Tallahassee Developmental Center faces second COVID-19 lawsuit

Tallahassee Developmental Center
Tallahassee Developmental Center(WCTV)
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 11:53 AM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - An employee is suing Tallahassee Developmental Center, blaming the facility’s negligence for her husband’s death from COVID-19.

According to the lawsuit, filed in Leon County Circuit Court, Deborah Phillips contracted COVID-19 in late March or early April of 2020 while working at the facility off Appleyard Drive in Tallahassee. That exposed her husband, Albert, to the virus. Albert contracted COVID on or around April 11, and died from coronavirus on May 1, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit says Tallahassee Developmental Center issued a notice to employees in late March requiring them not to wear face masks, against recommendations from Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration.

The complaint alleges TDC’s negligence resulted in dangerous conditions at the facility. It seeks more than $30,000 in damages for mental pain and anguish, loss of support and services, loss of companionship, medical and funeral expenses and other losses.

WCTV has reached out to Tallahassee Developmental Center for a response to the lawsuit, but we have yet to hear back.

This is at least the second lawsuit against Tallahassee Developmental Center related to COVID-19 cases at the facility.

In May, guardians for TDC resident Dillion Johnson filed a negligence suit after Johnson contracted COVID-19. Johnson — who has muscular dystrophy and several other disabilities — is seeking more than $30,000 in damages as well. In July, the parties agreed to enter binding arbitration in that lawsuit.

At least five coronavirus-related deaths have been connected to TDC after 39 residents and one-third of staff tested positive starting in April.

In October, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Tallahassee Developmental Center roughly $36,000 for violating eight COVID-19 regulations. The citations alleged TDC did not provide proper personal protective equipment or training for that equipment and failed to properly report deaths or illnesses to government regulators.

TDC is a residential facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Clients range in age from 16 to 80+ years old.

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