A nursing home in Montgomery County is the latest nursing home to be hit with a federal lawsuit over opioid use and death, which is now threatening to overwhelm a statewide effort to stop the deaths of millions of Americans each year.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in Baltimore and comes as Maryland has seen a steady decline in opioid deaths and deaths related to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more potent than morphine.
It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Maryland by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and other health care groups.
The suit claims the state’s nursing home system, which includes four nursing homes, is responsible for an estimated 500,000 deaths each year due to opioid misuse.
It’s one of the most costly lawsuits the AARP has filed, and its lawyers have also sued nursing home chains like The Greenbrier and the St. Mary’s Health Center.
The nursing home plaintiffs are claiming the state has failed to protect them from the opioid epidemic that is wiping out millions of lives, the lawsuit says.
“Nursing home residents are victims of a system that failed to respond to their opioid overdose risk, and that failed the people of Maryland,” said AARP senior vice president John J. Krasner.
The lawsuit also claims the nursing home is a conduit for opioid abuse that led to the deaths. “
The nursing homes are responsible for the deaths.”
The lawsuit also claims the nursing home is a conduit for opioid abuse that led to the deaths.
The lawsuit states that, “Nursings homes were not fully equipped to respond quickly and effectively to the crisis, which has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths across the nation.
This lawsuit is about getting these communities to understand that nursing homes have a role in this crisis and to provide a safe environment for residents to recover.”
The nursing facility plaintiffs include people who have died from opioid overdoses, including those who died after receiving treatment at a nursing home.
The AARP, which represents nursing homes in the state, is seeking $10 million in compensatory damages, $1 million in punitive damages, and a total of $50 million in civil and punitive damages.
It is seeking class-action status in the case.
Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has already paid $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees to the AAP and its attorneys.
The state has also paid $2 million to the American Academy of Nursing for its work on the case, according to the state Department of Insurance.
The AARP lawsuit has not been immediately answered by a state spokesman.