JOLIET, IL — A second wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the Chicago law firm of Levin & Perconti against the Symphony of Joliet on Larkin Avenue. The latest lawsuit accuses the nursing care center of gross negligence related to the April 6 death of 66-year-old Diane Brooks of Joliet.
Brooks died from the new coronavirus two months ago, court files indicate.
"Diane's complaints of COVID-19 symptoms fell on the deaf ears of a nursing home corporation that puts profits over the health and safety of its residents and staff," argues the plaintiff's lawyer, Megan Shore-Toca of Levin & Perconti.
"This lawsuit is brought by the plaintiff for express violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and seeks money damages to compensate Diane and her loved ones for the shocking and utterly reckless conduct of the defendant nursing home," the lawsuit states.
Joliet Patch reached out to representatives from the Symphony Care Network for comment.
The company operates more than two dozen nursing care centers in Illinois and other Midwest states. “These lawsuits are baseless and send a dangerous message to patients, families and health care workers who are still fighting COVID-19 on the front lines," said Natalie Bauer Luce, a spokeswoman for Symphony Care Network. "They only provide free publicity for TV lawyers who seek to profit by taking advantage of the global pandemic, which is why Gov. Pritzker issued an executive order of immunity protection for frontline health care workers.
"The lawsuits also blatantly ignore the heroic efforts by the medical and support staff who worked around the clock to save the lives of our patients. We mourn the loss of Ms. Brooks along with her family, but we also know that Symphony’s dedicated staff implemented infectious disease prevention protocols long before the federal government’s inconsistent and delayed guidance, and at all times has exceeded the CDC guidelines, while the company retained a renowned infectious disease control expert and a distinguished gerontologist to lead a task force to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the company spokeswoman added.
On or before March 28, the plaintiff's lawyer contends, Symphony of Joliet "was not rendering assistance to the State of Illinois in response to the COVID-19 outbreak by providing health care services consistent with any guidance issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health."
Brooks, the lawsuit outlines, was at high risk for suffering serious medical complications as a result of getting the coronavirus. Brooks lived at Symphony of Joliet from April 12, 2017, until April 5, 2020, which is the day before she died.
The lawsuit noted that Jamie Krieps is the administrator of Symphony of Joliet.
The attorneys representing Brooks' family members contend that Symphony of Joliet was incentivized to maintain the highest possible occupancy level while minimizing patient care expenses.
Levin & Perconti asserts that "Diane suffered injuries including, but not limited to, the contraction of COVID-19, which required hospitalization, sepsis, pneumonia, a poor quality of life, a deterioration of her overall physical, mental and psychological condition, a loss of dignity and self-respect and unnecessary pain and suffering, all of which Diane suffered from up until the time of her death."
Last week, Joliet Patch reported on Levin & Perconti's first wrongful death lawsuit against Symphony of Joliet, involving the death of David Mitchell.
He died April 7 from the coronavirus. The Symphony of Joliet nursing care center has had 25 deaths attributed to the new coronavirus, court documents show.