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Public Health Emergency: Legal Preparedness and Response

Estate of Joseph Maglioli v. Alliance HC Holdings, LLC


Estate of Joseph Maglioli v. Alliance HC Holdings, LLC (U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit, Oct. 20, 2021): The 3rd Circuit found that federal courts lacked jurisdiction over negligence claims against a group of nursing homes related to their failure to protect residents from COVID-19. Survivors of residents who died from COVID-19 filed negligence claims in state court against the nursing homes, which tried to move the cases to federal court. Federal courts are limited in the cases they can hear to cases involving federal agents, substantial federal issues, or where federal law preempts state law. The court did not accept the case because none of the above conditions were present. The nursing homes are not federal agents because they do not act on behalf of the federal government, provide a service the federal government would normally provide, or help the federal government carry out its duties. There was no substantial federal issue because the plaintiffs’ claim was based on state law. Finally, the court acknowledged that the plaintiffs’ negligence claims could be preempted by the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, which protects covered individuals and entities using covered countermeasures during a public health emergency from civil suits alleging anything less than willful misconduct. However, state law negligence claims do not need to be considered in federal court because the PREP Act only makes claims of willful misconduct exclusively federal. Read the decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – December 14, 2021.

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