A New Jersey nursing home where authorities found 17 bodies in April crammed into a morgue meant for four was hit with a lawsuit by the nephew of a former resident who died during the coronavirus pandemic.

Brian Roberts filed the lawsuit against Andover Subacute Rehabilitation Center II in Lafayette Township, sister facility Andover Subacute Rehab Center I, owners Schwartz and Chaim Scheinbaum, and a handful of staff members and business entities. The lawsuit was filed in Sussex County Superior Court and accuses the group of not taking necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among residents and staff. The lawsuit is a proposed class action that aims to represent all residents of both the facilities.

Roberts said he often visited his uncle, Albert Roberts, at Andover II. He told CNN that it appeared that staff cared for residents, but were overworked. When he learned of his uncle’s death, he tried repeatedly to get answers from staff about what happened but no one would even tell him where his uncle’s body was or if his body was still at the nursing home. It wasn’t until 21 days later that the facility informed him that they did have possession of Albert Roberts’ body. According to the lawsuit, Albert Roberts was one of 94 residents in both facilities to die from COVID-19.

Roberts’ lawsuit also points out that both nursing homes had continually failed to meet the required safety and sanitary standards to protect residents from the spread of the coronavirus, which was allegedly par for the course since the home had an “extensive history of regulatory violations and poor assessment ratings.” The Andover II center, where Albert Roberts was a resident, has received a one-star rating out of a possible five from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Its sister facility, Andover I, has three stars.

Scheinbaum claims, “We took every possible step to handle this crisis internally while simultaneously making dozens of outreaches to local, state, and federal agencies for help.”

Alyssa Baskam, a lawyer in our Atlanta office, heads Beasley Allen’s Nursing Home Litigation Team, together with Tucker Osborne in our Montgomery office. In order to properly handle nursing home litigation, lawyers and support staff must have specific experience in this type of case.

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