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CCRC Liability Insurer’s Lawsuit Awaiting Venue Determination

The liability insurers of a Pennsylvania continuing care retirement community (CCRC) have filed a lawsuit against Johnson Controls, the facility’s fire suppression company. Nursing home neglect lawyers following the case are waiting for the district court to determine the appropriate venue to hear the case.

This lawsuit follows settlements for wrongful death lawsuits against Barclay Friends for the estates of four residents who died in a fire in 2017. The liability insurers, Peace Church Risk Retention Group and Caring Communities, are now seeking to recover those settlements.

The Fatal Fire

In November 2017, a fire raged through assisted living residences at Barclay Friends, a Kendal Corp affiliate located in West Chester, PA. The fire also engulphed dining areas, common areas, administrative spaces, and an area for memory care residents. Authorities are still unsure if the first started in back garden room or on an outdoor patio beneath an overhang. The blaze killed for residents housed in the Woolman building. Investigators concluded that the main sprinkler valve at the building was in the off position during the fire.

Civil Lawsuits Filed by Estates of the Deceased

Plaintiffs representing the deceased’s estates filed lawsuits alleging multiple instances of negligence, including an improperly designed sprinkler system, fire alarms that were insufficient in volume, a valve that was turn off during the fire, and an improperly constructed wall that lead to the fire spreading. Nursing home neglect lawyers familiar with these cases share that the lawsuits were filed against Barclay Friends and Kendal Corp, Johnson Controls Fire Protection, as well as an architectural firm, an engineering firm, the local water company.

Insurance Lawsuit Filed

Now, the insurance carriers have filed a lawsuit against Johnson Controls, the firm responsible for monitoring and servicing the sprinkler system at Barclay Friends. They maintain that the company’s negligence caused the first and the deaths of the residents.

The insurance company claims that Johnson Controls closed several control valves while working on the system for a repair in May 2017. They claim that the company failed to turn all the valves back on following the repair. As a result, the water supply was not able to flow through the sprinkler system. The insurance carrier claims that Johnson failed to notice the closed valve during routine June and July inspections performed by the company.

Case Sent Back to District Court

Johnson Controls requested a motion to dismiss the case in March 2021. However, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied the motion. As a result, Johnson Controls filed an appeal on in September 2021. This week, a 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals panel sent the case back to the district court to decide whether federal court is the appropriate venue for the case.

Contact Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers

Families who are struggling with legal questions regarding nursing home neglect should contact nursing home neglect lawyers for advice regarding their legal rights. The lawyers at our firm have extensive experience in this niche area of personal injury law. We offer a free consultation to learn about the unique circumstances surrounding your case. If you decide to proceed with a nursing home neglect lawsuit, our services are offered on a contingency fee basis. This means that we don’t earn a fee unless we win money for your case. Call 888-789-3161 or send us a message via the online form to speak directly with an attorney


Contact the Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers at Our Firm

The nursing home neglect lawyers at our firm understand the plight of the nation’s nursing home residents. No one should be subject to neglect and substandard care in long term care facilities. Our attorneys will partner with you to take a stand against underperforming nursing homes and seek compensation for their injuries. Call us today or send us a message to speak directly with an nursing home neglect lawyer.

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