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Public Health Emergency: Legal Preparedness & Response

Saldana v. Glenhaven Healthcare LLC

Overview

Saldana v. Glenhaven Healthcare LLC (U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Cir., Feb. 22, 2022): Relatives of Ricardo Saldana, a Glenhaven nursing home resident, sued the facility after Saldana died from COVID-19, alleging elder abuse, willful misconduct, negligence, and wrongful death. Defendant nursing home removed the case to federal court, arguing that federal jurisdiction existed under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, which provides immunity from suit for public health emergency uses of covered countermeasures. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found the state law claims were not fully blocked by the PREP Act. While a Department of Health and Human Services’ General Counsel advisory opinion had previously explained that the PREP Act provided “complete preemption,” effectively blocking state-law claims, the 9th Circuit held that the Act was not intended to “completely preempt all state-law claims related to the pandemic.” This conclusion effectively allows the case to continue in state court despite the PREP Act’s broad language. Read the full decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – March 18, 2022.

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