A Cook County judge ordered the state public health department to inspect a Cicero nursing home where at least 10 people have died from COVID-19 and more than 200 positive cases have been reported.
The order Tuesday from Cook County Circuit Judge Alison C. Conlon comes after the town of Cicero sued City View Multicare Center LLC alleging the long-term care site was not following federal, state and local directives related to COVID-19.
City View’s COVID-19 deaths as of Tuesday account for 10 of the 26 virus-related deaths in Cicero since the start of the outbreak.
Out of about 325 residents and 300 employees at City View, the facility has reported at least 205 positive cases, according to the town’s website.
Cicero’s lawsuit, filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court, argues the facility has not required staff or residents to wear appropriate personal protective equipment and has not enforced social distancing policies or provided readily available hand-washing stations, among other claims.
City View’s alleged noncompliance with local, state and federal directives related to COVID-19 constitutes a public nuisance that poses a risk to the public health of Cicero residents, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit also seeks an injunction to force City View to transfer residents to alternative care facilities run by the state, such as Westlake Hospital or McCormick Place. Alternatively, it asks the court to enjoin the facility to follow the guidelines health authorities.
In her ruling, Conlon found the town met its burden of showing a likelihood of success on the public nuisance claim.
“The [t]own has also shown a likelihood of success on the claim for injunctive relief, to the extent that claim seeks relief in the form of compliance with existing federal, state and local guidelines and additional emergency assistance from state and local health departments,” Conlon wrote.
But she found the town did not meet its burden regarding the request to relocate residents.
“That would be inconsistent with current public health guidelines and impermissibly substitute the [t]own’s medical judgment for that of public health experts,” she wrote.
Conlon ordered the Illinois Department of Public Health to conduct an inspection at City View within 48 hours the order and to submit a report to the court based on that inspection.
She also granted the temporary restraining order that requires the facility to comply with all federal, state and local directives related to COVID-19, including providing sufficient personal protective equipment to residents and staff, enforcing social distancing, posting signs, providing sufficient hand-washing stations and monitoring people entering and exiting the site.
Her order states the TRO will expire at noon on Friday, when the parties are scheduled to hold a hearing in this case.
Michael Thomas Del Galdo, managing member and senior partner at Del Galdo Law Group LLC in Berwyn, is representing the town of Cicero.
He said the judge’s order requiring the facility to follow health guidelines is important because if City View doesn’t comply, it could be held in contempt.
“The fact that the judge included that in her order, it gives it real teeth,” Del Galdo said in an interview Wednesday. “It’s easy to ignore the town of Cicero when we are issuing tickets. It’s not easy to ignore a court order.”
The lawsuit names as defendants the IDPH and Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who are represented by the Illinois Attorney General’s office. A spokesperson for the AG did not respond to a request for comment.
City View is represented by Polsinelli P.C. attorneys Charles P. Sheets and Jason T. Lundy.
In an emailed statement, Lundy said City View and its staff are dedicated to the care of its residents.
“We are pleased Judge Conlon’s order did not grant Cicero’s request to displace residents from their home at City View. Although we look forward to working with Cicero officials to address any concerns they may have, our position remains that Cicero does not have a legal basis to seek a mandatory injunction against City View. Cicero does not have authority to regulate nursing homes like City View, which are licensed and regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health,” Lundy said in the email.
This case is Town of Cicero v. City View Multicare Center LLC et al., 20 CH 4046