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West Delray Beach assisted living facility faces lawsuit after COVID-19 death

Grand Villa Delray East accused of gross mismanagement
Sara Schleider
Posted at 10:55 AM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 18:49:30-05

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Attorneys for a family announced a wrongful death lawsuit Friday against a West Delray Beach assisted living center after their loved one died of COVID-19.


Sara Schleider, 81, was a resident of Grand Villa of Delray East who contracted the coronavirus after an outbreak occurred at the facility in May 2020, according to attorneys.

A lawsuit alleges that Grand Villa withheld from the family that at least 43 other patients from that same memory ward had also contracted the virus.

"She died absolutely unnecessarily at the hands of Grand Villa of Delray East. There was a complete lack of training, protections and basic cleanliness at the facility," attorney Spencer Kuvin said Friday.

The family's attorneys said 10 residents had already died by the time Schleider was admitted to Delray Medical Center to undergo treatment.

Schleider, who was married for 60 years, died about a month later.

Sara Schleider with family members
Sara Schleider with family members

She is survived by her two adult children, Felice Vinarub and Howard Schleider, who are the plaintiffs in the suit.

"They told us she was going to be safe," Vinarub said.

Online records show the Agency for Health Care Administration investigated the facility in June 2020. A report shows that they did not use proper CDC guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19.

In the lawsuit filed Friday, Schleider's family cited a report by the same agency saying no masks were worn, there was no training for personal protective equipment and no communication happened for the families.

Vinarub said it was shocking when they read the report.

"It was devastating what was actually being done inside the facility," Vinarub said. "It could have been prevented."

The family's lawyer said they would like to see the Grand Villa of Delray East, and its 17 other locations in Florida, shut down.

"This is one of the worst examples of negligence I have ever seen at a single nursing home in the state of Florida," Kuvin said.

Attorneys claim that Grand Villa Delray East is guilty of gross mismanagement.

"The family was getting absolutely no information from this facility as it was occurring," Kuvin said.

A measure being discussed at the Florida Legislature, Senate Bill 74, would make it harder to file a lawsuit against hospitals and nursing homes for COVID-19 negligence.

The assisted living facility released the following statement on the allegations:

Any time a family member is lost, it's devastating and our hearts go out to this family. As far as what we heard this morning, we are reviewing the allegations made because we take any allegations, no matter the severity, very seriously. Part of our commitment to our residents and family members is open communication, so we look forward to being able to fully address these claims as soon as we have enough information to do so.