Veteran’s family reacts to settlement in Holyoke Soldiers’ Home case
HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - There was a major development Thursday for families who lost loved ones in the massive COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home two years ago when a $56 million settlement was reached with the state.
We spoke to Laurie Mandeville Beaudette, who lost her father during the height of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the home. She said no money could ever equate to the life of her dad, but hoped the settlement will prevent any future tragedies from happening.
The Baker-Polito Administration announced Thursday that the Commonwealth reached a $56 million settlement in a class action lawsuit involving the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home two years after a deadly COVID-19 outbreak claimed the lives of dozens of veterans in the facility.
“Like missing him and just knowing that he had to die alone because of the poor decisions made by the administrators there,” Baudette said.
Beaudette, who lost her father during the outbreak, told Western Mass News that she is still heartbroken over her dad’s tragic passing. She is one of the 168 people who will receive a part of the settlement.
“Eighty-four people contracted COVID and died, 84 people who contracted COVID did not die. All of those 168 people or estates are entitled to recovery,” said Attorney Tom Lesser, who represented some of the plaintiffs in the case.
Lesser told us there are two classes of victims. One class includes the families of veterans who died from contracting COVID-19. This group will receive an average amount of $500,000, but no less than $400,000. Beaudette, who falls under that class of victims, reacted to the news.
“I thought this would drag out much longer and relieved that part of the litigation is behind us…I hope that this precedent that was set today is going to show the Commonwealth and the rest of the states in our nation that veterans deserve to be treated much better, especially in their elderly years,” Beaudette noted.
Members of the second class, veterans who contracted the virus but survived, will receive an average amount of $20,000 or a minimum of $10,000.
Lesser said he is very happy on behalf of his clients with the outcome of the settlement.
“…And we had no idea whether or not this would lead to recovery. We just knew that those wrongs could not be ignored. We brought the case and we are happy to recover, so nicely, on behalf of our clients,” Lesser added.
Lesser hopes all settlement payments will go out by the end of the year.
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