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Illinois Personal Injury & Criminal Defense / Blog / Personal Injury / Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Restrictions/Clarifies Limits on COVID-19 Lawsuits Filed Against Healthcare Facilities

Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Restrictions/Clarifies Limits on COVID-19 Lawsuits Filed Against Healthcare Facilities


During the pandemic, Governor Pritzker signed a piece of legislation that made healthcare facilities immune from personal injury lawsuits filed by individuals who contracted the coronavirus. There was only one way around the statute and that involved allegations of willful misconduct. Several lawsuits tested the limits of the immunity package signed into law by the governor. Several executors for individuals who died of the coronavirus filed a joint lawsuit to test the extent of the protection. The majority of these claims involved Illinois nursing homes that failed to protect their residents from the spread of the infection.

The lawsuit specifically named the Geneva Nursing and Rehabilitation Center over allegations that it failed to quarantine symptomatic staff members or residents who had contracted the coronavirus. Plaintiffs also alleged that the facility failed to implement effective procedures for maintaining the hygiene and medical equipment which in turn caused the deaths of several residents.

Geneva Nursing filed a petition to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that it was immune from such lawsuits based on the governor’s order. Geneva Nursing argued that the provisions of the moratorium on personal injury lawsuits related to the coronavirus availed them of absolute immunity from all negligence claims including allegations of willful misconduct.

Upon reviewing the petition filed by Geneva Nursing, the court clarified that the correct question that needed to be answered was the scope of the protections under the governor’s order and not the executive order itself. The court certified that the question was whether or not the order granted immunity to healthcare providers who helped the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the language of the act, the court found that Geneva Nursing was not entitled to blanket immunity under the executive order. Instead, it was simply immune from general negligence claims emerging in the course of rendering assistance to the state. In the case of Geneva Nursing, there was some question as to whether or not the nursing home rendered effective assistance to the state in preventing the spread of infection. Hence, the lawsuit was allowed to move forward

What sorts of COVID-19 claims are actionable?

The question before the court was what constitutes willful misconduct. In the case mentioned above, the nursing home at the center of these lawsuits failed to provide effective infection control measures to ensure that their staff and residents were protected by rigorous quarantines. Since the CDC and local health agencies issued explicit instructions on how to manage the spread of the infection, the nursing home is alleged to have committed willful misconduct or gross negligence in allowing its residents to come down with the virus. Hence, the nursing home is not entitled to the immunity afforded by the act and can be sued under the language of the executive order that prevents negligence lawsuits from being filed.

Talk to a Decatur, IL Nursing Home Negligence Attorney Today 

Patel Law, PC represents the interests of Illinois residents who have been injured due to negligent care in nursing homes. Call our Decatur personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.



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