A lawsuit filed against the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs has been expanded to more than a dozen families of service members at the Illinois Veterans Home at La Salle who died of COVID-19.
Levin & Perconti issued a press release Tuesday announcing they represent additional families that have signed on to the pending litigation. The announcement follows the release of a report by the Illinois Department of Human Services Office of Inspector General’s report documenting failures by the facility’s management and executive leadership at the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Among the veterans who died from COVID-19 was 89-year-old Richard Cieski, Sr., a longtime Seneca resident Korean War veteran. In the April 5 lawsuit, filed in the Court of Claims in Springfield, one of Cieski’s survivors alleges veterans home employees were directed to report for work despite reported COVID-19 symptoms.
“What has been revealed by the OIG report is very much consistent with what we’ve seen at other facilities where these massive outbreaks happened,” said Michael Bonamarte, a partner at Levin & Perconti.
“There are well-documented ways to protect nursing home residents from infection, clearly outlined in federal guidelines, but when leaders fail to put those protocols into practice with adequate policies, procedures and training, we see the devastating consequences of those failures. These are predictable and preventable tragedies.”
Bonamarte and the firm are already representing multiple La Salle veterans’ families and urge others to come forward to share their loved ones’ stories as well.
“These Illinois veterans and their loved ones deserved better,” Bonamarte said. “We are seeking to hold the responsible IDVA leaders and managers accountable for their failure to protect the elderly veterans in their care. The veterans’ loved ones want to make sure their voices are heard, their loved ones’ legacies of service are honored, and other veterans receive the quality care they deserve.”