HHS Secretary Sudders added to Holyoke Soldiers’ Home lawsuit

Massachusetts
Marylou Sudders_231151

FILE – In this Monday, July 13, 2015 file photo, Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, left, speaks during a meeting in her office in Boston. In an interview with The Associated Press, Sudders said she is reviewing the way the state treats those with serious mental illnesses and debilitating substance abuse problems who get caught in the criminal justice system. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed on behalf of the veterans that died during the COVID-19 outbreak at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke.

The amended complaint was filed Monday in Springfield Federal court. Sudders is among six defendants, others include former Superintendent Bennett Walsh and former Medical Director David Clinton. The families of 16 now-deceased residents from the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home filed the suit to seek damages for their tragic losses.

They named Secretary Sudders as a defendant in the case along with the Home’s former superintendent Bennett Walsh, and the state’s former veterans affairs secretary Francisco Urena. The lawsuit alleges that Sudders and Urena turned a blind eye to what was happening at the home and acting with deliberate indifference to the risk posed by the pandemic, which led to the deaths of dozens of veterans.

22News asked Governor Baker about the lawsuit on Thursday during his visit to The Big E. Baker said, “I don’t comment on pending litigation, never have, never will.”

The suit stated in part, “The crisis at the Soldiers’ Home would have been averted had Secretary Sudders and Secretary Ureña not acted with deliberate indifference and substantially departed from accepted professional standards.”

Also named in the lawsuit are several healthcare professionals that worked at the Holyoke Soldiers Home during the outbreak. Family members believe that more could’ve been done by all of these individuals to prevent 76 veterans from passing away due to COVID-19.

22News reached out to Secretary Sudders office for a statement on the lawsuit but we did not hear back as of news time.

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