to the legal claim, which The Canadian Press obtained.
Barbara Schneider is alleging that her mother came to Maison Herron on Feb. 24 due to mobility issues. She said that she was in contact with her mother until March 24, but didn’t hear anything since.
On April 7, she received a letter informing her that her mother tested positive for COVID-19. The next day, a nurse from another facility organized a FaceTime call for them.
When she saw her mother during the call, she said she found her “emaciated,” “almost unrecognizable,” and in “noticeably poor health.”
Mary Schneider died two days later on April 10.
When people were found to be malnutritioned, dehydrated, emaciated, unclothed, lying in their feces and urine … for us how this long-term care facility abandoned all of its residents is really the most shocking, especially during this dire time,” Arthur Wechsler, the lawyer bringing the lawsuit, told CTV News.
A spokesperson for Katasa Group insisted that the CIUSSS l’Ouest-de-l’Ile-de-Montreal administration allowed conditions at the residence to worsen.
In a previous CTV News report, Maison Herron owners allege that in the lead-up to the trusteeship, conditions at the CHSLD might not have matched what Premier Francois Legault described in his daily briefings earlier.
A current employee of Maison Herron, who chose to remain anonymous out of fear of facing professional consequences, told CTV News that staff did not receive training for how to safely put on or remove personal protective equipment.
“When I showed up it was complete chaos… there was no real leadership,” said the employee. “They’re not screening the staff to see if we’re sick or if we have a fever. Although there’s a sign at the door that says “check-in point temperature taking,” no one is taking our temperature”
The CIUSSS l’Ouest-de-l’Ile-de-Montreal could not be reached for comment.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
This article by the Candian Press was first published on April 17, 2020. With reporting from CTV Montreal's Billy Shields and Holly Cabrera.