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Aged care COVID class action in court

A judge has flagged issues involving a lawsuit against a Melbourne nursing home where nearly 40 people have died.

Sebestian Angello is leading the civil claim against Heritage Care, which owns the Epping Gardens Aged Care home where his 92-year-old mother, Carmela, lived before she died on July 28.

The class action brought by personal injury firm Carbone Lawyers alleges Epping Gardens breached its duty of care by allowing staff to not wear protective equipment and move freely throughout the home.

A statement of claim filed in Victoria’s Supreme Court said staff from other aged care homes were allowed into Epping Gardens without self-isolating.

It also said a baby shower and birthday party were allowed in mid-July, even though access was restricted to essential workers and residents.

Epping Gardens has recorded 220 COVID-19 cases across 103 residents and 87 staff.

Justice John Dixon raised issues with aspects of the statement of claim in a hearing on Tuesday.

He said the document would need careful review before being refiled.

“There hasn’t simply been a bite taken out of the apple, the whole apple has been swallowed,” he said, adding not all the required documents had been filed.

Lawyers for Heritage Care questioned the inclusion of Epping Gardens employees in the class action, on the grounds of physical injury, and mental or nervous shock.

The case is due back in court on December 17, after an amended statement of claim is filed.

A similar lawsuit has been launched against St Basil’s Homes for the Aged, which has recorded 223 virus cases and 44 deaths.

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