Toronto, June 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Thomson Rogers has issued a class action proceeding claiming $20 million dollars in damages on behalf of residents of Altamont Community Care (Altamont) and their families on June 1st, 2020. Altamont is a long-term care home owned by Sienna Senior Living Inc., located in Scarborough, Ontario. At least 53 residents at Altamont have died as a result of contracting COVID-19 and related illnesses since March 17, 2020.

One of the representative plaintiffs is Vasuki Uttamalingan. Vasuki's mother and father were both residents at Altamont. Vasuki's father contracted COVID-19 while residing at Altamont and died on April 21, 2020. He is survived by his wife, 2 children and 2 grandchildren. Vasuki's mother contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalised for several weeks. She remains in recovery.

Another representative plaintiff is Pahirathan Pooranalingam. Pahirathan's mother was a resident at Altamont until she was transferred to hospital after contracting COVID-19. Pahirathan's mother died in hospital on April 25, 2020. She is survived by her 4 children, 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Vasuki and Pahirathan represent family members of the victims who have lost loved ones, without given the opportunity to say good-bye, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak at Altamont.

It is alleged that Altamont was cited for corrective action by the Ministry of Long Term Care in 2019 (in reports dated February 26 and November 8, 2019) for its failure to ensure that staff participate in, and comply with, an infection prevention and control program, as well as its failure to document infection among its residents. And that Altamont failed to implement screening measures of its staff and basic social distancing practices, including the separation of infected and non-infected residents following Ontario's declaration of a State of Emergency on March 17, 2020. It is alleged that during this period, there was severe under-staffing at Altamont and a failure to provide basic personal protective equipment to Altamont's staff.

On April 27, 2020, the Canadian Armed Forces was deployed to Altamont to monitor the "severe deficiencies and shortfalls" at Altamont. On May 26, 2020, the Canadian Armed Forces released a report which documented the horrendous living conditions at Altamont, including:

  • inadequate nutrition with residents not receiving 3 meals a day;
  • residents being bed bound for several weeks, leading to serious and untreated pressure wounds;
  • residents not receiving bathing and basic hygiene; and,
  • not tracking resident rooms and bed locations.

In addition, significant staffing shortages were identified including periods where no support workers and/or administrative staff were present.

“Vasuki, Pahirathan and their families, as well as other families of the victims and survivors of Altamont, seek compensation for their tragic losses.” Said Stephen Birman, lead partner on the class action for Thomson Rogers, “Vasuki and Pahirathan support the proposed independent commission into Ontario's long-term care system, which they hope will result in meaningful change to ensure that a tragedy like this is never repeated in Ontario's vulnerable long-term care population.”

Thomson Rogers are experienced determined litigators who have taken on complex class action claims obtaining decisions and settlements for thousands of plaintiffs. The experienced team was actively involved in the Indian Residential Schools and recent Niagara College settlements. Since 1936, the Thomson Rogers’ team has specialized in the areas of personal injury, product liability and institutional abuse.

Mark Hunter
Thomson Rogers
14168683190
mhunter@thomsonrogers.com

Stephen Birman
Thomson Rogers
416-868-3137
sbirman@thomsonrogers.com