$56M settlement proposed in suit over deadly COVID outbreak at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home

The state is settling with plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit related to the devastating and deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home for a proposed $56M.

“The COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home was a terrible tragedy. While we know nothing can bring back those who were lost, we hope that this settlement brings a sense of closure to the loved ones of the veterans,” said Governor Charlie Baker.

The Baker Administration announced the settlement Thursday. The deal remains subject to approval by the federal judge in Boston where the lawsuit remains pending.

The settlement will cover veterans who lived at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home at any time between March 1, 2020 and June 23, 2020 and who became ill or died from COVID during that period, according to the state.

The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home was at the center of one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks at a longterm care facility in the nation. At least 76 veterans died, and dozens of others including staff  got sick with the disease.

According to the announcement from Baker’s office, the estates of decesead veterans would receive at least $400,000 in the settlement.  Vets who contracted COVID and survived would get at least $10,000.

Former U.S. Attorney Donald K. Stern has bee tapped to  serve as the settlement claims administrator and, according to the proposed terms, would make awards to plaintiffs based on a review of the individual circumstances of each.

“There is no amount of money that can compensate our clients for the loss of their loved ones.  But our clients are grateful that the Commonwealth has acted to resolve this matter without the need for protracted litigation by agreeing to compensate both the families of those who died of COVID, as well as the veterans who survived.  The settlement is fair and just,” said Plaintiffs’ lawyer Tom Lesser.

Baker will file legislation seeking $56 million for the claims fund in the coming weeks, according to his office.